Welsh businessman focuses on turning competition dementia proposals into reality
THE owner of an award-winning care organisation has been flying the flag for Wales in a competition to find the UK’s top entrepreneur.
Mario Kreft, proprietor of Pendine Park, in Wrexham, came within an ace of winning the North West and North Wales Regional Final Entrepreneur Challenge.
He was the only Welsh representative in the final stages of the competition.
What impressed the judges was Mr Kreft’s vision for the development of a new way providing dementia care and developing services in the community.
In addition to being a successful businessman, Mr Kreft is a leading figure in the social care sector.
Earlier this year, he was named as one of the 50 most influential people in social care in the UK by the magazine, Caring Business.
Mr Kreft is the honorary chief executive and co-founder of Care Forum Wales and was responsible for establishing the Wales Care Awards.
The planning application for a £4m centre of excellence at Pendine Park was approved by Wrexham County Borough Council earlier this year.
It will provide a boost for the area’s economy as the development will create up to 75 new jobs, taking the number of people employed by the Pendine Park group to more than 500.
Experts fear if action is not taken soon, health and social care services will fail to meet the needs of the growing number of people with dementia.
Pendine Park’s plans were highly commended and the panel heard how the proposed business model for centres of excellence could be rolled out across the UK.
Among the first to congratulate Mr Kreft was Wrexham Labour AM Lesley Griffiths, who said: “The Entrepreneur Challenge is widely recognised as one of the top business awards in the country.
“For Mario to be the only Welsh finalist is a great achievement in itself. However, when you consider some of the competition he was up against you begin to appreciate what he has achieved.”
Mr Kreft said: “Our plans for the centre of excellence were never dependent on the competition and we are determined to make our vision a reality.”
Pendine Park’s new centre, to be called Bodlondeb (place of contentment), will look after 64 people with dementia who need day care, respite care or residential services.