Meet the extraordinary care professional overseeing three Greater Manchester facilities for older people

Belong’s new operations manager speaks seven languages, has been commended by a High Sheriff for Covid work and supports the homeless and underprivileged children.

The latest arrival at an award-winning care provider overseeing three Greater Manchester facilities is a man of many talents.

Not only does Ali Gopaul have almost two decades of experience in the industry and a Master’s level qualification, he speaks seven languages, has been praised for the community response to Covid-19 of a residential home he ran and does extensive social work in his home county of Yorkshire.

He has been appointed operations manager at Belong and is responsible for overseeing the three care villages in the city-region in Didsbury, Wigan and Atherton.

He also has responsibility across all of Belong’s facilities for health and fitness.

A healthcare journey which began in the Indian Ocean

Ali’s interest in health and care was initially sparked growing up in Mauritius.

Surrounded by a family of healthcare professionals, he became interested at a young age in helping others and seeking a career in care.

Since then his resume includes working for Bradford District Council in the town where he still lives and managing day care for adults with physical and mental health disabilities before moving into operations and regional management positions in the private sector.

He has taken on a number of operational roles in older people’s and dementia care in residential and nursing settings.

With 18 years of experience and an MSc in health and social care management, Ali is thrilled to be putting all his skills to use in Greater Manchester with Belong.

“It is fantastic to be working for a not-for-profit organisation and I very much share Belong’s values and philosophy when it comes to promoting active lifestyles for older people in the community and maximising their independence and choices.

“I definitely feel like you belong to Belong.”

A passion for languages

One of Ali’s most impressive abilities is his linguistic talent, speaking no fewer than seven languages: Italian, French, Urdu, Hindi, English, Creole (the language spoken in Mauritius) and Spanish.

The inclusion of the Didsbury home, which has a long link with the Jewish community going back to when it was founded, potentially gives him chance to expand his list even further.

He said: “I did try a bit of Hebrew with a couple of the customers in Didsbury but I’m definitely not fluent.”

He says he is also enjoying the fact that each of Belong’s three Greater Manchester facilities is unique.

He said: “In Didsbury we are working very closely with the Morris Feinmann Trust to support the Jewish community, which is so lovely.

“Our customers recently did a fund-raiser to support the Afghan refugees. The gesture and humanity shown was amazing.

Ali Gopaul

“I like the fact each village is unique, but we also share any lessons learned and good ideas.

“Greater Manchester is a brilliant place, I feel like I’ve received a very warm welcome from everybody.”

Supporting older people and the community

Ali says he has a particular passion for dementia care and is determined to keep up Belong’s reputation in the field, with the care villages running on the model of having household-sized groups of up to 12 people in apartments where customers live as independently as possible.

He is also responsible for nurturing the state-of-the-art exercise, fitness and gym facilities which Belong regularly makes use of to keep its clients as fit and active as possible.

His efforts have been widely recognised, with the High Sheriff of Lancashire presenting him with an award for the work he did helping the community during the Covid-19 pandemic while managing a residential and care home in Colne.

He also takes this passion for helping others into his personal life outside of work, helping to set up a centre to feed the homeless as well as teaching underprivileged children back in Yorkshire.