Somerset Care Blog

Delivering quality care and support


Milton House thank Prince’s Trust for new garden

Staff and residents at Milton House in Bridgwater are delighted with the look of their new garden.

Milton House initially started working with Bridgwater College’s Prince’s Trust team in the summer, when they helped to make photographic versions of the nursing home’s menu. Their most recent task was the re-vamp of the garden at the home, including some gardening, power washing and painting of the outdoor furniture and planters. The Prince’s Trust team worked hard to raise funds for the project by offering to pack bags in supermarkets and had vouchers donated from B&Q and Wilkinsons, with The Walled Gardens of Cannington donating beautiful plants.

Students from the Prince’s Trust did a fantastic job of cleaning up and giving the garden a new look, they also created an underwater mural for one of the home’s bathrooms. The residents enjoyed chatting with them whilst they worked and joined in by painting some of the plant pots.

In November, staff and residents at Milton House invited students from the Prince’s Trust for a tea party as a thank-you for their hard work.
Speaking on the project, Manager, Julie Bohot said “This was a challenging project and they should all be very proud. They really were a fantastic group of young people and I feel proud of they work they did. It was lovely to see the confidence of the young people grow as they became involved in their work. They were very committed to completing this work in the specified time and worked so hard to include all the things we wanted.”


Prince's Trust and residents

Milton House's garden


Somerset Care announce collaboration with Musica

Somerset Care is pleased to announce their collaboration with Musica, who provide engaging music workshops for people of all ages, including those in care settings.

Following confirmation from the Big Lottery Fund, Somerset Care has been offered a grant to support this relationship, which will allow each of their care homes to receive a group music session each month.
Musica franchisee, Frances deBosdari, will be managing the project and facilitating the sessions along with a team of musicians.

Speaking on the project, Sue Harvey, Operations Manager and Project Lead, said “We are delighted and extremely grateful to have received a grant from the Big Lottery Fund, which will support our continued investment into the health and well-being of our residents. Somerset Care is delighted to be working with Musica, and the staff and residents in our care homes are looking forward to organising their first workshops.”

Rosie Mead, Founder of Musica, explained the benefits that older people receive from their sessions “Participating in musical activities can have beneficial activities for older people as it is a good form of stimulus for the brain. Using music workshops for health benefits has definite practical uses such as improving brain function in the elderly, aiding respiratory problems such as asthma and can boost emotion and self-esteem. But as well as these benefits, it is also a fun and social activity that is extremely rewarding.”


Staff recognised at The Somerset Care Group Awards 2015

The Somerset Care Group held their annual awards ceremony on 16th September at the Somerset County Cricket Ground, Taunton, at which several members of staff were honoured for their dedication and achievements.

Over 130 guests, including award winners and their families, attended the event at the County Ground, travelling from far and wide, with one guest flying in from America to attend. Presentations were made to staff members who had been nominated by their fellow colleagues, customers and health care professionals for going above and beyond, with a winner being announced in each category.

Attendees heard speeches from Jane Townson Chief Executive and Chris Davies Chairman, a short film was also shown which had been created for the ceremony involving staff members and customers who spoke about the importance of care.
Awards were presented in the following categories:
Best Newcomer
Winner: Daniel Guy – Grovelands
Highly Commended: Teresa Copping – ATD Plymouth, Kayleigh Nichol – Popham Court
Outstanding Learner
Winner: Cindi Bronger – South East Community Services team
Highly Commended: Summer Green – Realise Poole and Bournemouth team, Alison Lirette – Taunton and Chard Community Services team
Outstanding Contribution to Activities
Winner: Dovile Himsworth – Preston Park House
Highly Commended: Tracey Chesterman – Grovelands, Stephanie Steer – The Halcon Centre
Inspirational Trainer
Winner: Anna Zrelli – Acacia Training and Development Taunton
Highly Commended: Catherine Mewton – Acacia Training and Development Plymouth
Creative Innovation
Winners: Sandra Levett and Jean Robinson – Mendip Community Services team
Highly Commended: Christine Huggett and Daniel Hobson – Frith House, Charlotte Jeffrey – Central Office
Dignity in Care
Winner: Katrina Humphreys – Wiltshire Community Services
Highly Commended: Sue Kirk – Realise South West team, Sarah Hunt – Gloucester Community Services team
Quality Dementia Care
Winners: Anne Bidder and Maria Pearce, Gloucester Community Services team
Highly Commended: Gemma Brimson – Wiltshire Community Services team, Victoria Hughes-Jones – Critchill Court
Customer Service
Winner: Abigail Crocker – Central Office
Highly Commended: Tricia Yahya – The Priory, Therena North – Burnworthy House
Central Support Team of the Year
Winner: IT Caresys Team – Central Office
Highly Commended: Payroll Team – Central Office
Make a Difference
Winner: Janet Conway – The Halcon Centre
Highly Commended: Iris Jenkin – Volunteer at Grovelands, Patricia Dare – Taunton and Chard Community Services team
Inspirational Senior Manager
Winner: Sue Harvey – Central Office
Outstanding Manager of the Year
Winner: Tricia Yahya – The Priory
Highly Commended: Melanie Hedgecock-Reeves – Central Officer, Jenny Futcher – Wiltshire Community Services team
Inspirational Line Manager
Winner: Victoria Hughes-Jones – Critchill Court
Highly Commended: Corrine Gamblin – Sedgemoor and West Somerset Community Services team, Krisztina Baranyi – South East Community Services team
Outstanding Worker of the Year
Winner: Ellie Green – Central Office
Highly Commended: Roy Matthews – Lavender Court, Jackie Priddy – Realise South West
Outstanding Care Worker of the Year
Winner: Stuart Knight – Sedgemoor and West Somerset Community Services team
Highly Commended: Sarah Hunt – Gloucester Community Services team, Josie Green – Critchill Court
Community Services Team of the Year
Winner: Darrin’s team, Alfred Court – Realise South West
Care Home of the Year
Winner: Polars, Bembridge (Isle of Wight)
Highly Commended: Oak Trees, Bridgwater and Grovelands, Yeovil

Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Executive Jane Townson said, “The Care Awards Ceremony is for me a high point of the company’s year. It’s a celebration of the best of what we do and what we stand for. The many examples of outstanding care recognised, reflect our company values – Customers, Care, Candour – in action. I love the passion, creativity, collaboration and commitment demonstrated by so many staff, as well as their willingness to go the extra mile. A heartfelt thank you to all of you.”

Stuart Knight


West Somerset Care Worker Receives National Award

A West Somerset care worker has received a Great British Home Care Award.

Sara-Jayne Locke works for Somerset Care supporting customers to live independently in their own homes and was nominated for ‘Care Newcomer Award’ in the 2014 Great South West Care Awards.

Following her achievement, Sara-Jayne was then shortlisted for the 2015 Great British Home Care Awards in Birmingham, where she was announced as the winner of the ‘Care Newcomer Award’. Colleagues, friends and family are extremely proud of her for achieving a national award and representing the South West and Somerset Care.

Speaking on Sara-Jayne’s achievement, Dr Jane Townson, Chief Executive said “Though Sara-Jayne had only been with Somerset Care for a couple of months, she handled some difficult situations with skill, calmness and professionalism, took initiative, and went above and beyond the call of duty. On one occasion, she visited a community customer with dementia, who wasn’t at home as expected. Sara-Jayne was concerned for her customer’s safety and immediately reported her missing to the office. She then went looking for her in her local area. Eventually she found her safe and well, and stayed with her for the rest of the afternoon, which meant having to find child care at short notice. On another occasion, a customer collapsed and Sara-Jayne had to call the emergency services and administer CPR. Sara clearly has a very caring and compassionate nature. She’s passionate about helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community to live as happily and independently as possible. Many thanks Sara-Jayne for all you do“.

Chris Sarah and Jane


Taunton team raise funds for St Margaret’s Hospice

Staff from Somerset Care’s Community Services team in Taunton, were pleased to visit St Margaret’s Hospice to deliver a cheque from their recent fundraising activities.

The team held their first spring fayre earlier this year, inviting people to join them for a variety of stalls, games and refreshments, with all proceeds being donated to the charity. The fayre was organised by staff members Melanie Gould-Orfandis and Kayleigh Haste, who chose St Margaret’s Hospice as their cause.

Speaking on the event, Melanie, Senior Care and Support Worker said “We wanted to organise something that involved our customers in the community as well as our staff and their families. The idea to fundraise for St Margaret’s Hospice came after some of their staff delivered to training to the team, they shared their expertise on end of life care, and organised for us to take a tour of the hospice. We were really grateful for their knowledge; this is something that we’ve now been able to take on board and implement in to our own training. In total, we raised £856.00 for the charity and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that was able to join us for this event and for contributing to this worthy cause.”

St Margaret's Hospice cheque


Summer BBQ fun at The Halcon Centre

On Friday 24th July The Halcon Centre in Hamilton Road, Taunton, held their annual summer BBQ.

Visitors, clients, staff, family and friends were invited to the event and enjoyed a delicious range of BBQ food and refreshments. The BBQ started at lunchtime, but unfortunately the weather had other plans, with the rain forcing the event to come indoors. The guests didn’t let the weather dampen their spirits and enjoyed continuing the celebrations inside, with a raffle, which raised £250 for The Halcon Centre’s activities fund, which goes towards trips out and entertainment for the clients. The prizes included an MOT which was donated by A1 MOT centre on Railway Street, jewellery, chocolates, wine, cuddly toys and more.

Speaking on the event, Kevin Mellor, Manager, said “Thank you to everyone that made it to our annual BBQ, we had an amazing afternoon and weren’t beaten by the rain. I would also like to thank the staff involved in making this annual event possible.”

Halcon BBQ 2015



Wiltshire staff get ‘pretty muddy’ for Cancer Research UK

Members of Somerset Care’s Wiltshire Community Services team in Melksham took part in the Pretty Muddy 5k challenge on Saturday 4th July, for Cancer Research UK.

The team of nine, named ‘The Dirt Bags’, set themselves a fundraising target of £500 and beat their goal significantly, raising a grand total of £1,050. As well as enduring the 5k race covered in mud, which they finished in an hour, the team also held a raffle to raise the funds, which contributed £268 to their total.

Speaking on their fundraising, Business Manager, Jenny Futcher said “Thank you to everyone that sponsored us for the pretty muddy challenge and a huge thank you to all of the local companies who kindly donated raffle prizes. We are so pleased to have more than doubled our initial target for Cancer Research, a very worthy cause.”

Somerset Care - Pretty Muddy challenge (1)

Somerset Care - Pretty Muddy challenge (2)


The Somerset Care Group appoints Dr Jane Townson as new Chief Executive

The Somerset Care Group has announced the appointment of a new Chief Executive.

Following a rigorous interview process, and from a strong shortlist of four, the Board of the Somerset Care Group were delighted to offer the position of Chief Executive to Dr Jane Townson.
Jane holds a MA (Oxon), MSc and PhD in Biological Sciences and spent 14 years in senior leadership roles in major multinational corporations in the pharmaceutical and agribusiness sectors, before founding her own business in the field of nutrition and health. She served for 9 years as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and for 4 years on the Board of Somerset Care.

Speaking on her appointment, Jane said “It’s both an honour and a privilege to be appointed as Chief Executive of the Somerset Care Group. I’m passionate about improving the lives of the people we serve by delivering compassionate, innovative, high quality and cost-effective care. Almost every day I hear stories of extraordinary kindness and care on the part of our staff and I count myself extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to lead such a special company. We don’t always get things right for our customers, though, and I’m committed to raising the bar, putting things right when they go wrong, and learning from our mistakes as well as our successes. Though we have many challenges in the social care sector, I look forward to working with our partners in local authorities, health, the third sector, other social care providers and private companies to develop new models of integrated care to meet the needs of our communities.”

Chris Davies, CBE, DL, Non-Executive Chair of the Somerset Care Group said “Jane has demonstrated an insightful grasp of our work and its context, an unwavering commitment to its ethical base in offering the best we possibly can to people in need, enormous talent as a communicator, an insatiable appetite to learn and understand, willingness to confront uncomfortable realities, warm concern for and appreciation of all people, whether clients, carers, staff or managers, and massive energy and optimism. Jane is just the person we need to lead our strong team in meeting the very real challenges of the next few years. She is as determined as I am that we will deliver what each person wants and needs, with quality and reliability, and that all our staff should enjoy decent pay and conditions of work. With our ageing population, Somerset Care is needed like never before, and, with Jane’s leadership, we will be there for people for many years to come.”

Jane succeeds Alyson Martin MBE, who took retirement earlier this year; her appointment as Chief Executive is effective from 16th June 2015.

Dr Jane Townson and Chris Wall



The Somerset Care Group Awards 2015

Nominations are now open for the Somerset Care Group Awards 2015. 

If you would like to nominate a member of the Somerset Care Group for going above and beyond in their role, please email for a nomination form.

With a total 17 categories, there’s something to suit everyone, including two new categories: ‘Make a Difference’ and ‘Customer Service’.

The Somerset Care Group Awards 2015















Nominations will close on Friday 17th July 2015. 



National Care Home Open Day 2015

Somerset Care is delighted to be taking part in National Care Home Open Day.  This is an annual event that started in 2013 and was a huge success, with care homes all over the country opening their doors to their local communities.

June 19th sees many care homes welcoming the public and arranging events and activities that will help to create lasting links between care home residents and their local communities. Come along and take part in the activities in the homes and join the friendly, caring staff and the residents for a coffee.  A wide range of activities have been planned across the Group this year, including arts and crafts, cream teas, theme days, table top sales, cocktail parties and much more.

For more information on what your local Somerset Care home is doing, click here