Somerset Care Blog

Delivering quality care and support


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




Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset opens Greenhill House

Somerset Care was delighted to welcome Mrs Anne Maw, newly appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, to officially open the final stage of the Greenhill House development on 21th May 2015.
The opening ceremony was attended by residents and staff at the care home, as well as local Councillors and families. Mrs Anne Maw thanked the staff and residents of Greenhill House for welcoming her, before unveiling a plaque in Mendip View, the site of the care suites. This was then followed by the burying of a time capsule by Chris Davies CBE DL, Charles Wells from Kennet Construction, Kay Bidgood Home Manager and Betty Anderson, a resident at the home.
Following this, attendees were welcomed into the home for refreshments and a selection of homemade cakes.
Speaking on the occasion, Manager, Kay Bidgood said “We were delighted to be joined by Anne Maw to officially open the final stage of our development. It was a lovely celebration and we were honoured to be joined by so many family and friends of Greenhill House.”
Greenhill House is a purpose-built care home development, which includes a specialist dementia wing, luxury care suites and apartments. The modern home features a hairdressing salon, comfortable lounge and dining areas and a shop.

Greenhill time capsuleGreenhill opening 21.05.15


Taunton team awarded Base of the Year award

Staff at the Taunton community services office are celebrating after being presented with the ‘Base of the Year’ award.
The award was presented on the day by Dr Jane Townson, Lead Executive Director, who thanked the team for their hard work over the past year and congratulated them on their achievement. The Taunton team from Huish House, Hamilton Road, were selected for this award for their commitment to each other as a team and working together well and for embracing recent changes within our community services.
The presentation was made in the car park of Huish House, which had been transformed into a vintage tea room by local company ‘Ware’s the Scone at’, members of the team were treated to sandwiches, scones with cream and jam and refreshments.
Speaking on their achievement, Care Manager, Jane Holley said “We are delighted to have been awarded ‘Base of the Year’, it’s a huge achievement and I would like to thank every member of staff in the team for their continued hard work and dedication. The vintage tea party was a lovely surprise and it was a perfect opportunity for staff to enjoy themselves and reflect on their achievement.”


Taunton - Base of the Year Award



Clinical Training of Care Workers

At Somerset Care, we believe strongly in training and developing our workforce and we invest substantially in doing so.

Indeed, we have our own training company – Acacia Training and Development ,which provides training to our care and support staff, as well as to other organisations and individuals.

Recently, ourAdvanced Healthcare Practitioners first cohort of Advanced Healthcare Practitioners completed 18 months of clinical training on a Quality Credit Framework Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care programme, jointly run by Yeovil District Hospital Academy and Yeovil College.

These new Advanced Healthcare Practitioners are working in our nursing and residential homes, as well as in our home care service, and play a key role alongside our nurses, in providing high quality clinical care to our residents and community customers.

Home care workers are now expected to care for customers with a wide range of health needs, as well as personal care;  even our basic induction training covers many health-related topics, including: the administration of medication, hearing aids, stoma care, catheter care, compression stocking, infections, diabetes, COPD, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, depression and, of course, dementia, which is an area of expertise for the whole company.

Somerset Care has received national awards and recognition for our specialist dementia care support services. We call this the PETALS service which means: Person-Centred, Empowerment, Trust, Activities, Life History and Stimulation.

We’re involved in award-winning research work, recognised nationally, which we use to inform and develop our services to improve the lives of people living with dementia. We also use a tool known as Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) to check the quality of the support and care being provided.

In addition to providing our specialist dementia care support services in our care homes and people living in their own homes, our Mendip Community Services base now provide support in their new ‘Dementia Active Centre’ in Frome.

The service focuses on short to medium care and support for people with dementia and their families. The Centre is open 6 days a week from 11.00am – 3.00pm providing a variety of stimulating activities including:
• Support with cooking, gardening and other daily tasks.
• Reminiscence, life stories, sing-a-longs and music therapy.
• Light exercise, bowling, walking and outings.
• Games, quizzes, flower arranging, arts and crafts and other creative activities.

Please call a member of the Mendip Community Services team for more information about The Emma Sheppard Dementia Active Centre on 01373 473703.

A recent survey conducted by UNISON of more than 1,000 care workers employed by councils and private firms across the UK, revealed that staff receive inadequate home care training, putting the elderly and disabled at risk.

For example, of the homecare workers surveyed who administer medication, 24 per cent had received no training despite some administering controlled medication such as oramorph (liquid morphine) and insulin, 59 per cent had received no training in how to attach or change a convene catheter, 52 per cent had received no training in how to undertake stoma care, 45 per cent had received no training in how to change a catheter bag and 38 per cent had received no training in how to carry out peg feeding.

More than two thirds (69 per cent) said they cared for people with dementia, with approximately 42 per cent of the care users that they have visited in the last six months having the condition. Despite this, 27 per cent of home care workers have received no training in caring for people with dementia.

At Somerset Care, we agree with UNISON that this situation is unacceptable and are committed to continuing investment in improving and extending clinical training, and development of our home care and residential care workforce, despite the fact that national and local government funding for social care makes it uneconomic to do so.

We’re now looking forward to our next cohort of Advanced Healthcare Practitioner trainees, which includes more home care workers, starting their training and wish them well for their course.
Dr Jane Townson
Interim Lead Executive Director
Somerset Care


Great British Home Care Awards 2015

Two Somerset Care workers were shortlisted for a national award on 24th April.

Joined by their managers, Marjorie King from Preston Park House and Kerry Stanley from Croft House, attended the national Great British Care Home Awards at ICC in Birmingham, after being announced as winners in the regional Great South West Care Awards last year.

Unfortunately, on this occasion Marjorie and Kerry weren’t announced as overall winners on the night, everyone is extremely proud of them both for representing the South West and Somerset Care at a National awards ceremony, a fantastic achievement.

Kerry Stanley and colleagues at the awards ceremonyMarjorie King (right), joined by Manager Chantal Kirkland and Chairman, Chris Davies.