Somerset Care Blog

Delivering quality care and support


Chairman’s Update

Alyson Martin retired from the Somerset Care Group just a day or so ago. I first knew Alyson when she took over as manager of our Sunnymeade care home in Chard in the 1970s. It was clear right from the start that she was someone with the highest standards, bright ideas, and the ability to lead her team to deliver them in practice. With the transfer out of Somerset County Council in 1991 and the launch of Somerset Care, Alyson rose quickly through management jobs, making a significant contribution to the Board over many years, and building the Company’s quality and reputation in her role as Director of Care. Alyson and Chris together at the 2014 Somerset Care Group Awards


Alyson will be remembered fondly for her quiet leadership style, her calm and persistent determination through the inevitable troubled times, and her commitment to the success of the Somerset Care Group. She became our Chief Executive on Andrew’s retirement three years ago, and since then, it is entirely fitting that her contribution to the care sector was recognised with the award of an MBE. Alyson will be missed, having been a constant presence throughout the Group’s history. But I know she will be delighted that the team is strong, and, with new leadership, rising to new challenges and opportunities. The Board is very confident that the Somerset Care Group has a bright future. We will always be grateful to Alyson for the part she played in building its strengths.


Chris Davies, CBE, DL
Non-Executive Chair of the Somerset Care Group Board


Generous donation for the Emma Sheppard Centre

Somerset Care was delighted to receive an extremely generous donation for their dementia active centre, The Emma Sheppard Centre, in Frome. The Frome Ladies Club chose the Emma Sheppard Centre as their chosen charity for 2014 and the 40 plus members collected a grand total of £525.00 through holding bake sales, raffles and even a pop-up shop in the town centre.
The Emma Sheppard Centre is run by Somerset Care’s Community Services team in Frome. The centre offers short to medium term support for people with dementia and is open 6 days a week. Visitors to the dementia active centre enjoy a range of activities, as well support with daily living skills and socialising.
Speaking on the donation, Colleen Tucker, Supervisor at the Emma Sheppard Centre, said “We would all like to say a huge thank you to the Frome Ladies Club for their donation, we’re intending use the money to organise some more trips out and events, which will be really appreciated by all.”


Emma Sheppard Centre


Care Home Staff Visit Site of New Home

February has been an exciting month for the staff and residents at Preston Park House in Yeovil.

A working group, made up of staff members from each area of the home, made a very special trip over to Cooksons Orchard, the site of their new purpose-built home, Cooksons Court.

Dressed in the appropriate attire, staff were able to tour the development and look at the progress of the build.

Speaking on the visit, Chantal Kirkland, Manager, said “We’re all so excited about the move to Cooksons Court later this year. It’s great that we can take groups of staff over to tour the development and get a feel for the new space they will have. The residents are really excited too and can’t wait for their first tour.”

Staff visiting the site of Cooksons Court



Frith House Raise Funds for British Heart Foundation

Staff and residents from Frith House in Burnham-on-Sea, took part in the national fundraising for the British Heart Foundation on Friday 6th February. This was in memory of their colleague, Pat Walshe, who sadly passed away last year.

Residents and staff wore red items of clothing to raise awareness of the charity, residents also painted their nails red to support to cause. In total the home raised £59.

Frith House red day


Somerset Care celebrates staff achievements

The Somerset Care Group held their annual awards ceremony on 25th September at the Somerset County Cricket Ground, Taunton, at which several members of staff were honoured.

Over 170 guests, including award winners and their families, attended the event at the County Ground, where staff were recognised for their long service and special achievements. Presentations were made to staff members who had been nominated by their fellow colleagues for going above and beyond, with a winner being announced in each category.

Attendees heard speeches from Alyson Martin, Chief Executive, Eoin Keogh, Director of Care, Susan Baverstock, Group Head of HR and Training and Chris Davies, Chairman.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Executive, Alyson Martin said, “it is wonderful to see so many of our staff members being honoured for their commitment and dedication to Somerset Care. It has been a lovely day and a pleasure to be able to celebrate the achievements of our staff.

Fletcher House staffPortcullis House staffHR team


Alyson’s Update

What a busy time over the last 6 weeks; new homes, new ways of working, new website and a Royal visit.

Care Homes

There has been a hive of activity surrounding the completion of our new care home, Wessex House in Somerton. The new Wessex House achieved it’s registration with CQC on 13th May, followed by the official celebration on 22nd May for handover of the home from the developers, the Stepping Stone Group, to Somerset Care. With the residents moving into their new home on 27th May. It was a tremendous effort from all staff, volunteers and families to achieve the move in one day. The new home offers superb new accommodation still located near the centre of the town and next door to the new doctors surgery. It’s a new era for care in Somerton and I wish Amy, the staff team and the residents at Wessex House every success as they settle into their new home.

Wessex House

 Community Services

Over the last few months, the Community team have been streamlining the way we manage and deliver our services. After much involvement from many staff the new care and support planning documents have been launched, along with changes to the way Community Team Supervisors work. Instead of supervisory staff having to cover a wide range of responsibilities we now have Supervisors who are either dedicated to supporting care and support workers or supporting customers. Alongside this, we are re-shaping management roles so that we will have Business Managers (overseeing the core management of running the business) and Care Managers who have the lead for ensuring quality delivery of care services.

Quality Services

In May, we were involved in the pilot stage of the new CQC standards and inspections. We volunteered for this project and the Chard Community Services team were the first team to be involved in supporting the development of how inspections will operate in the future. It’s too soon to know what the outcome of their inspection will be, but we hope that the new approach will be robust enough to properly test the quality of our services, but also give us good customer feedback. As we move forward into the new way of inspections, we look forward to many of our services attaining an ‘outstanding’ rating. The Care Bill received Royal assent in May, giving parliamentary approval of the new Care Act and reforms to the NHS including GPs, commissioning, competition and the funding changes; this new act will bring significant changes for the care sector!


In May, new schemes opened in Taunton and Potters Bar, and I visited four of YourLife services in Sussex. It was great to hear such positive feedback from people who have recently moved into the apartments and in all cases, excellent feedback on the quality of our staff.


Over the last year we have been planning the renewal of our website to make it more user friendly and we are delighted to announce that it can be accessed via

Please take a moment to have a look and please give us feedback, we welcome positive feedback as well as suggestions for any further improvements – do let us know your views!

Royal Visit

Greenhill House in Cheddar had a visit from HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO who opened both the new home and the apartments on 9th June. We were fortunate to have excellent weather, the Countess spent time talking to residents, staff and invited guests and she was very impressed with the new home.

Countess of Wessex







Alyson Martin MBE – Chief Executive


Welcome to the new Somerset Care website

Welcome to the brand new Somerset Care website, our old site was a little out of date so we’ve developed this new one based on your feedback!

In our new site we’ve included lots of helpful tips and case studies, from choosing a care home, to the different types of support available and what it’s like to work in care. There are also lots of new areas for you to browse including a page on paying for care and support, our awards and accolades and details of our apartments and care suites for sale.

If you have a spare few moments we would love for you to browse the site and send us your thoughts. Click here for a direct link to our feedback form or click the pop up on the left of the homepage.

Thank you in advance and we hope that you’ll find everything you are looking for today!


Tell your story with Paul Cullis

Here’s Paul Cullis with his Somerset Care story, Paul retired as Interim Assistant Director of Residential Services last month after almost 40 years of working for the company!

Paul Cullis

I commenced employment with Somerset County Council as a Trainee Residential Social Worker on 1st June 1974. The following year I joined the Social Services Relief Team and this gave me the opportunity of working in all the residential provisions, from day nurseries and children’s homes to care homes for older people. I stayed on the Relief Team for nearly fifteen years, relishing the variety and new challenges and always thought it was an excellent grounding for me in later life.

Following my time of the Relief Team, I took up post as Deputy Manager at Oak Trees and subsequently moved to Frith House and eventually became Manager at a time of major redevelopment, which proved an interesting and exciting experience. My next move brought me to Central Office as an Operations Manager and the opportunity to revisit many of the homes where I had worked years before on the Relief Team.

After almost forty years in the sector, I have seen many changes, I have seen enormous development of services and facilities which have improved beyond recognition. What hasn’t changed is the vast amount of dedicated skilled people, delivering fantastic care every day of the year.

I will miss my colleagues at Somerset Care; it is a wonderful and well respected company. I have many happy memories of service users over the years that I have had the priviledge to meet and play a part in their care.

I feel ready to move into the next stage of my life and I have a number of tasks and hobbies which I now hope I will have the time to enjoy.

From everyone at Somerset Care we wish Paul a very long and happy retirement!


Be Healthy

We have been really busy developing our new ‘Be Healthy’ campaign for all staff. This exciting new initiative was launched to the Managers, with the first challenge, ‘Be the cracker not the pud’ Christmas pedometer challenge. 47 Managers across The Somerset Care Group took part in the challenge and between them took  6,565,832.02 steps which means they walked a total of 13,210 miles! Be Healthy Staff received a launch bag and were asked to complete a health survey to establish the full health extent of our workforce, ensuring that we can tailor our campaign to our staffs’ needs. Throughout the year the campaign will cover the following areas:

  • Healthy eating
  • Getting active
  • Health care
  • Emotional well-being

Within each area we hope to provide staff with access to information, advice and support, interactive challenges, competitions and many more exciting things!