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!

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Not another care handbook

Managers across the care industry are really excited about a new book called ‘Not another care handbook: Pearls of wisdom for care managers’. The book features over a hundred key people in the care sector, including Somerset Care’s very own Sue Baverstock!

Sue Baverstock

The aim of the book is to inform care home managers on important issues affecting care homes and each chapter has been summarised into 10 key points. Edited by Dr Richard Hawkins, Editor-in-chief of Caring Times, the book features a foreword by Barbara Pointon, patron of Dementia UK and ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Sue Baverstock, Group Head of Human Resources and Training, wrote her chapter on ‘Recruiting the best staff’, the chapter gives a brief introduction and then 10 key points to consider including, ‘The importance of attitude and values’, ‘The resident’s perspective’, ‘Promoting care as a career’ and ‘What if you make a mistake?’.

The book features many other care experts such as Des Kelly, Executive Director of the National Care Forum and Kate Wakefield, Head of care provider engagement at PayingForCare.

If you would like more information on how to order the book visit

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Seasons Greetings from Alyson Martin

We are just on the cusp of completing our annual review which will be circulated early in the New Year so I will save my round up from across the business for the moment!

Alyson MartinHowever as 2013 closes and we approach 2014 it is a time to recognise that we have a had a busy year across all parts of the business. It is also a time to reflect on the important contribution that all staff have made over the last year. I have been visiting some of our services in the run up to Christmas and continue to be impressed with the quality of service from our staff and the good humour and laughter along the way. I was out on visits battling through the wind and rain thinking how challenging it can be just getting to work some days and at times like these especially so for our community teams having to battle through the elements to get between visits.

Maintaining the quality of our service is vital to the many customers who rely upon us, we now support nearly 5,000 people every day – so many people rely upon us providing consistently high quality and reliable services every day. It’s an amazing team effort, from carers, support teams, assessors, office staff and Managers everyone playing their part to ensure the whole service works smoothly.
Thank you for all your support and dedication throughout the year. I know many of you will be working over the Christmas and New Year period but hope that you also find some time to relax and enjoy the festive season.

From all the Directors and Central team – Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2014.

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Staff honoured at Somerset Care Awards 2013

Somerset Care held their annual awards ceremony on 26th September at the Somerset County Cricket Ground, Taunton.

Over 180 guests, including award winners and their families, attended the event at which staff were recognised for their long service and special achievements. In total the ceremony celebrated 655 years of long service, with one staff member celebrating 40 years. In addition to long service, presentations were made to staff members who had been nominated by their fellow colleagues for their special achievements, with an Overall Winner being announced in each category.

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

Somerset Care Awards 2013

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Alyson’s Summer Update

Alyson MartinThis summer we seem to have benefited from good weather, I hope that it remains so for the summer events that are happening across our services. There are the usual round of Cream Teas, Fetes, BBQs and a few more unusual events. I’m hoping that the Residential Op’s team return fit and well after their attempt in the three legged race at the Field House (Shepton Mallet) Sports Day.

Alongside the day job (or nights!) that everyone has in supporting all our customers I’m constantly impressed by all the ‘extra’s’ that staff do, whether it’s supporting our own fundraising functions or contributing to Charitable events held to raise money for wider good causes. There are too many to mention them all, but some of the recent ones I’m aware of include, skydiving, running in the Race for Life and a RNLI raft race in the Bristol Channel!

Care and Support news

  • Occupancy in our care homes naturally fluctuates but top notch goes to the teams at Popham Court, Southlawns and The Priory who have all attained 100% occupancy in August.


  • The Mendip Community Services team have recently held an opening event for the re launch of the Emma Sheppard centre at Frome. The service provides day support to people with dementia and is highly valued by the people attending. I recently visited the centre and was impressed by the service, my contribution to the day was joining in with the fitness session, it was good fun and enjoyed by all.


  • Howard Jones, 83 (not the well known musician) but a resident at Sunningdale Lodge is part of the Ages2.0 project. He has just independently completed his online ‘Forget me Not’ life story book, some achievement as he had not used a computer before the project started and he was able to upload his photos and life story into the book.


  • For our Realise services one of our current pieces of development work is the conversion of a couple of unused staff flats adjacent to Halcon House in Taunton, this will create super accommodation for some Learning Disability clients in the near future.


  • Hot off the press –  Pulsford Lodge have just attained their Gold Standards Framework accreditation and have achieved the highest rating of Commended. Congratulation to all of the team for their hard work in receiving this accolade.


  • I have been ‘out and about’ visiting services over recent weeks, care home visits included The Priory (Tetbury) and Greenhill House (Cheddar), then South Hampshire and Mendip community bases and on to Sheffield, North Allerton and Ponteland where I visited some of the new YourLife schemes. It has been a delight to meet clients and staff alike, thank you to all of you who have made me so welcome.


Company news

  • Across the company we continue to develop our online presence, the new website is in the final stages of completion and our social media status has extended, on Twitter: we now have 1,180 followers – an increase of 7% on last month and on Facebook: our page has 510 ‘likes’ – an increase of 25% since last month.


I hope that the weather holds for while longer so that those of you planning a break can enjoy a rest from work in the sun – rest and relaxation, keeping a good work life balance is important in ensuring that when we do all return to the “day job” after a break, we feel refreshed and energised.

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Nifty Knitters Support Cats Protection League

Residents of Burnworthy House and a representative from the Cats Protection League

Residents at Burnworthy House in South Petherton have been tirelessly knitting for months to produce blankets to donate to the Cats Protection League to ensure the animals are warm in cold weather spells.

The idea came after they donated blankets and pom-poms to the RSPCA in the winter to provide warmth and entertainment for the puppies and kittens.

Each week 10-15 residents take part in the knitting group with help from Claire Davis, Activity Co-ordinator and Gwen Trott, a resident’s daughter.

Karen Roberts, Manager of Burnworthy House, said “The Nifty Knitters has become a very popular activity in the home, attracting more residents to join since it first started last year. It has become a social occasion for the ladies and gentlemen who take part as they enjoy refreshments, a good chat and sometimes a singsong whilst they are busy knitting. In the warmer weather, everyone sits outside and chats about their memories of summer holidays, where they have been and family occasions.”

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Ground Breaking Event for Wessex House

Wessex House

On Friday 5th April Somerset Care were delighted to officially announce the build of Wessex House with a ceremonial ‘ground breaking’ event. Councillor Pauline Clarke broke the ground at the building site in Behind Berry, Somerton, which will become the location of the new build 55-bed nursing home and Somerton GP surgery.

Residents of the current Wessex House, located in Pesters Lane, will move into their new home in Spring 2014 and will benefit from purpose built facilities and picturesque views of the town.

Guests of the ceremony witnessed the ground breaking and were then invited to a buffet lunch provided by the Wessex House staff team. Somerset Care used Skype to send live footage of the event to residents of the current Wessex House that were unable to attend.home in Spring 2014 and will benefit from purpose built facilities and picturesque views of the town.

Speaking on the build Alyson Martin, Chief Executive, said, “We are delighted that the construction of the new care home is now underway, the new Wessex House will offer superb facilities which will match the reputation that the home already has for quality care. We are pleased to be working with The Stepping Stone Group and the GP’s, the project will be a “first” for South Somerset as the Care Home and the GP surgery will provide health and care on the same campus”.

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Somerset Care Lead in Recruitment Initiatives

Somerset Care at the Skills for Care Accolades 2013

Somerset Care is celebrating this month after receiving a national award. Skills for Care named Somerset Care winners of the Best Recruitment Initiatives on Thursday 14th March at a gala dinner. Alyson Martin, Chief Executive, Sue Baverstock, Group Head of HR and Training and Judith Clark, Workforce Learning and Development Manager, attended the ceremony accompanied by Kevin Mellor, Manager of The Halcon Centre and a representative of ‘The Rising Stars’ programme.

One of the reasons Somerset Care received this national award, alongside their diverse recruitment initiatives, was for ‘The Rising Stars Programme’, a management development course, helping members of Somerset Care to progress into Management positions within the company.

Speaking on their achievement, Alyson Martin, said “Our workforce are our greatest asset in ensuring we provide Quality Care and Support, so recruiting the best people and offering training and support to encourage their continued development enables us to retain excellent staff. We are delighted to have won this prestigious national award on behalf of our team.”

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Dementia – The Learning Curve

Alyson Martin MBE, Angela Rippon OBE and Chris Davies CBEOn 6th March Somerset Care played host to over 160 delegates at Dillington House, near Ilminster. The conference entitled ‘Dementia-The Learning Curve’ welcomed Somerset Care staff, Care Professionals and Commissioners to debate, exchange ideas and share current best practice in dementia care services.

Delegates heard keynote speeches from Sarah Pickup, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and Angela Rippon OBE, Co-Chair of the Dementia Friendly Communities Champion Group.

The purpose of the conference was to share Somerset Care’s dementia services called ‘PETALS’, the unique service delivers dementia care and support services to people living in their own homes and within Somerset Care’s residential and nursing homes across the South West.

Speaking on the conference, Chief Executive, Alyson Martin MBE, said, “The conference was an excellent opportunity to share ideas and best practice on improving services for people living with dementia. We were delighted that many people who attended felt the day was inspiring and informative.”

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Tom Jones – Merit Badge Prize Winner

Somerset Care is pleased to announce that Care and Support Worker, Tom Jones, has been announced as the winner of the Merit Badge Prize Draw.

Tom, who works for Somerset Care’s MendipTom Jones Community Services, was nominated by a client’s family, who praised him for his trustworthy and caring nature. He was awarded a certificate, badge and a £50 Sainsbury’s voucher.

The Merit Badge is awarded to staff members of Somerset Care who have gone above and beyond what is expected of them. Each nominated staff member will receive a badge and certificate to congratulate and thank them for their hard work and commitment. Every quarter recipients of the Merit Badge are entered into a prize draw and will have a chance to win a voucher to the value of £50.

Speaking on Tom’s award, Kim Dominey, Community Services Manager, said, “Tom is a very valuable popular member of the team who really deserves this recognition.”

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