Maria Howell

Meet our Lifestyle Enrichment Coordinator, Maria Howell

Hi, my name is Maria and I am the Lifestyle Enrichment Coordinator here at Mortain Place.

I have known the comings and goings of a care home since the age of seven years old, when my younger sister and I sat at work with mum and dad after school. We read to the residents, had tea and cake with them, danced around in the gardens, and gave out Christmas presents dressed as elves. As we grew up, we gained more sets of grandparents than biologically possible, but friends for life.

At 14 I began working as a housekeeper in the home, a role I loved as I could chat to everybody as I got on with my jobs. I often helped out with bigger events throughout the year, too, and thrived on the buzz of everyone being together and enjoying each other’s’ company. At 17, I moved into the role of activities coordinator.

Now, after different workplaces and a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, I am here working at Barchester Healthcare. I am keen to bring my experience and my passions to my role, to fulfill and empower lives. Coming to work does not feel like a job to me: I adore the people I work with, I care for them deeply, and I am privileged to have this opportunity.

Our activities team are great at building the activities programme around the likes and interests of the people we care for. Ensuring that our social events offer fun and adventure is part of the ethos of our home; it’s important that those we support can enjoy an active and social lifestyle. Of course, there will always be those who prefer peace and quiet, and in these instances, a cup of tea and a chat are always welcomed.

Life at our home

Dementia Café

We had the grand opening of our new fortnightly Dementia Café of Memories and Dreams at Mortain Place care home, it was officially opened by local celebrity Sheik Abid Gulzar and we also had Barchester’s specialist on Dementia, Leon Smith who was available to support and answer any questions.

We all enjoyed afternoon teas and our activity room was running along with our new Magic table, which everyone had a really fun time playing along with.

We will be running our café every 1st Thursday of the month at 2-4pm and every 3rd Thursday of the month 10-12 noon, everyone is welcome whether you’re a family member, a carer or a friend of someone who has someone with Dementia. Bring everyone along to a safe and warming environment to chat, have coffee and cake. 

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Pink Tea Party

We recently held a Pink Tea Party in the orangery at Mortain Place, to raise money and awareness for the charity Breast Cancer Now. Residents and staff donned items of pink and posed for photos, whilst enjoying pink decorated cupcakes, pink wafers, and pink lemonade.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, singing and chatting together.

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First Minibus Outing

One of our residents felt like royalty recently, as we did our first outing with the mini bus. We visited the local garden centre, Hillier, chauffeur driven by our maintenance man and accompanied by family.

The shops were already full of Christmas gifts, decorations, and lights, and the café abundant in sugary treats. Between us we tried the Lemon Drizzle, Lemon Meringue, and Chocolate Brownie – favourites all round!

We are looking forward to many more trips out in our minibus, local and further afield.

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VIP Opening

Mortain Place's staff and guests were delighted when Her Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant of Eastbourne, Mr John Smith JP, and Deputy Mayor Councillor Sammy Choudhury officially opened Eastbourne’s newest luxury care home by unveiling a plaque at a recent opening ceremony at our home.

The Deputy Lieutenant and Deputy Mayor greeted the new residents and specially invited guests, and gave a speech before unveiling the plaque, marking the official opening on the 9th October. During their visit, invited guests were given tours of the home, and were treated to a selection of refreshments as well as entertainment throughout the home, including live music from a barbershop quartet and a harpist.

Lesley Standing, general manager, said: “We are all very excited about the opening of Mortain Place.Our newly-appointed team have really enjoyed meeting the new residents and their families. We were honoured to have the Deputy Lieutenant and Deputy Mayor join us on the day too. It’s been an amazing day of celebrating with the wonderful people of Eastbourne.”

Lesley continued: “Barchester brings over 25 years’ experience in expert care to Eastbourne, which means residents and their relatives can feel safe in the knowledge that they are in trusted hands.”

Her Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant of Eastbourne, Mr John Smith JP said at the event: “We are delighted and honoured that Barchester have created a new home to take care of our loved ones with the best quality care available. Moving into a care home is one of the bigger decisions we make in our lives so it’s a wonderful thing to have Mortain Place join our town as they continue to build strong relationships and meaningful connections with residents and neighbours within Eastbourne.”

Deputy Mayor Councillor Sammy Choudhury went on to unveil the plaque on behalf of the city of Eastbourne to a round of cheers and toasts.


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Mortain Place's First Resident

Mortain Place's First Resident

Our first resident, Doreen Clements, moved into the home recently, accompanied by her two daughters. There were smiles all around the home. 

Afternoon Tea Afternoon Tea Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

We have a successful afternoon tea with a live harpist at Mortain Place recently, which was attended by 30 people. Guests enjoyed plenty of cream teas throughout the afternoon.