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
William the Conqueror’s Return to Pevensey
The Court House Museum in Pevensey contacted Mortain place care home in Pevensey Bay Road, Eastbourne and offered a full colour A3 reproduction print of their newly commissioned Painting commemorating William the Conqueror’s return to Pevensey in 1066 for a victory gathering, it also shows his half -brother Count Robert of Mortain who reigned in Eastbourne in 1067 in the picture with William the Conqueror.
The museum wrote to Mortain Place care home asking if we would like the print for our new home as we had named the home after Count Mortain and would we like to have more information on the history of Robert of Mortain.
Peter Harrison the curator of the Museum kindly visited Mortain Place care home spoke to the residents and staff about the history of the painting and then had the picture framed for Mortain Place it will now take pride of place in our reception area at the home.
On Friday 6th December, people all over the country dressed as elves to spread festive cheer and raise money for those affected by dementia, organised by the Alzheimer’s Society. Here at Mortain Place we joined in by donning Christmas hats and glasses, singing along to music, and playing mischievous Elf games.
Teams raced against each other to do the Elves' jobs; sorting bags of skittles into individual colours, and wrapping up presents with their wrists tied together! The winning team was decided as the final game came to a close, when they battled to see who could empty a box of tissues with one hand the fastest, creating a flurry of snow all over the place.
We wrapped up with glasses of fizz and a dance to the festive music!
Naming Home Communities
Mortain place care home opened on 9th October 2019 and we had 4 communities in our new care home that were looking for new names, so we ran a competition with local Age concern staff and visitors to name our communities.
The entries came in thick and fast and from those we chose a winner who is Jenni Obinkwo who works for Age Concern in Eastbourne, Jenni came up with the names based on "Mortain" place these are Pevensey, Launceston, Montacute and Normandy which were administrations owned by Count Mortain.
Jenni was presented with her gift of a Hamper from Doofley's Deli in Eastbourne town by Karen Howell General Manager of Mortain Place care home.
First Christmas Fayre at Mortain Place
We organised a Christmas Fayre at Mortain place and the turnout was huge, it was opened by the Mayor of Eastbourne Steve Wallis. The mayor met with the residents and we had lots of local retail stalls and games' stalls, run by our residents and their families.
Father Christmas saw 100 children who all got a present from Santa, the day was a huge success and we raised £900 for local charities.
Doreen our very first resident in our new Mortain place Care home donated a 12ft Christmas tree for our home, which was planted outside the main entrance, the staff decorated the tree under Doreen's watchful eye, getting the star on top was the difficult part!
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.