We’re back with Head Chef – Paul Burns! Paul has spiced up the food offering at Ashton Manor by listening to what the residents want, tailoring dishes around their individual needs and certainly cooking up a storm for each meal.

Find out how we’ve turned dining into an experience for all of our residents.

State-of-the-art kitchen

It was crucial that we got the facilities at Ashton Manor up to specification with modern equipment to help Paul and his team create magic in the kitchen.

 “It’s all state of the art and no corners have been cut, we have more equipment than necessary at the moment, so we’re ready for when we hit full capacity”, Paul reveals, “I’ve had full reign over the kitchen and worked with the team to ensure we have everything we need”.

Outside of the kitchen, it was also important that we created comfortable dining spaces for our residents to enjoy their food. The dining rooms on every floor have been uniquely designed, so each one has a fresh and comfortable feel, where residents can sit back, socialise and enjoy what is being served that day. On arrival, you’ll notice cool hues of colour in the communal spaces, which promote a calming atmosphere to enjoy mealtimes.

Tailoring tastes

We understand how important mealtimes are for our residents and so in our efforts to make the dining experience the best it can be at Ashton Manor, we have regular meetings with the residents to really find out what makes their taste buds tick.

Paul explains that through these meetings he discovered the residents were hungry for an all-day breakfast. So, he made it happen!

“During the residents’ meeting they spoke up and asked for an all-day breakfast, so that’s what we did. Residents were invited down to pick and choose what they wanted, whenever they felt like it.”

And the normal menus have already been a hit. “The residents love traditional food like a roast dinner, soup, and fish and chips on a Friday”, Paul explains, “we always include a vegetarian option for each meal, as having the choice is appreciated”.

Paul works to a four-week menu which allows for variety without becoming repetitive, sticking to ‘Fish Fridays’ and roast dinners on Wednesdays and Sundays. But outside of those regular dishes, Paul works to mix it up, keeping things interesting.

When we get good feedback and residents asking for more of a particular dish they liked, we’ll cater to that. The team noticed that soup hits the spot for many, so Paul and his team quickly reacted by preparing fresh soups every day.

For residents who need special considerations, Paul is no stranger to making sure everyone is happy.

“We have a special diet, allergens and intolerances section on our likes and dislikes sheet, and we’ll prep and cook those meals separately to avoid cross-contamination. It’s the same with soft diets, we dress the food nicely on the plate, so it looks just as good as someone else’s meal.”

Reinvented mealtimes

Unlike other care homes we have ensured our mealtimes are resident led. ‘Resident led’ meals involve offering a lighter option at lunch, such as soup, a sandwich or an omelette, with the main or larger meal served in the evening.

Though this doesn’t seem out of the ordinary for most people, in the care home sector the larger meal is often eaten at lunchtime and a lighter snack offered in the evening.

We wanted to change that.

Getting out of bed later in the day is common as we age. For many residents, lunch is their first meal of the day, so it doesn’t make sense to present them with a large roast.

Our reinvented mealtimes mean that our residents feel livelier in the daytime, they’re more willing to take part in activities and engage with carers and visitors. The outcome is our residents lead a fuller life with increased mobility, and with more uptake on activities they’re more likely to have a better nights’ sleep.

The experience of dining

“Overall, I want the residents’ dining experience to be like an event. I want them to feel like they can put their best clothes on like they’re going out for a meal (if they want to!)  – I want it to be special for them. This is Ashton Manor and it needs to be treated like a manor – the building is amazing, so the food should reflect that.” Paul Burns, Head Chef at Ashton Manor

Now that our new residents have settled in; they are starting to socialise in the ground floor dining room. Paul has already noticed how well they interact with each other: “People want to sit with each other and have a chat, we’ve had music playing – there’s even been dancing! They really bounce off each other and it’s lovely to watch”.

This is why the dining experience at Ashton Manor is so important, it’s more than just a meal, it becomes the social point to the day and brings everyone together.

As a care home that specialises in Dementia Care, it’s vital that we pay extra attention to residents who are living with it. When it comes to food, we know this can play a huge role in evoking happy memories, and so we talk to residents about food that was served at home and through their younger years, which Paul incorporates into mealtimes.

Paul and his team are also working on a book with images of each meal, to help residents remember exactly which dish they liked. In addition, we also use plates that are coloured differently to the tablecloths to help avoid confusion, making dinner times easier and more enjoyable.

As Paul puts it: “That’s the attention to detail we take for each person living here. We treat each person as an individual because every person is different”.


If you would like to find out more or book a tour, call us on 01524 566 007 or email us at enquiries@evermorecare.com.

Meet Victoria Danvers, she’s become our port-of-call contact for pretty much everyone here at Ashton Manor as well as our admin aficionado!

Find out what a typical day looks like for Victoria, and how she’s always on hand to provide support wherever it’s needed.

How did you start your career?

I’ve held a number of roles in the hospitality sector since leaving school. After turning my hand to working as an engagement officer, I began working for a training company who specialise in Health and Social Care qualifications. I was the salesperson for Lancashire and so I used to visit all the care homes in the region.

I saw the new Ashton Manor building whilst on a walk one day and was intrigued to see what was happening there so had a look on the Evermore website. I got in touch with Gaye, the Commissioning Director, and after a few chats with her I secured a role in their HR/Admin department. I have a varied background with lots of skills and knowledge, including a great deal of admin management and customer service experience so the role was the perfect fit!

What does a typical day involve for you at Evermore?

There isn’t really a typical day in my role and no two days are the same! I do a lot of HR work which includes recruitment, onboarding new team members, running the payroll and doing all the background checks on staff such as DBS and reference checks.

From an admin perspective, I call all the new enquiries that come in, show visitors around the home and conduct meetings with families to ensure we fully understand the residents’ needs. I also support the other team members with their admin, look after internal communications and ensure all our paperwork is up to date.

Our ‘visiting pod’ has been a wonderful feature through the pandemic, allowing loved ones to visit their relatives in a comfortable and Covid-secure environment. I organise the bookings on behalf of visiting families and make sure it is cleaned and sanitized thoroughly between visits.

I also help to organise activities for the residents which makes the role fun and varied, and I love being part of it!

How do you provide support to residents and their families?

As well as being the go-to person for the team, I’m also the go-to person for residents and their families too which is lovely. Everyone asks for me because I show people around first and then email them all the documentation, so I get to know the resident and their family really well, even before they move into the home.

On moving day I’m there to greet our new residents, show them to their rooms and give them a quick tour so they know where everything is. I also always make time to introduce the residents to their care team, so they become familiar with our friendly faces.

As mentioned before, I also organise all the visiting pod timings so I’m always on hand for questions or if someone wants to know how it works. While doing this, I update the resident’s family about the menus that have been on that week and what activities we’ve been doing. So when relatives come to visit they can talk to their loved ones about what they’ve been up to.

Gaye and I ran a virtual family and friends evening in December which was helpful for everyone. We caught up with the families and updated them on the (Covid-19) testing, vaccines and visiting.

I’m very much a familiar face to the residents and their families! I know all the residents; I know all of their families and they all know me too which is really nice.

How does your role contribute to the smooth running of Ashton Manor?

I contribute to everyone’s role and provide support to anyone who needs it, I’m the first point of contact for the team. It’s great that I’ve built such strong relationships with the team, they really feel as though they can come to me about anything!

What’s been your proudest moment while working for Evermore so far?

Because I started in August, I feel proud to have been part of the Ashton Manor journey, having seen the location go from a building site to a home welcoming our first residents in October. It’s been amazing to see it all come together and have all the staff there too.

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Hopefully some normality! I’m definitely looking forward to welcoming families into the home – when we can – and being able to put on events and activities that families can also get involved in to give it that homely feel. It will be lovely when they can come in and enjoy some afternoon tea with their loved ones to really create more of a buzz around the home – I’m most excited for that!

What’s it like being part of the Evermore team?

It’s nice to work for a business that looks after its people. Syd Coombes, the Managing Director, really cares about the team and their wellbeing and I think that’s a breath of fresh air.

When I started working at Evermore, the home wasn’t completed yet so our small team worked from an office in Lancaster and everyone was so lovely, kind, chatty and helpful which really put me at ease. I would say it’s a very welcoming company with lots of opportunities for personal and professional development.

The values and the ethos are great and you can see that they run throughout the business.


If you would like to find out more or book a tour, call us on 01524 566 007 or email us at enquiries@evermorecare.com.

Here at Evermore, we know that keeping in touch with friends and family is essential for our residents’ happiness, which means supporting them to communicate with their loved ones is an important part of what we do. Here are a few ways we’re helping our Ashton Manor residents to stay connected to the people they care about most.

Our visiting ‘pod’

Having in-person contact with family and friends is incredibly important, which is why the impact of the pandemic restrictions has been so devastating for people living in care homes all over the world.

Our priority is always to keep our residents safe and healthy, but we also know just how vital contact with loved ones is for their wellbeing, so we’ve invested in a new ‘visiting pod’ which allows residents to safely meet visitors in a comfortable and natural setting. Specially designed with non-intrusive glass screens, the pod provides a comfortable location for both residents and their families and is already making a huge difference. Unlike ‘window’ visits, the pod offers a floor-to-ceiling view, a furniture layout that helps families feel like they are together in one room and, particularly important at this time of year, no one is left outside in the cold!

Helping to connect digitally

Connecting digitally has been more important than ever this year, but even when life returns to normal, technology will be valuable for our residents to connect with relatives and friends who live further away or lead busy lives and cannot visit in person regularly.

The older generation may be getting more tech savvy, but we understand that not everyone is an expert WhatsApper or Zoomer! Our team are on hand to support, so whether it’s a quick initial tutorial needed or more in-depth assistance for each call or message, we understand how beneficial it is for our residents to see friendly faces and hear familiar voices. Many of our residents have their own smartphones and tablets, but those who don’t are welcome to use our Evermore iPad to connect with their loved ones.

In the near future, we’ll also be introducing Relatives Gateway, which is an app that will allow residents and their families to securely share messages, photos and a video link. It will also give our carers an efficient way to provide wellbeing updates to loved ones.

Residents’ families can also join us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to keep up-to-date with everything that’s going on at Ashton Manor.

Keeping in touch the traditional way

Many of our residents grew up in a different environment so for those who prefer to keep it traditional, support for phone calls and letter-writing is always on hand too. In fact, we are big fans of old-fashioned mail here at Ashton Manor as we know receiving letters, postcards, and photos that can be kept and treasured is valuable too.  For residents who may be struggling with vision or reading and writing, our team are ready to help.

Understanding every resident

Every resident at Ashton Manor has different preferences and capabilities when it comes to communicating with their friends and family and we make sure we get to know everyone as an individual so we can best help them stay in touch with their loved ones. This forms part of our initial assessment of a resident’s care needs when they first move into the home, and as their needs change over time we are able to adapt with them.

With so many options and things to consider, thinking about choosing a care home for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting and stressful time. We’ve put together some tips and advice to help you with your research.

Understanding the care you need

The first step in choosing a care home is to work out what type of care you need. From specialist nursing or dementia care, to simply a safe and comfortable environment for people who are feeling isolated or need a bit of assistance with day-to-day life, different homes will specialise in different types of care so it’s important to understand what you need.

If you’re choosing a care home for a relative, where it’s possible to do so, have a conversation with them about what’s most important to them – after all this will be their home, possibly for the rest of their life. You may also find it beneficial to involve other close family members or talk to friends who’ve been through a similar process to get their advice.

At Ashton Manor we provide the highest quality residential, nursing, dementia, and respite care and our person-centred approach means we carefully consider each resident’s individual care needs. You can read more about our different types of care here.

What to look for in a home


Many people have strong relationships in their local communities and so choose to stay in the same area to maintain these connections. For others, moving into care presents the opportunity to move closer to family or friends, making it easier for them to visit and provide extra support. The website carehome.co.uk is a great place to start your search for homes in the areas you’re considering.


The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator for care homes in England and undertakes regular inspections to make sure homes are meeting government standards and to identify any areas of concern. As a new home, Ashton Manor was assessed by the CQC before we welcomed our first residents to ensure the building and environment is fit for the purpose intended but we have not yet had our first CQC inspection since opening, which is why you won’t see that information online just yet. (You can find our listing here.)

It’s also a good idea to read reviews of homes from residents and their families. The leading UK care home review website is carehome.co.uk, which has reviews for over 17,000 homes. Again, as Ashton Manor is a new home, only our first residents’ families have been in a position to write a review but we’re been really happy to read the positive comments so far and are sure there will be many more to follow in the future!  You can find our profile here.

Facilities and lifestyle

It’s important that you feel the facilities and activities on offer will make your chosen home a comfortable and enjoyable place to live. From the specifications of the bedrooms and bathrooms to the design of the communal dining and living areas, quality of the food and access to relaxing outside spaces, there are many ways in which homes differ so it’s important to consider what’s most important to you.

You will also want to be confident that life in the home will be enjoyable, with stimulating activities provided in an environment that helps residents to get to know one another and build new friendships.

At Ashton Manor we’ve created a lively and modern place to live and our residents are part of a warm and inclusive community. We organise an interesting schedule of social activities for those who choose to participate. Have a look at our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages to get a feel for life at Ashton Manor.

Understanding fees and funding

Funding care can be one of the most worrying and complex parts of the process so it’s important to be aware of the options available to you while doing your research. Be sure to get a full understanding of the costs of the homes you’re interested in, which care home managers can help you with. You can find more information about funding care here.

Contacting and visiting homes

Once you’ve done your initial research, contact the homes on your shortlist and have a chat with the home manager. You can discuss with them how the home would meet your care needs, fees and the availability of places, to make sure your fundamental needs are met before taking your enquiry further.

Following your initial conversations, if you’re still interested, it’s recommended you make a visit in person so you can see the environment for yourself, meet some of the team and get a feel for what life is like in the home. If possible, visit with the person who will be moving in as it’s important to make sure they’ll feel comfortable there. Age UK have put together this handy checklist of things to consider when choosing a care home, which you may find useful.

If you feel Ashton Manor could be right for you…

If you think Ashton Manor could be the right home for you or your loved one, we’re more than happy to talk to you about life here and answer your questions.

At Evermore our team are here to support you to make an informed decision about what’s right for you, so we also encourage you to come and see Ashton Manor for yourselves. If you’d like to book an appointment, you can email us on enquiries@evermorecare.com or call us on 01524 566 007.