It’s just over a month since Ashton Manor welcomed its first residents to their new home. For Gaye Clark, Evermore’s commissioning director, it’s time to take a short breather and reflect on the first few weeks at Lancaster’s newest care home.

“The highlight of the first month has definitely been seeing how this building has now become a home”, says Gaye. “To come in and actually see the home being used for its purpose, with residents relaxing in the lounges, nattering away with each other, watching films together, baking biscuits and even doing chair aerobics, I think that’s really great and it’s exactly what we wanted.”

Gaye has been the beating heart behind this beautiful new home. Involved from the beginning and working alongside the architects and builders, she’s been involved in every element of the design, from the locations of the nursing stations to the shape of the handles on the kitchen cupboards! Living and breathing Ashton Manor for two-and-a-half years, it’s not surprising to hear that Gaye is delighted to finally see the home bustling with life.

“Every single element has exceeded my expectations! We wanted to create a home that our team are proud to work in and our residents are proud to call home, and I believe that’s what we’ve done. We’ve got a home that feels like a home and you can tell instantly that it’s got a nice atmosphere.

“That isn’t something that comes overnight so I’m genuinely over the moon with it and I think everyone involved should be really proud of what we’ve built.”

Gaye’s vision, passion and attention to detail really shine through at Ashton Manor, but it’s not just the specially designed lounge areas, terraces, tearoom, library, cinema room and luxury hotel-style bathrooms, that make Lancaster’s first new care home in 20 years something special.

With a strong focus on the individuals living in the home, the teams caring for residents have been specially chosen to meet differing needs. “Ashton Manor is on three floors and each floor is home to a separate community with different specific care needs. Our teams on the three floors will have different skillsets so they are able to provide the right support for people.

“It’s really important because everybody’s care is totally different and no two people are the same. We look at the person first and then how we can support them with any condition they are living with”, she adds.

Evermore has also invested in the latest care technology at Ashton Manor, including electronic care planning and medication, and electronic nurse call with acoustic monitoring.

“This is very new technology and allows us to observe a person from our care station by monitoring their sound waves”, Gaye explains. “Instead of disturbing someone and waking them up, which could lead to them being confused and at higher risk of falling, we can monitor their sound waves and check on them if they deviate from normal.

“Research shows that if a person gets a good night’s sleep the impact on their day can be huge: they will eat more, they won’t be falling asleep in the daytime, they’re more engaged with their families, more engaged with activities. It allows people a little bit more independence but also makes sure they are safe.”

There’s no arguing that Ashton Manor has opened at a strange time for residents, families and those working in care. To protect residents, new people moving into Ashton Manor do have to quarantine for two weeks when they move in, but staff are able to spend a lot of time with them and help them to settle in. Now, the first residents have ended their quarantine, but access to visitors under current restrictions is still a concern for Gaye and her team.

“Social connection and families are vitally important to our residents so they’re vitally important to us too and we need to facilitate that as best we can. This home should be buzzing with visitors, and it’s very sad this isn’t possible for them right now but we’re doing what we can to keep them busy and keep everyone safe.

“We’re also designing a visitors’ hub as we can’t have visitors coming into the home at the moment. Rather than have a window visit or no visits at all, we’re designing a secure unit so people can still see their loved ones and that is huge.”

Looking further ahead, Gaye is keen for Ashton Manor to become a real hub in the local community. “I don’t want Ashton Manor to be just a care home” she says. “Hopefully we’ll be able to connect with our communities when restrictions allow. I want people to know they can come in and have a cup of tea and chat to us, that members of our community can come and use our hairdressing salon.

“My vision is that we’re not just a care home. It isn’t just about it looking beautiful, it’s about being able to support people and back it up with what we do.’’


Ashton Manor is still welcoming new residents. 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.