News & Events

***Important Dates for your Diary***

Saturday 22nd June - Birling House Summer Party

Saturday 29th June - Frindsbury House Summer Party 



Christmas Celebrations 2023

The staff at both Frindsbury House and Birling House worked extra hard this year to ensure Christmas was one to remember for our residents.  The celebrations included the annual Christmas parties that were well attended by staff and family members.  The festivities also included panto, visits from Santa and his elves, and the ever popular Christmas Jumper Day to raise money for Save the Children.  We also had several Christmas singalongs with our regular musical therapist Neil Frost and lots of Christmas shopping trips.   

Everyone at the Mortimer Society had a great Christmas and would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year for 2024.





St Laurence Church Hawkhurst Christmas Tree Festival 2023

Once again St Laurence Church in Hawkhurst hosted its Bi-Annual Christmas Tree Festival and as customary now a tree was entered on behalf of the Mortimer Society by Trustee, Keith Lagden and his wife Kate, in memory of their late daughter In law Laura who passed away back in August 2018.

Kate is joint organizer of the event that has become a firm favourite in the village calendar!  This year we were delighted to receive a substantial array of different decorations made by residents at Frindsbury House.  The tree was duly covered in the lovely festive decorations which can be seen in all their splendour in the photo below.

This year a visit was made by three residents who had all contributed to the effort.  Keith & Kate were delighted to welcome them along with four fabulous staff to enjoy the event.

It appears that the journey over was full of laughter and frivolity.  During their two hour visit a lot of fun and laughter was had by the whole group.  Drinks and delicious cakes were enjoyed by all and some lovely Christmas gifts were purchased by the residents.  After buying tickets for the raffle there was much hope of winnings appearing at Frindsbury House soon.  Sadly none of the tickets produced any winners.  Better luck next festival!

It was a wonderful way to enjoy a different type of trip out.  Everyone at St Laurence were thrilled to welcome their guests to the event.  A special thank you to the smashing staff members who helped to make this a very memorable afternoon, along with Amanda for organising it!



Lower Bush Alpacas Visit, 19 July 2023

July has been a very busy month at Birling House, we had our second visit from Lower Bush Alpacas.  All of our residents loved meeting and feeding the alpacas who were very polite house guests, although they did munch their way through our roses.




Birthday Celebrations with Fred Clark, 16 July 2023

In July we had an afternoon with local musician Fred Clark to help us celebrate some special birthdays.  Fred works with a lot of care homes, and has a unique talent for getting everyone involved in his songs, making them feel special.  Fred is a regular at Birling House and he really brightens up our residents' days with his acoustic mix of modern music and golden oldies.




Bird of Prey Visit, 14th July 2023

The residents of Birling House had a lovely visit from Joe's Bows of the Kent Falconry Centre.  The residents had an engaging experience with the birds of prey and got to handle the birds and see them in flight.  The staff at Joe's Bows were incredibly knowledgeable and were able to answer even the most elaborate of questions.  We look forward to them visiting again with some of their new arrivals.


Person Centred Activities Spring 2023, a message from Denise Hill, Activities Coordinator at Birling House

As a person centred care home we do our upmost to fulfil our resident's wishes, whether it is arranging places they would like to visit or any activities they would like to try.  One of our residents has always wanted to go skiing.  We looked into this for him and made a safe decision to visit Capstone Park ski slopes where he thoroughly enjoyed the toboggan run and a hot chocolate in the apres ski lodge.

Two of our other residents are football enthusiasts and opted for trips to see their favourite teams.  While one went to see a Milwall home game, the other was lucky enough to visit the Westham Stadium with his best friend and son, and meet some of the players.  It is fair to say long lasting memories were created on these trips.

As Activities Coordinator at Birling House, myself and my team, along with all of the care staff always go the extra mile for our residents, whether it is a trip out, rainy day karaoke or just making someone smile.



We Must be Quackers! 27th March 2023

Each Spring we look forward to the arrival of our duck eggs from The Incredible Egg Company.  This is an event that is highly anticipated all year, as we all eagerly wait for the first egg to crack.  The residents love watching the ducklings hatch and grow.  They especially enjoy holding them and watching them swim and clean themselves.  It is always a sad time saying goodbye as they feel like they are part of the family after 10days.


Visit from Petaholics 24th February 2023

We recently enjoyed a visit from our local pet shop, Petaholics.  They brought in a variety of reptiles and other pets to show us, and taught the residents all about them and how they are cared for.  Most of the residents were able to hold them and observe them closely, some conquering their fears, especially when they brought out a huge hairy tarantula.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the visit.



Christmas Celebrations at Birling House 2022

The residents and staff at Birling House celebrated Christmas in style this year with several festive events including trips to the Panto, a Christmas sing-a-long and a party with family and friends.  For many of the residents, the highlight this year was their visit from Santa that made Christmas Day extra special.  The staff at Birling House worked really hard to make sure everyone had a magical Christmas, and took part in Christmas Jumper Day and Elf Day raising money for charity.  Everyone at the home had a great Christmas and would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year for 2023.



The Mortimer Society Sustainability Review Update

Due to the negative effects of global climate change and an increasing awareness of inequality amongst this generation of consumers, sustainability has become the most important issue facing humanity today.

As governments around the world sign up for challenging environmental commitments, so transparency in reporting continues to increase in importance.  While, currently, most sustainability reporting is voluntary for most organisations, in the future, inevitably, it will become a legal requirement.

Over the past 30 years, the number of companies that report on Environmental and Social sustainability has increased steadily.  Charities are no different in wanting to ensure that they follow good guidance and practice and so the Board of Trustees of The Mortimer Society have decided to carry out a full and comprehensive review of all their operations.  Our aim is to ensure that wherever possible, Environmental and Social Governance principles have been considered and applied.  This will place environmental sustainability at the forefront of our future plans for both homes.

In due course we shall publish our review along with an Action Plan to detail any changes being made.  This will be updated regularly to ensure that as new options occur, we can implement better outcomes for both the homes and the environment.



Mortimer Society comments on the Health and Social Care Committee Expert Panel's Report on Social Care

On the 25th July 2022, the Expert Panel of the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee published a report on the progress of commitments made by the government to address the many challenges faced by the NHS and Social Care providers, like the Mortimer Society, have in recruiting and retaining their workforce.  The Mortimer Society have submitted evidence to this Panel. 

The Expert panel (which is impartial) was led by Professor Dame Jane Dacre DBE and acknowledged that the current situation in planning, recruitment and retention of the workforce had made inadequate progress as responses to the panel confirmed.

*To read the Mortimer Society's comments on the HSCC Expert Panel Report please select this link.


Local MP Tracey Crouch welcomed to Birling House

On Friday 10th June, the Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford Tracey Crouch was warmly welcomed to Birling House.  She had been invited by the Trustees to strengthen our campaign to raise awareness of the challenging issues the Society faces, as a specialist provider of care for younger adults.  The needs of our residents living with debilitating neurological conditions unfortunately increase over time but funding has often failed to keep up.  Other challenges included staff recruitment and retention and the soaring cost of living, especially for energy.  Dr David Oliver (Chair of Trustees) gave some background information about HD and the long term nature of the condition and increasing needs.  Three other trustees present all had relatives who had been residents or are currently being cared for by the society now, so were able to give their perspective too.  Ms Crouch was able to make some very positive suggestions for action which will be followed up by the CEO and Trustees as soon as possible.  All those attending the meeting agreed that it was an extremely positive experience for us, with ideas for future action, problem solving and raising our profile.

Finally, Ms Crouch was given a tour of Birling House led by Mrs Tracey Edwards (Manager) and Mr Paul Studd our CEO, who organised the fantastic conversion and refurbishment of three ensuite bedrooms on the top floor.  These rooms are now already occupied with very happy residents.  Most importantly, a new lift has been installed which is big enough to hold a stretcher and meets the needs of everyone living and working at Birling House in the 21st Century.  As the pictures show, everyone present was very happy to see the lift officially opened and this will have a lasting, positive impact on everyone at Birling House.



A Royal Knees Up!

The residents and staff at Birling House thoroughly enjoyed the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.  The celebrations included afternoon tea, royal bingo, a quiz and a garden party that was a huge success.  We were treated to a performance from local Swing Singer, Chris Gillard.  Chris transported us into the past, the residents enjoyed songs from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.  The afternoon was completed with Chris singing Sweet Caroline, a favourite for everyone at Birling House.  The Jubilee Celebrations was a real team effort, and everyone worked really hard to ensure the residents enjoyed the long weekend.



Mayor of Medway is welcomed to Frindsbury House

On Monday 23rd May, The Mayor of Medway, Councillor Jan Aldous visited Frindsbury House and was welcomed by Dr David Oliver (Chair of Trustees) Mr Paul Studd (CEO of the Mortimer Society) and Mrs Tracey Edwards who is the Registered Manager of both homes. The visit was rescheduled twice due to covid restrictions and we were really happy that Councillor Aldous’ visit was finally able to take place. The meeting began with coffee and a chance for a discussion focusing on the challenges which specialist care homes like Frindsbury and Birling House have faced during the pandemic. This included the current rise in the cost of living, and the continuing recruitment crisis in the care sector. She was able to give some very helpful advice and listened to the concerns we have as a specialist provider of caring for working age people living with debilitating neurological conditions.

Councillor Aldous was then given a tour of the house and was able to see the facilities provided for our residents including the day lounges, gardens and Activities suite where the staff were supporting residents engaged in a variety of activities. Her visit and advice was much appreciated by everyone at Frindsbury House.


Residents Thrilled to Welcome Alpacas to Frindsbury House

The Activity teams at The Mortimer Society are always looking for new experiences to involve and engage the residents.  On Wednesday 20th April, Frindsbury House had an exciting visit from the Orion Tree farm team who travelled down from Nottingham to visit the home.  The two alpacas were brought in by their owners who explained to everyone what they liked to eat and what they needed to keep them happy.  The alpacas were led around the garden and onto the patio, visiting and spending time with every resident possible.  Residents were allowed to feed and stroke them too.  According to Lee "They were very well behaved!" and Michael said "They were gorgeous!"  The visit was enjoyed by everyone, and the residents at Birling House are looking forward to meeting them soon as well.



Horsing Around

As Covid restrictions ease and we return to some form of normality, the residents at Birling House can once again take part in some of their favourite activities.  This week some of our residents went Horse Grooming with TEAL (Therapeutic Equines Assisting Learning).  Based in the Kent countryside, the horses and staff at TEAL are specially trained to assist people with a range of disabilities.  Our residents spent time grooming the horses, walking them, feeding them and were even able to show off their creative skills by painting the horses with a special brush off paint.  Our residents gain a lot from this experience, not only does it help to improve their fine and gross motor skills, it also helps them to build their confidence and self-esteem.




Councillors Welcomed to Frindsbury House

As you will have seen across the media, Social Care has come under unprecedented pressure from funding cuts and a serious shortage of care staff, across all areas of need within the system.  However, the specific issues at Birling and Frindsbury House, where we care mainly for people living with long term neurological conditions, have not so far been highlighted and we have felt under represented and in need of raising our profile within Medway Council.  Our residents come into our care at a much younger age and have increasing needs throughout their lives.  This requires highly skilled staff to manage and support their care.

On Wednesday 1st December, David Oliver (Chair of Trustees) and representatives of the Board of Trustees, were very pleased to welcome Medway Councillors Elizabeth Turpin and John Williams, both representing the Strood Rural area to Frindsbury House.  The purpose of the visit was to highlight and discuss the Society's specific issues and difficulties being experienced.  These included the crisis in the recruitment and retention of care staff, but also on access to funding as our residents needs increase.  The incorrect public perception of Caring as an unskilled occupation was also discussed, when actually carers have to be highly trained in order to manage the complex needs of residents in their care.  Trustees also explained how a mismatch of funding, which happens if appropriate increases are not made, could threaten the long term financial security of the Society.  Mrs Turpin was able to offer some practical advice towards problem solving this issue, which was enormously encouraging and well received.  Possible links were also suggested with other areas of the local community which will now be explored.  A tour of the house, facilities, gardens and social areas completed the very positive visit.  The Trustees felt that a very important link has now been established with the local councillors, which can now be built on.  A very positive outcome for the Mortimer Society and thanks to both Mrs Turpin and Mr Williams for taking the time to visit us at Frindsbury House.


Halloween Celebrations at Frindsbury House 

Residents and staff members at Frindsbury House in Wainscott, enjoyed a Halloween Party Spectacular last Sunday afternoon with music, dancing and cake!  Frindsbury House is one of two homes run by The Mortimer Society Charity and caters for people living with debilitating neurological conditions like Huntington's disease.  The party was planned by the Activities Team who organise art, music and entertainment for the residents to enjoy.  The residents decorated hats and the staff members decorated the Halloween party room and made it look amazing.  A Halloween cake and creepy cupcakes also went down well.  The music was provided by Neil who delivers our Music Therapy sessions for the residents every Tuesday afternoon.  He really knows everyone's musical tastes so the party was a huge success.  Everyone is now looking forward to the next celebration at Christmas. 




Halloween Celebrations at Birling House 

Birling House also celebrated Halloween in style.  The Activities Team made sure that the party was a 'screaming' success and that everyone enjoyed a trick and a treat.  Many of the decorations were made by our residents, as Art Therapy plays a large part of their daily activities.  The entertainment was provided by Neil from Musik Matters, and both staff and residents dressed up for the occasion.  The kitchen staff provided spooky snacks for all to enjoy which included tangfastic jelly and creepy mud cakes.  

If you're looking for a new challenge and have been considering a career in the Care sector, more information can be found on our website.





A Guide to Music Therapy at Birling House and Frindsbury House

The Mortimer Society offers Music Therapy to our residents in both homes on a weekly basis.  It plays a very important role by encouraging people to involve themselves socially with their peers, sharing memories invoked and guided by the therapist.

During the sessions gentle exercise is encouraged through the use of hand held percussion instruments, this can aid and help dexterity and hand eye coordination.  The sessions are led by Neil Frost music therapist from Musik Matters.  Neil has been carrying out music therapy in both homes for many years and knows all our residents.  

Another important aspect in relation to Huntington's disease is the encouragement of vocal interactions through discussion and singing, motivating the service user to vocalise and sustain word formation and vocal involvement.  There is some evidence to suggest that singing can also help maintain vocal control and help the muscles that are also used in swallowing, which are effected by the disease.

The increased feelings of wellbeing and shared enjoyment is also good for raising self-esteem and promotes general happiness.  Regular social events where music is the focus are also used in both homes and form the knowledge gained in the music therapy groups.  This provides a more personalised experience where individual's favourite songs are remembered and played.

Music Matters has worked with the service users at the Mortimer Society for over twenty years and it has been a real privilege witnessing the benefits that music has made.



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