St Mary's Court Care Home, Braintree, Essex

Top award for Braintree care home chef

By 1st December, 2022 News Comments Off

The head chef at two Braintree care homes has won a prestigious award for the healthy, nutritious and tasty food his team serves up to residents. 

Paul Westall, who conjures up menus to meet the tastes and needs of residents at The New Deanery and St Mary’s Court in Bocking, won the Care Home Chef of the Year Award at the Great British Care Awards, East of England region. 

Paul now goes through to the national finals in March.  

Paul, who has worked at the homes for nearly 14 years, said: “I get great satisfaction from getting things right for our residents and making sure they get the food they like. Some mealtimes we prepare up to 20 different dishes to cater for everyone’s tastes and needs. 

“I like making curries and a few of our residents really like my hot curry and ask for it off menu – but that doesn’t appeal to everyone.” 

Paul and his team regularly chat to residents in the dining rooms to find out what they enjoy and to listen to requests, and Paul chairs the homes’ monthly Residents’ Forums which discuss menus among a range of topics to ensure residents have plenty of choice.  

Andrew Whelan, CEO of Sonnet Care Homes, which runs both homes, said: “Having home-cooked meals they enjoy and choose is part of ensuring each of our residents can live the way they choose.  

“Paul and his team do an amazing job in producing high-quality, balanced menus which make mealtimes a highlight of the day.” 

The award judges described Paul as “a very experienced chef who has taken up the challenge of providing healthy, nutritious and tasty food for residents.”

To find out more about accommodation and respite care at St Mary’s Court Care Home, please call 01376 328600, or visit For more information about The New Deanery, call 01376 558555 or visit

Braintree nursing care home scores top marks in national accreditation

By 8th September, 2022 News Comments Off

A Braintree care home has been shortlisted for national Care Home of the Year after receiving top marks in its latest Gold Standard Framework (GSF) accreditation.

St Mary’s Court Care Home in Bocking is one of just six homes across the country on the shortlist after scoring 60 out of 60 and achieving platinum accreditation from the GSF, which recognises excellent end-of-life care, leadership quality and the dignity and respect afforded to residents.

The 90-bed St Mary’s Court Care Home provides specialist residential care for people with dementia and those who require nursing and end-of-life care.

Joan Sirett, Matron and clinical lead at St Mary’s Court, said: “I am so proud that all of the hard work the team puts into providing dignified end-of-life care for our residents has been recognised by this latest accreditation. We do all we can to ensure the family is looked after as well as their relative who is receiving end-of-life care.”

The Gold Standards Framework (GSF) is an evidence-based, systematic approach to formalising best practice through improving the organisation and co-ordination of care for all people in the final year or so of life.

To qualify for the GSF Quality Hallmark Award, St Mary’s Court undertook an extensive GSF training programme over more than six months, then embedded this into the home over several months. The final stage was a rigorous accreditation process.

Julie Armstrong-Wilson, Chief Operating Officer for the Gold Standards Framework CIC, said:

“St Mary’s Court has been able to demonstrate not only a commitment to care for its residents according to their wishes right up until the end of their lives, but also put in place all of the measures required to ensure that it can actually provide that personalised, compassionate care.”

“St Mary’s Court should be congratulated for achieving platinum status during a difficult time for care homes due to the pandemic, but also sustaining the standard of practice since their first Accreditation 3 years ago.”

The accreditation scheme is recognised by Care England, National Care Forum, National Care Association and Registered Nursing Home Association as well as by Skills for Care as an Excellent Provider.

The GSF scheme is proven to significantly reduce avoidable hospital admissions and demonstrates quality improvement, quality assurance and quality recognition for the homes involved.

The team at St Mary’s Court will find out if they have scooped the Care Home of the Year award in October, after the presentation of the GSF awards.

To find out more about accommodation and respite care at St Mary’s Court Care Home, please call 01376 328600, or visit For more information about the GSF scheme see:

Sonnet Care Homes Matron, Joan Sirett, has been Highly Commended in the PROSPER Awards for Outstanding Leadership.

By 12th July, 2022 News Comments Off

Sonnet Care Homes are proud to announce that our Matron, Joan Sirett, has been Highly Commended in the PROSPER Awards in the category of Outstanding Leadership.

PROSPER is Essex County Council’s independent charity committed to bringing about better health and social care in the UK.

Joan has dedicated her 44-year working life to caring for others. After many years in senior clinical roles within the NHS, she has been Matron for Sonnet Care Homes for the past 11 ½ years. Her role is to support the two Home Managers in delivering exemplary care and clinical standards. In reality she contributes far more than that and is a key member of our leadership team.

The team at Sonnet agreed unanimously that Joan is a perfect example of a lifelong dedication to improving standards of care through exemplary leadership.

The awards took place on 8th July.

Fun as our care homes celebrate Dignity Week

By 17th February, 2022 News Comments Off

Residents and team members at our two care homes in Bocking, near Braintree, held a special Dignity Week to shine a light on dignity and diversity in care. Read More

Care home team go the extra mile to raise over £2,500 on behalf of colleague diagnosed with cancer

By 2nd February, 2022 News Comments Off

Care home staff collectively ran 900 miles across January, raising thousands of pounds towards stem cell transplants on behalf of a colleague diagnosed with blood cancer. Read More

You must be kidding! Christmas cuddles for care home residents from baby goats

By 9th December, 2021 News Comments Off

A special Christmas visit brought joy to care home residents in Braintree when six baby pygmy goats came calling. Read More

Team Sonnet wins coveted COVID award for residential care

By 2nd August, 2021 News Comments Off

St Mary’s Court Dementia care home in Braintree has been announced as the regional ‘Social Care Covid Heroes’ at the East of England Great British Care Awards.

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Care home team members chosen to enjoy a night of glamour

By 6th July, 2021 News Comments Off

Seven excited team members from our Braintree care home have been chosen at random to represent the homes at a glittering awards ceremony and gala dinner. Read More

Eight-hour relay unites community to raise over £1,000 for Covid relief in India

By 17th May, 2021 News Comments Off

Residents from our Braintree care home took part in an eight-hour relay with children and churchgoers from the local community to raise over £1,000 for India as the country grapples with the Covid-19 outbreak. Read More

World War II hero celebrates 100th birthday by meeting great-great-grandnephew for the first time

By 25th March, 2021 News Comments Off

A Women’s Auxiliary Air Force veteran who fixed Spitfires and raised barrage balloons during the blitz has met her great-great-grandnephew for the first time to celebrate her 100th birthday.

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