It seems like only yesterday that we opened the doors of our first Martha Trust Home in Hereford. Our aim was to provide the best possible care for young people with profound intellectual and physical disabilities, and Martha Trust has now become an integral part of Community Care in the county.
In 1994 the founding trustees, Sarah & Richard Smith, inspired by their youngest daughter Sophie who has profound disabilities, decided to embark on raising the necessary funds to build a home that would satisfy her future needs and at the same time could provide help for as many families as possible, faced with a similar difficult situation to their own.
After considerable effort and support from the community at large the first Martha Trust home was completed in December 1996 and the first resident arrived in January 1997. Our principles of having no age limit or geographical boundary allows for continuity of care which is so vital for people with profound disabilities and complex needs. We have been full ever since and have 12 lifelong residents and some 14 respite care residents who enjoy life at Martha House.
Over the last 15 years our waiting list grew and parents were telling us that it had become increasingly more difficult to source suitable help and support. Martha House, although able to offer respite care had no lifelong vacancies. The Trustees decided that a second home would help ease the demand and Sophie House was born.
Providing a loving, safe and secure family home environment is the main objective of the Martha Trust, and this concept has been adopted throughout the design of Sophie House. Sophie House therefore has similar facilities to those at Martha House including adjustable height baths and beds, a ceiling mounted hoisting system throughout the building and it's own fully equipped laundry and main kitchen. The therapy centre mirrors the facilities offered at Martha House including a hydroptherapy pool.
Once people became aware that a new home was under construction we started to receive referrals and our first resident moved in on the 1st October 2012. By our first anniversary the home will have it's full complement of 12 lifelong residents and the provision of respite care for several families. Since first opening our doors we have also been able to develop our charitable respite care, which enables families who are unable to get funding to have those holiday breaks that everyone with able bodied children takes for granted.
All in all Martha Trust is a fantastic experience and a wonderful achievement for all those who have so generously given their time and funds. One thing is certain, there are many thousands of families, single parents, foster parents and carers who wish they were lucky enough to have a Home like ours on their own doorstep - somewhere where their son or daughter can be safe for the rest of their lives.
Our Senior Staff
I joined Martha Trust in 2007 as Trust Director. My role involves managing the financial, administrative and personnel aspects of the charity. Martha Trust is unique as we are registered for both children and adults. The charity is funded by the fees which are paid by the purchasers of our services on behalf of the residents. Our fee structure is based on individual needs of each resident so it is a major part of my role to negotiate with the purchasers to secure appropriate fees for each person receiving lifelong or respite care at Martha Trust.
We promote the fact that both Martha House and Sophie House is the residents' home and should therefore reflect a 'homely' atmosphere. Disability is not seen as a barrier to anything at Martha Trust so our residents are involved in various activities throughout the day and enjoy a busy social life.
Home Manager at Sophie House
I joined Martha Trust as a nurse in 2003 working nights at Martha House. When Sophie House opened in October 2012 I transferred to the new home as a night nurse.
In April 2014 I was promoted to Manager, a role which I am enjoying. We have a diverse group of people and together we make a great team.
My main aims as Manager are to be approachable, listen to the staff and act positively.
Director of Care
I am a Registered Nurse with nearly 40 years of clinical and management experience across the NHS and charitable Hospice sector. Reporting directly to the Trust Director and as a member of the Executive Management Team, I am responsible for leading and directing care services, supporting the Registered Managers with regulatory compliance and care standards and regarding complex issues.
I also lead and manage the therapy teams. I am actively involved in the commissioning of our services and work alongside the Deputy Trust Director to promote quality assurance, governance and evidence-based practice. I am responsible to the Board of Trustees and contribute to building a shared vision of the aims, values and culture of the Trust and help to provide vision, direction and leadership to enable the Board to achieve its strategic goals.
Through overarching leadership and high-level management of care services, I contribute to an emphasis on high standards of care and the efficient and effective use of resources. I am passionate about the standards of care, advocacy and staff and family engagement.
Deputy Trust Director
I became Deputy Trust Director in April 2019 having joined Martha Trust Hereford in May 2014 as Quality Assurance Manager. I am responsible for assisting the Trust Director with all aspects of running the Trust including finances, estates, human resources and compliance. I also oversee our annual audit programme.
This ensures that we are monitoring, reviewing, analysing and updating the care we provide in order to constantly improve the service we deliver and provide the highest standards of care to our residents. Before joining the Trust I spent 10 years as a research scientist in academia and public health focusing on physical activity, nutrition and obesity.
Martha Trust is an incredibly special place to work and our aim is to ensure that all our residents lead a happy, active and full life.
Our Board of Trustees
Martha Trust Hereford Limited has five Trustees as follows:-
RICHARD SMITH | CHAIRMAN
Founder of Martha with my wife Sarah. Managing Director of HR Smith Group employing 200 people at our Leominster and Hereford factories. The company is a world leader in Search & Rescue equipment for the Aerospace Industry. Designer of the Chunc Wheelchair, an inovative medical device for disabled young people.
Bill has a financial background having worked for NatWest Bank for 26 years and then setting up his own business, in Leominster, Herefordshire as a Financial Adviser in 2001. He has been a trustee of Martha Trust Hereford since 2005.
Founding Trustee with husband Richard, and mother of Sophie, one of the lifelong residents at Martha and the inspiration for the home! M.Sc in Landscape Ecology, Design and Maintenance which inspires my interest in gardening and the environment. Enjoy travel, reading and current affairs.
Trustee since 1999. Life long friend of Richard & Sarah, having met them both at university in the 1970's. After 5 years commisioned service in the RAF, joined a small independent firm of wine merchants in Newcastle upon Tyne, that he has owned and run since 1996.
SUSAN SMITH | SECRETARY
One of the founding Trustees and Company Secretary. Also the organizer of the Martha Trust charity shop on Commercial Road, Hereford; all donations always welcome.