Meet the team

Tara Burgess.jpg

Tara Burgess
Registered Manager

Tara is the Registered Manager for both our residential care home Woodroffe Benton House and Ellwood Place, our dementia care home.

She joined us in 2006 after working as an a health care assistant at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

With her health care assistant background, Tara started with us as a care assistant and has worked her way up to become Registered Manager of both of our homes. She is ably supported by her deputies Jenny Groom and Kani Hargreaves.

Tara says what makes our homes special is how well staff and residents know each other and the family atmosphere.

She said: “As a health care assistant in a big hospital there wasn’t a chance to get to know patients, as they came in and went home quite quickly. I prefer to be part of a family and get to know our residents.

“I live five minutes down the road and grew up in this area. Lots of family members work together in the home, including my husband Kim, who is a catering assistant and works in the kitchen with Simon.

“One of our carers, Michelle, works in Ellwood Place while her daughter, Amy, is the Day Centre Co-ordinator. Our activity lady Alison is joined on the staff by her husband Gary, who works in maintenance.

“It gives the home a lovely community and family culture and I think this is what makes us so special. Everyone really cares about what they are doing in their job role.”

Nina Ware Finance Manager

Nina Ware
Chief Financial Officer

Our Chief Financial Officer Nina is one of the longest serving members of the team at Ifield Park.

Born in Dublin in Ireland, Nina moved to Sussex 20 years ago. After working in the financial department for a local solicitor, Nina came on board in 2008.

As the daughter of a care home nurse, excellence in care is something she is passionate about.

She said: “When I was growing up my mum regularly talked about her role as a nurse in a care home. It made me determined to work in a home that offers the best care we can for our residents.

“I often stop and have a chat with our residents and have a good rapport with their families.

“One of the most important parts of my role is helping families to navigate the minefield of funding and making them aware of what help is available to them, whether that’s Government support, insurance policies or individual help and advice.

“Like most staff in the home, I live only a few miles away. I believe we have a very special team here and we have created a homely environment where people trust us with their most precious people – their loved ones.

“We care about our residents and take the time to build and enjoy strong relationships with them.

“One of the most rewarding parts of my job is reading the lovely reviews we are sent by families about care we have provided.

“We want residents to have the best quality of life here. I think my mum would have been proud of what we offer people.”

Simon Walker.jpg

Simon Walker
Catering Manager

Simon joined Ifield Park Care Home in 2018 and brings a wealth of experience and passion for cookery to his role.

Before joining us, Simon worked for the famous Bill’s Kitchen which opened in Lewes, East Sussex in 2001. He was Head Chef there.

The award-winning restaurant chain focuses on using seasonal ingredients in their dishes.

In 2008, Simon was invited on UKTV Food Channel’s cookery programme Market Kitchen to cook Bill’s famous Vegetarian Breakfast in front of the cameras. You can watch him make a delicious guacamole on toast with a hummus and chilli sauce here

He has also worked as a chef for a number of hotels and restaurants and schools.

Simon’s style of cooking is all about taking fresh, local and seasonal produce and turning it into delicious home-made food for our residents and staff. He has a dedicated team of eight chefs working across both of our homes.

Our menus are regularly updated and we listen to what residents love to eat. Look out for favourites such as fried chicken, cottage pie and Sunday roasts followed by traditional steamed sponge puddings, fruit tarts and crumbles.

Simon and his team also bake batches of home-made cakes for families to enjoy when they visit their loved ones in the home.

Simon, who lives five minutes from Ifield Park, said: “Meal times are a special time of day here and there’s nothing better than seeing our residents tuck in.

“I enjoy giving something back to them as so many gave a lot to us over their lives.”