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Highmarket House Care Home in Banbury, Oxfordshire

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Jo Pohl

Home Manager

I’m a registered general nurse and worked in hospitals at the start of my career, and then as a community nurse. I moved into care home management in 2002 and joined Care UK in 2013 as a Quality Development Manager. In that role, I supported a group of homes with all aspects of care, quality and lifestyles. I helped with coaching, training, clinical governance and quality assurance. It was very rewarding to bring homes together and share good practice.

I thrive on developing my team and enhancing quality of life for residents. I always feel extremely proud when I hear residents and relatives talking about the positive impact our team has had on their lives.

Outside of work, I like to unwind by painting in the studio in my garden or taking my dog for country walks. I’m also a big fan of musicals so you may find me singing the theme tune to Frozen.

Charlotte Levin

Deputy Manager

I joined Highmarket House in early 2017 before it opened. I’ve always worked in the care sector – before joining the Highmarket House team I worked in domiciliary care. Every day is different in this care home, and you never know what challenge you might be faced with. I’m very proud of the home and the team we’ve created and it’s been an honour to have watched the home develop and change since it opened.

I love providing hands-on care to residents and their families and ensuring that care is fully personalised to residents’ needs. It was a huge career highlight for me to be appointed as the Deputy Manager here. But our successes are down to the strong team we have at Highmarket House.

In my free time I enjoy socialising, going to the gym and fitness classes, and walking my two dogs.

Wendy Cross

Lead Lifestyle Coordinator

I enjoy doing anything that’s craft-related. I absolutely love to sew and make personalized ragdolls in my spare time, and I used to work in a local haberdashery shop before I joined Highmarket House. A friend worked here and suggested the job to me as she thought I’d love it. She was absolutely right, and here I am. I joined the team in 2018.

In this role it’s important to be energetic, caring, patient, flexible and organised.

I love spending time with residents and their families, hearing about their past, the jobs they’ve had and how they used to live. Of course, I love the craft activities that we do too! Looking ahead, I’m looking forward to getting to know the residents and their families, finding activities they enjoy and making residents’ wishes come true.

Sally Parsons

Business Administrator

I knew I wanted to work at Highmarket House as soon as I walked into the home for my interview. It had a fantastic atmosphere and everyone was so welcoming. Before I joined the team here, I worked at the Neurological Rehabilitation Centre in Daventry as HR & Administration Coordinator. 

Working for a large company like Care UK but in a care home like Highmarket House gives you the best of all worlds. You have the support of a big organisation but the home itself works like a big family. I love coming into the home in the morning and meeting one of the residents who always arrives in the café at the same time. We make ourselves a drink, put the radio on and have a chat before getting on with our day. 

Yavor Dimitrov

Head Chef

I’m originally from Bulgaria, where I went to a highly regarded culinary school. I’ve also developed my skills in professional cooking with an NVQ level 3 from Stratford College. I have worked as a chef in various restaurants, hotels and business venues. I joined Care UK in 2017.

I’m passionate about great food and I like to make people happy through food. Care UK gives chefs a chance to be creative and work closely with residents to produce delicious food that they’ll love. One of my favourite parts of the day is when I get to chat to residents and find out what they think of the food. It’s a good opportunity to get new ideas for dishes. 

Outside of work I enjoy fishing and gardening (food-related activities!) as well as, obviously, cooking!

Melissa Harvey Pemberton

Head Housekeeper

I’m an experienced Head Housekeeper, and I joined the Care UK team at Highmarket House in early 2020 because Care UK has a good reputation for quality, and for being focused on the care of residents in its homes.

I get a great sense of satisfaction from seeing the home looking amazing after we’ve cleaned it from top to bottom. I’m determined to ‘do my bit’ to support Highmarket House to achieve an ‘outstanding’ CQC rating, and I’m developing a team with the same focus on quality. With hard work and teamwork, I think we can get there.

Outside of my role at Highmarket House, I enjoy reading and getting away from it all on holiday.

Francesca Cowley

Suite Manager

I started with Care UK as a Team Leader. I’ve also worked as a Unit Manager and as a Home Trainer with another provider. I joined Care UK in mid-2018 because I’d heard good things about the organisation. When I came for my interview I knew I wanted to work here – it felt like home rather than a workplace.

Everyone who works at Highmarket House takes a ‘whole home’ approach to caring for residents. Every colleague and every department pulls together to support residents’ health and wellbeing.

Away from work, I like to spend time with my family – I have two young sons. I like catching up with friends too, and relaxing in my garden.

Rob Bliss


I knew I wanted to work here at Highmarket House from the moment I set foot inside the home for my interview. I immediately felt like one of the family. I love how in this job you know you’re making a difference to a person even from the smallest gesture.

While it’s vital to have the skills to be able to turn my hand to everything my job demands, it’s important to have compassion, a ‘can do’ attitude and to be calm under pressure. Residents and colleagues rely on me to keep the home safe and secure.

Every resident at Highmarket House is treated with dignity and equality. There’s always a lot of smiles and laughter, and that creates a great atmosphere which residents respond well to.

I joined the home in 2020 and I’m looking forward to continuing to build strong working relationships with colleagues, residents and their families and to supporting the home to gain an ‘outstanding’ CQC rating.

Sophie Holmes

Customer Relations Manager

I joined the Highmarket House team in 2018, initially as a Hostess because I was keen to use my customer service experience, gained in the hospitality sector, in a more impactful environment. I thought a care home would be the perfect setting to do this. I quickly moved into a role on Reception and then into this CRM role, which has been very exciting.

In my role it’s important to understand that moving a loved one into a care home is a very big decision for a family. I’m committed to ensuring that the transition is as seamless as possible so it’s a positive experience for everyone. 

I love speaking to prospective new residents and their families and helping them to take the first steps towards choosing a care home. It’s an honour to show people around our home and to introduce them to our fantastic team. I also enjoy working with a variety of people in the home, and outside in the community. Every day is different.

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