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Behind the Scenes

Mark Gale

Mark Gale



There’s a vast team working all year round at McCarthy & Stone to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here we talk to three of them…

Lorraine O’Neil is Customer Services Manager for the North East region. She helps homeowners to move into their apartments and makes sure everything runs smoothly.

We want the best for homeowners 

I cover from Sheffield to Northumberland and Carlisle, and everywhere in between, so I travel a lot. Before homeowners move in, I inspect every apartment, and visit new developments to meet new homeowners and offer our support. I also go to visit people who have been moved in for a few weeks to ensure they are happy and have settled into their new home. Working closely with the House Managers, I help iron out any problems. I’ve unpacked boxes for homeowners, made them a cuppa, or just been there to explain how things work. I help make sure people feel right at home. 

We’re a helping hand

Sometimes the moving process can be stressful, and you need to be sensitive to that. Some people have never done anything like this on their own before and they can feel vulnerable, so we give what help and support we can. I’ve just been talking to a lady who said she didn’t realise how lonely she had been, living alone in her bungalow, until she came to her new apartment at McCarthy & Stone. She has made so many friends now, and feels as though a new and much happier chapter of her life has begun.

A great team

It’s so rewarding working with the homeowners and with such a fantastic team. The level of customer service at McCarthy & Stone is excellent, which makes my job so enjoyable because I know I have the back-up every time.  

Michelle Zoe Leggett has been House Manager at Carrick Court in Hampshire since it opened last year. She writes a blog about life there.

Every day is different

I started working at Carrick Court when it was being completed and then welcomed the wonderful mix of homeowners we have living here. There are 27 apartments, and we have about an equal number of men and women. We all really gel. My office is just by the lounge, so I’m always on hand if anyone wants a chat. The homeowners here know how to have a good time. Yesterday’s coffee morning went on until 4pm! Then it was afternoon tea, then the Pimm’s came out, and a group of homeowners went off for a Chinese. We also have a craft room, film nights every Thursday, fish and chip suppers and lots of trips and outings, so there’s never a dull moment. 

We’re like a family

Every homeowner brings with them their own skills and contributes to the community of Carrick Court. We have one homeowner who still works, others busy themselves in the gardens or help organise social events. There’s such a diverse bunch of people living here, it’s like a little cruise ship. We even have our own Carrick Court dog, Tara, a beautiful retriever/collie cross belonging to Eric and Inga Silverberg. She’s good therapy for any of our residents who need a cuddle or a stroke. She’s part of who we are. 

I’m here for the homeowners

My job is to help bring out everyone’s strengths. Homeowners may be retired, but they still have the ability to draw on their wise and innovative brains. People need privacy, so the support I give is respectful of that, but I look out for people who may need a bit more help. I’ll sort out tickets for the theatre, arrange new fittings for their flats, or do whatever is needed. 

I write about it

We have so many laughs here, and such interesting conversations, so I started writing about it in a blog. Because we’re near Portsmouth, we have some ex-Navy homeowners and they have some great stories – everything from Suez to gun runs, it’s fascinating. I’ve been putting together some of their memories for us all to share. 

I love my job

This is such a great job. I love the laughter and the wisdom that comes from the homeowners. I was really touched when they threw me a surprise birthday party – they’d all made dishes. It’s such a great place to live and work. 

Andrew King is Customer Services Manager for the South West region, covering South Wales and South Gloucestershire to Bristol, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. 

Standards are high

I've been here over a year and it's a pleasure to work in a company where I get such great support from all the senior staff. Everyone's aim is to provide excellent customer service; it's woven through the management here. And the proof is in the satisfaction scores – well over 90 per cent of our customers say they’d recommend buying a McCarthy & Stone apartment to a friend.  

We make moving in easy

I make sure that our homeowners are satisfied from the moment they walk into the sales office until they move into their own McCarthy & Stone apartment. I meet the homeowners before they move in, so if they have any concerns, I can reassure them. We offer our Smooth Move service to take the hassle out of moving. Everything is taken care of, from all the organisation to packing up and unpacking. It really helps to take the stress away.

I love seeing homeowners’ reactions

Meeting the homeowners, hearing their life stories and finding out the difference we can make at McCarthy & Stone is very rewarding. You can see the excitement on people’s faces when they walk into their beautiful new apartment. That’s great. 

Image credits: Main photo: Abbas Muffadal; photo of Michelle Zoe Leggett: Peter Smith

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