Our latest newsletter for July is here featuring news and events at both The Grove and Castle Farm. Read about the visit from a very cute pirate and musical happenings as well as upcoming events for the month of July.
Lynda has been running craft and quiz sessions at Castle Farm and the Grove for over a year now. The sessions are really popular and have become ‘craft and crack’ as well as craft and quiz sessions – a good opportunity for the residents to meet and socialise.
‘When I first started volunteering at Abbeyfield I asked what people would want. The residents said they wouldn’t mind doing some crafts. And so, because I used to be a Girl Guide, I brought the crafts along and adapted the activities for older people.
What I like volunteering at Abbeyfield is the mix of people. I was used to doing volunteering with children, so it took me a while to get used to older people and also people with a bit of memory loss. You get to adapt, and then once you get to know how people’s minds are working and how people are mobility wise you can adapt a craft and it works out ok.
The advice I would give to people who are thinking about volunteering is – think about what you have to offer, think about how what you can offer can be adapted for older people, and don’t be put off by coming out of your own comfort zone. My comfort zone was children, and I’ve come out of that comfort zone big time! It’s been a challenge for me, but it least it now means I can work with young, old and different abilities. Come out your comfort zone and challenge yourself!’.
Annabel had been volunteering for us at Castle Farm for the last few months. She started by helping to run the monthly Beetle Drive sessions, and she also now comes in to visit two of our residents one evening a week.
Annabel enjoys just having a chat and getting to know the residents better: “It’s a really nice thing to do because people can get lonely sometimes so it’s nice to have a visitor.”
Volunteering at Abbeyfield has helped Annabel improve her confidence; “ It’s is a really good opportunity to increase my confidence as I can be quite shy sometimes. It’s quite interesting having the opportunity to talk to people that I would not normally have the opportunity to talk to. It’s very interesting talking to older people.”
Annabel would definitely recommend volunteering to other young people: “I would say definitely sign up to volunteering as it is really benefits you, even if it’s just for a small amount of time, you can make a really big difference too.”
“Everyone at Abbeyfield is really warm and welcoming and it’s a really nice place. And the residents are very nice too!”
The 22nd May 2018 was a red-letter day for Anne Smith who is a member of our Grove House Committee. Anne received an invitation to celebrate Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales’s, 70th Birthday at Buckingham Palace. Along with members of other organisations of which he is a patron, Anne spent an unforgettable afternoon attending a Royal Garden Party. To make it even more of an occasion, it was Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex’s, first official engagement since her marriage to Prince Harry. ‘It was such a surprise and honour to be invited’ says Anne, who has volunteered with Abbeyfield since Oct 2000.
As well as sitting on The Grove House Committee, Anne is a regular visitor to the home, spending time with our residents whether joining in activities or, just as importantly, having a cup of tea and a chat.
During August our residents enjoyed several outings organised through Tyne and Wear Museums. The two-year Live Well Project works with older adults to remove barriers to the arts and culture. Eighteen of our residents from both Castle Farm and The Grove have so far enjoyed visits to the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead, Segedunum Roman Fort at Wallsend and the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle. Accessible transport was provided and museum staff were on hand at the locations to guide our visitors through the exhibits and answer any questions they had. Our residents were accompanied on the visits by Abbeyfield staff members and volunteers who were on hand to give support where needed.
Another three visits are in the planning stage for the autumn. If you would like to join us please contact Helen, our activities co-ordinator on 0191 285 7174 option 5 by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
To mark National Volunteers Week 2017, we thought we’d profile just a couple of our wonderful volunteers here at Abbeyfield Newcastle.
Paula has been with us as a volunteer since earlier this year, and she runs our Film Club at The Grove where residents can come and watch a film, enjoy some refreshments, and have a film post-show discussion.
“I answered your advert looking for Volunteer for Film Club” says Paula, “and, to be honest, I think the ad really made the difference as it wasn’t something that I would have thought about doing, but the role really appealed to me.” When Paula was little she would often visit older people’s homes with her mum who is a care nurse, and she used to love meeting older people and hearing their life stories. “The residents are really fascinating” she says, “I love hearing their stories, that’s really important.”
Paula is a film academic who is excited about sharing the cinema experience with our residents, and how it can be both mentally stimulating and enjoyable. She’s looking forward to working with residents as they begin to programme for the film club themselves, trying out new films including the classics, but also short films and documentaries. The film club volunteer role came at a real turning point for Paula: “It’s a two-way process: as the residents get something out of it I very much get something out of it too.”
Wilf has been with us as a volunteer since earlier this year, and he helps out in the garden at The Grove. He helps Helios our gardener with keeping our garden in shape, mowing the lawing, watering the plants and making compost.
“It’s lovely here” says Wilf, “the people are really nice and I enjoy talking to older people and their stories. They’ve lived their lives and you can learn a lot from them.”
Wilf started volunteering just to get out of the house. “I enjoy helping people and I would like to work in care. When you come here the residents are interested in life.”
Watch this space for more volunteering at Abbeyfield Newcastle stories at both The Grove and Castle Farm.
Pet month was celebrated in style at both our care homes in May. Our first visitor was Ronnie, the hamster. His owner, Joseph, is Grove Senior Carer Kirsty’s son. Ronnie was particularly fond of Mrs Spoor.
Monty the Maine coon cat, owned by Grove resident daughter Joy, visited a few days later, we thought it was best not to have them both visit at the same, it could have ended badly! Monty, is a big chap but is really laid back and enjoyed being handled and stroked by our residents.
At Castle Farm the ‘pets’ were supplied by Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, who offer an outreach programme to ‘bring the zoo to you’. The handler from Kirkley Hall gave us an informative talk on the several visitors which included a snake and a lizard. Residents were encouraged to handle them and this was taken up enthusiastically.
On Saturday 22nd April residents and staff at The Grove welcomed Mark and Danielle from Wilkinson’s. To celebrate the opening of their new store at Silverlink, Wilkinson’s donated products to the value of £500. The lovely gifts included gloves and watering cans for our newly-formed gardening club, which will help us get handy in the garden over the summer months. Also donated was a selection of bird food for our feathered friends – if they can get there before our cheeky squirrels! Mark and Danielle rounded off their visit with a cup of tea and a chat with our residents.
Burns night was celebrated in style at our Castle Farm and Grove care homes yesterday.
The haggis was ceremoniously piped in and paraded around the room for all to see. At Castle Farm, resident John Forrest made the address and duly stabbed the haggis with his dagger (actually a kitchen knife!) it was then toasted with a wee dram of whisky. The address at The Grove was performed by our CEO, John Connelly followed by Edinburgh-born Grove resident, Donald Allan, who recited some Rabbie Burns.
The piper then took requests and residents enjoyed both traditional Scottish and not so traditional popular songs. The day ended with the singing of Auld Lang Syne and maybe another wee dram!