Resident’s trip to Laing Gallery

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

National Volunteers Week

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

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.

A visit from Wilkinson’s at the Grove

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 Celebrations

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!

Lest we forget….

As we approach Remembrance Day our thoughts turn to those who sacrificed their lives so we can live in freedom.

All of our residents lived through the Second World War, a few served in our forces, but all experienced that tumultuous time when families and communities were torn apart. Everyone has experienced personal loss and loved ones are missed throughout the year, but at this time it is also an opportunity to thank those who served and survived.

The selling and wearing of poppies is a small way we can thank and support our armed forces.
…..we shall remember.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Abbeyfield newcastle care residents visit Beamish

Last week 25 residents, staff and volunteers from our three homes took a trip to Beamish  Open Air Museum. The trip coincided with Dementia Awareness Week and Abbeyfield had arranged with the museum to exhibit Abbeyfield residents’ Golden Moments art work and bunting.

In advance of the trip residents had taken part in a project, making bunting from images and items from the past ranging from knitting patterns to pieces of material. The bunting brought back many happy memories and provided an opportunity share these with others. Once completed, the bunting was then used to decorate the School House where it was displayed along the length of the corridor.   One classroom was turned into a gallery displaying residents Golden Moments art works and Grove resident Mrs Spoor provided two of her paintings. Abbeyfield residents are very talented.

Individual picnics were supplied by The Grove chef and were enjoyed at long tables reminiscent of a school dinner hall. Although, some couldn’t resist the fish and chips eaten out of newspaper.

After lunch we headed off to the Band Hall where we enjoyed a sing-a-long with children from Ryhope Primary school.  Enjoying old classics like ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and ‘Pack up your troubles’, providing accompaniment with drums, tambourines and maracas!

Despite a little rain a we all had a lovely day out that we just didn’t want to end, though even that became fun for some of us by taking the vintage bus or the tram to our own coach while others enjoying a leisurely stroll.

As we arrived home to Abbeyfield there was a feeling of satisfied weariness all round, a lovely day having been had by all!

The Garden Project at The Grove is coming along in leaps and bounds

Abbeyfield garden project

Now that the hard landscaping is finished we are beginning to plant the raised beds with the help of our residents. The paving replaces an unused section of lawn which residents had difficulty walking on and is visible from both our conservatory and sunrooms so can be enjoyed even when the weather isn’t so good.

We have planted up the Alpine, Heather and Seaside Beds with help, or supervision, from several residents. I hope you agree they are looking great.  We are visiting our local garden centre next week so residents can choose plants that they have a particular fondness for, then on their return they can plant them in the fourth bed. We are filling lots of pots with lilies, lavender and other colourful and fragrant plants. These can be moved around to give variety to the space.

The potatoes and herb trug have been planted and next week we will sow our salad and bean seeds to be raised in our small greenhouses at first until the frosts have gone.

It is a big project but everyone is very enthusiastic and having a great time.

Once all the beds and pots are planted we plan a grand opening. Watch this space for details.