Merry Christmas from Abbeyfield Newcastle

As this year draws to a close it is probably a good time to reflect on what has been a good year for our Society. We are in a good place financially and as we speak both homes are full with waiting lists which is encouraging.

However, we do need to be mindful of an ever-changing market place and our position within that market to ensure we are in position to respond. We are always looking at options for future developments so that we remain competitive and to further safeguard our future.

This year saw some great events at both homes and in particular the 25-year anniversary of Castle Farm with the opening of the excellent “new look garden” called the Renton Patio – in recognition of all the hard work from Simon Renton who was instrumental in its’ development.

Christmas has been celebrated already with a dinner at Castle Farm and a party at The Grove with a special visit from the man in the red suit. Everyone is now settling down for a peaceful festive period and a great New Year.

Sadly, we are having to say goodbye, or maybe cheerio, to Claire Murphy-Morgan, our Volunteer Coordinator. Claire is taking up a new role as Operations and Volunteer coordinator for the Comfrey Project in Gateshead. Claire (pictured above) has been with us for 2 years and has done an excellent job in both supporting our volunteers and our Activity coordinator. We all wish Claire all the very best in her new role – and she has promised not to be a stranger!

Can I at this point thank all of our hard-working staff and volunteers for a tremendous year. They make Abbeyfield what it is, and I am extremely grateful for all of their hard work and support, and immensely proud of their efforts.

And finally, the tree is up, lights are on, presents wrapped – all I need to do now is wish everyone a very happy Christmas time and a successful and peaceful New Year.

See you all next year!!

 

John


Castle Farm, Newcastle upon Tyne: Celebrating 25 happy years

It’s been 25 years since Abbeyfield Castle Farm opened its doors in the heart of Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne.  We couldn’t let this important milestone go by without celebration. We were therefore delighted to invite guests to join us in toasting our silver anniversary with a reception and garden party on Saturday 8th September 2018.  It was a time to remember so many who have and continue to be part of making Castle Farm the wonderful place that it is.  It was an opportunity to say a huge thank you to our gardener Simon for all his wonderful work on the garden both over the years and in the run up to the event. 

Lord Mayor Newcastle visits Castle FarmWe were delighted to be joined by the Lord Mayor or Newcastle upon Tyne Councillor David Down and Lady Mayoress Mrs. Barbara Down.  They were greeted at the door by our Chief Executive John, Katie from our House Committee and our current eldest resident Elizabeth (still a youngster at 103!).  The Lord Mayor also unveiled our commemorative collage made by Sharon from our staff team.  Our hairdresser Jan – who has herself been here for 25 years! – formerly opened the buffet by cutting the wonderful cake made by Emma, one of our volunteers.  There was decorations and commemorative bookmarks made by volunteer Lynda and the residents craft group.  Entertainment wad provided by the wonderful St. John’s Singers.  And a great time was had by all.

Here’s to the next 25 years of Castle Farm. Cheers!


Volunteering with Abbeyfield

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!’.


Volunteer Annabel’s Story

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!”

 


Trip to the Palace

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.


MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

Hi Everyone,

It’s that time of year again, doesn’t time fly? So as we end 2017 I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone as we end the year in a positive way. However, this year is tinged with sadness as we have had to say our goodbyes to everyone at Linden Road, which closed its’ doors at the end of June. This decision was taken reluctantly but the legacy of Linden Road will make a positive contribution to our future.

Once again we find ourselves in a good position financially as we approach our year end, and it is once again a testament to everyone’s efforts that we can again be proud of our achievements this year thus far.

Our 5-year plan is continuing to move on at a nice pace and we are considering several new development options as we look to develop our business portfolio which will safeguard our future even further. There have been some delays with the developer at one site but we aim to clarify that position early in the New Year. We are also looking at our Investment options to underpin our position.

Despite a lot of pessimism in the National press about the “State of Care” in the UK, we have managed to maintain good occupancy levels throughout the majority of the year, and pride ourselves on our continued excellent levels of service to our residents. A fact borne out by both Castle Farm and the Grove maintaining their “Good” status after CQC visits earlier in the year.

We have made further positive steps forward this year with regards to Volunteers. We have appointed a new Activities Coordinator – Helen Angel – who has made a big impact with residents, volunteers and staff in creating an ongoing plan enabling our residents to have a very active and diverse program of events. This has enabled Claire – our Volunteer Coordinator –  to focus on managing our volunteers in a more positive way and offering a greater level of support. Helen and Claire’s partnership is working well and we look forward to an interesting year next year. The Staff Liaison committee is continuing to develop and has been instrumental in installing a new staff contract across both homes, and assisted in the implementation of a new staff benefit scheme.

We appointed a new Trustee this year and are still actively looking to strengthen our Executive Committee so that we can meet the challenges ahead more effectively as we move forward.

As ever, I will not finish without thanking all our staff, volunteers and family members who once again have shown commitment, dedication and support to all our residents to ensure they continue to live in a safe, secure and happy environment. All of your involvement is greatly appreciated, as every day you enrich the lives of our most important people – our residents.

With your continued support and commitment, I am sure we will continue to prosper and grow

May we wish you all a Wonderful Christmas and a Prosperous and Peaceful New Year


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 h.angel@abbeyfieldnewcastle.org.uk


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.