• Grace Care Centre visit Brunel’s SS Great Britain in Bristol

It’s been quite a week in Gloucestershire as we have taken part in the trust wide event ‘I can’t believe it’s a care home’.

The Lakes Care Centre in South Cerney kicked off the week by inviting members of the local community to a coffee morning to help their local school, the Ann Edwards school with their fundraising efforts for a double decker bus library! The following day we were thrilled to welcome in Charlotte Docking, who gave us a masterclass in Tai Chi! It was a great opportunity to wind down and enjoy a relaxing afternoon.

After such a chilled-out time The Lakes welcomed in the Wild Woolly Women – a wonderful local group who deliver workshops on how to spin wool. Our residents were fascinated to see fleeces in their raw form and understand the steps the wool must go through before it can be ready for us to knit with.

Our next activity was circus skills with a local circus skills expert. Our residents were delighted to see him balancing umbrellas on his chin, juggling with skittles and throwing the diablo! We had a super afternoon turning our hands to the circus skills, our residents were to spinning plates and juggling scarves.

As ‘I can’t believe it’s a care home’ week drew to a close, we were happy to welcome in our friend Paul, of Ukulele Piddle. Paul has the ability to fill a room with energy, smiles and laughter. We sang plenty of our old favourite songs, danced around the room and even had a go at playing Paul’s ‘disco uke’! 

The Lakes Care Centre had such a fantastic range of visitors this week; they are lucky to live in a community filled with such creativity, talent and energy.

Paternoster House in Cirencester celebrated ‘I can’t believe it’s a care home’ by hosting a cocktail party. Paternoster residents were keen to take part in cocktail making in memory of Nancy, one of their fellow residents who recently passed away as she was partial to a cocktail or two! Paternoster welcomed Trent from ‘Go Bartender’ to teach them a variety of cocktails. Residents were up at the bar shaking and stirring to make a range of delicious cocktails. Trent said, “It’s great to see the residents having so much fun and to be doing something different, it’s a memorable event for me too”.

The room was decorated in a tropical theme with inflatable flamingos and flower garlands and the residents were all dressed for the occasion. Nancy’s daughter Pauline said, “it’s lovely to see everyone enjoying themselves and tasting the cocktails, mum would have been very pleased” Cocktail making is certainly not something you expect from a care home, but our residents loved it and no doubt there were a few sore heads in the morning!

Monkscroft Care Centre in Cheltenham certainly thought outside of the box for ‘I can’t believe it’s a care home’ by celebrating Chinese New Year and welcomed a wonderful visit from Kui De Tang. First the God of Wealth visited residents on each household offering them a Chinese sweet treat and wishing them good health for the year ahead. This was followed by a mesmerizing Chinese dragon performance which was an exciting and colourful demonstration featuring loud and incredible drumming. The applause at the end was huge, and one resident even gave them a standing ovation. After the performance the Chinese dragon also visited residents in their rooms, and everyone had the opportunity to take lots of photos. It was a great afternoon, and some residents spoke of fond memories of working, or family working and holidaying in China over the years.

Grace Care Centre in Thornbury were happy when the sun decided it would appear to get the week started off with a trip to Brunel’s SS Great Britain in Bristol. A wonderful exhibition was on show demonstrating the life span of the ship and its history. Residents then took the opportunity to board the ship and explore from top to bottom.

This was followed by a visit from ‘Charlie the friendly donkey’, who we must say was a very friendly donkey indeed! The response not from residents, family members and staff was quite brilliant. Charlie was able to meet our residents in the garden of the home whilst they were taking in the sun over an afternoon tea. One resident even took it upon herself to lead Charlie towards the garden, “Come on Charlie – lets go outside and say hi to everyone!”

If a friendly donkey was not enough, how about a visit from a farm!‘Chloe’s Mobile Farm’ spent the afternoon with our residents when they brought a whole array of animals to the home. From Guinea pigs, Goats, Rabbits, Chickens and not forgetting Alpacas, how wonderful it was to see the interaction between our residents and these lovely animals.

Our week was wrapped up with a visit from The New Siblands School students where they have been working with residents to create bird feeders, ‘bulbs’ and other features ready for Spring. We continue to enjoy these weekly visits from the school especially as relationships between residents and students grow.

Chestnut Court in Gloucester enjoyed the campaign in Olympic style with residents from each respected household making up each team. A great turn out for each event was the result of a little friendly competition with residents taking part in various events from ‘slipper slinging’, ‘horse racing’, ‘bowls’ and ‘seated archery’.

The activity team at Chestnut Court worked hard in preparation for these events; bringing the Olympic style and logos to transform the ‘Arena’. Staff of Chestnut Court were happy to see a few good natured rivalries emerge during the competition but mainly happy to see the many smiles of residents faces as well as from the supporting family members.

After the breaking of a few in-house records and some interesting jockey dress ups for the horse racing events, the final day of the closing ceremony saw the presentation of certificates to some delighted household team members.

“What a fantastic idea! Awesome Job!” Said one visiting family member all the way from Canada.

Millbrook Lodge in Gloucester had quite the varied week for the campaign.  Starting the week off feeling good with a pamper afternoon including a chocolate fountain, strawberries and some bubbly!  Residents then chose to take orders and serve their own breakfast and a lunching invitation was sent out and accepted by a local nursery school. The nursery children were a brilliant bunch to come into the home and spend time with residents over lunch, you can only imagine the conversations!

Residents continued the week with some flower arranging and balloon making whilst the sun had come out of hiding which really started to get everyone talking about Spring. One resident decided he wanted to head out and enjoy a meal at his local pub over a nice pint.

The weeks antics were finalised with a Magic show for all residents, family members and staff to enjoy. An amazing week had by all with some strong relationships continuing to blossom.

Residents across Gloucestershire enjoyed every bit of ‘I can’t believe it’s a care home’ week. Well done to all the homes involved.