At Cams Ridge Care Home in Fareham, we strive to make sure that our residents live healthy and active lifestyles.

To help ensure that residents always have access to healthy food and snacks, staff at our Hampshire-based care home have introduced a brand-new soup and smoothie station for residents to enjoy.

Each day at the station, residents are greeted with a freshly cooked pot of soup. They will also find a range of different fruits, vegetables and other tasty ingredients. These are all perfect for making homemade smoothies.

Alongside the healthy snacks, residents are also provided with recipes and guidance on how to make their own healthy food. There are also lots of pictures to provide inspiration for new ideas, should any of the residents decide they want to experiment with different flavours.

Also found within the recipe booklets are tips and advice on a variety of different health issues. These include general health, weight gain and how to manage living with diabetes.

Getting Creative with Flavours

Although at first, many residents were unsure what to expect from the new healthy food station, after having a go at creating their own smoothies, it was clear that the residents could not hide their enjoyment at their new-found activity.

Pat, one of the residents of the care home in Fareham, said: “It was a bit daunting when we first heard about the soup and smoothie station as it was something we hadn’t done before, but once we had a go we all loved it!

“We all enjoy browsing through the recipes books and talking about which flavour we are going to make next.”

At Larchwood Care, we are always looking at new and innovative ways to involve our residents in activities that are stimulating and enjoyable.

Smoothie making is considered a great sensory activity. It involves many different colours, smells, sounds, textures and tastes. In addition, research has also shown that cooking is excellent for cognitive health and development.

Cooking and smoothie making can provide excellent stimulation for a number of different areas of the brain. With benefits for motion control and hand-eye coordination, multi-tasking and concentration skills, and short-term memory.


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At Hope House care home in Accrington, our friendly team work hard to ensure that our residents are able to enjoy events, activities and celebrations that are special to them.

That is why drinks were toasted at the home in Clayton-le-Moors as newlywed bride surprised her grandfather with a outside visit on her wedding day in July.

John Southcott, a resident at Hope House, was visited by his granddaughter, Laura, before she travelled to her wedding reception. John had been unable to attend the wedding ceremony on the day, but Laura was determined to ensure that he did not miss out on celebrating her big day.

While adhering to social distancing rules and wearing the correct PPE, Laura posed for photos in the home’s garden, letting residents admire the detail on her stunning dress.

A Wedding Day Toast

To top off the celebrations, staff members also served up glasses of champagne as a special treat – a fitting way to mark the wonderful occasion.

John said that he was delighted at being able to take pictures of Laura in her dress and expressed his delight at being involved in her special day, even if he was not able to attend in person.

He said: “It felt incredible to see Laura before she got married; she looked absolutely stunning and I felt so proud. I am so glad I still got to see her on her special day.”

On behalf of everyone at Hope House, we hope you had an amazing day, Laura! We wish you and long and happy marriage, and we are already looking forward to welcoming you back to the home to go through all of your amazing wedding pictures when it safe to do so.


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A resident at Blairgowrie-based care home Muirton House has been left in awe after receiving a surprise delivery from his local footballing heroes.

Lifelong Saints fan Stuart McGregor was gifted a signed ball and personalised gift set from St Johnstone, his boyhood club, after being contacted by one of Stuart’s carers at the home.

Stuart’s signed football features signatures from several of his favourite current St Johnstone players, including Michael O’Halloran, David Wotherspoon and Callum Hendry. His gift set also included a St Johnstone water bottle and wallet, both emblazoned with his favourite club’s crest.

Stuart received the gifts after Becky McGregor, a student nurse at the Blairgowrie care home, contacted the club to see whether it would be possible to organise a delivery of gifts as a way of saying thank you to Stuart for being kind and welcoming to her at the home. Becky said that the club were more than happy to help upon receiving her request and she has already expressed hope of possibly being able to organise a visit to the home from some of the St Johnstone players in future when it is safe to do so.

Childhood Heroes

After opening his gifts, Stuart could not hide his delight. He said: “I can’t believe that the club have sent me these gifts. The St Johnstone players have been my heroes since I was a child.”

At Larchwood Care, we have dedicated teams that are always looking for ways to ensure our residents live happy, fulfilled, and meaningful lives.

We work hard to ensure that our residents are able to enjoy their favourite activities no matter whether they enjoy crosswords, gardening or watching their favourite football club in action.

No matter what your team’s colours are, with our diverse range of activities there will always be something to look forward to at our homes!


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Staff at Avonbridge Care Home in Hamilton have surprised their residents by redecorating the walls at the home with a brand-new mural.

The staff decided to create the mural depicting a typical Scottish high-street after overhearing residents talk about their desire to go shopping in the local town centre once lockdown restrictions allow.

The brightly coloured mural features shops, hairdressers, cafés, grocery stores, and even a post office. The staff also included a variety of colourful nature scenes in the mural, such as cherry blossom trees and flowers.

The mural sparked a number of conversations amongst residents about their favourite shops, their favourite high street buildings and the places they’re most looking forward to visiting when restrictions allow.

Familiar Sights

The murals featured at the Care Home in Hamilton are specially designed to bring comfort to those living with dementia. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, these familiar sights have been a welcome addition for everyone.

Moira Buchanan, one of the residents at Avonbridge, said that she thinks the mural is gorgeous. She loves the bright colours and the feeling that she has everything she is used to seeing on her doorstep.

At Larchwood Care, it is important to us that our residents feel connected to the local community, especially during these difficult times. Reminding them about comforts, such as visiting the local shops, is just one example of the ways that our teams go the extra mile to ensure that our residents live happy, fulfilled, and stimulated lives.

Our homes have dedicated activities teams that work hard to create a varied programme featuring our residents’ favourite pastimes. Our teams also endeavour to provide our residents with new opportunities and experiences to find things that they enjoy.


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All bets were off at Highfield Care Home in Canterbury in June as residents made their own hats and fascinators for a Royal Ascot-themed fun day.

Residents at the care home on Bekesbourne Lane, shared their stories about previous visits to the races as they recreated the annual event with the help of activities co-ordinator Claire Handcock.

The eye-catching headwear, which is a main staple of Royal Ascot, stole the show at the care home in Canterbury. With residents spending the afternoon creating their own fantastic fascinators and terrific top hats. During the morning, residents also played a horse racing game using matchsticks as currency.

Each resident began the day with 50 matchsticks each. However, Rita Turner, the outright winner, beat all the odds to finish the day with around 90 per cent of everyone else’s matchsticks. An unbelievable achievement!

All the Thrills and Spills of the Races!

The thrills continued well into the afternoon at Highfield, with residents sitting down to watch the real racing from Ascot on television. Albeit without the usual crowds or a visit from Her Majesty the Queen due to coronavirus restrictions. Although no bets were placed on the afternoon’s racing, plenty of winners were picked by residents. Fun was had going through the runners and riders in the newspaper as residents selected their favourites.

Speaking of her success, Rita Turner said: “I didn’t realise I had such a talent for picking winners. I can’t wait to try my luck at our next bingo game!”

At Larchwood Care, one of our top priorities is to make sure our residents are stimulated and feel involved with the local and wider community. We have dedicated activity teams that work hard to ensure residents have fun, play games and get involved with whatever we’re up to.


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As we head towards Autumn, we are delighted to deliver the latest edition of the Larchwood Life Newsletter. Despite visiting restrictions, our teams have worked hard to ensure our residents have enjoyed a fun-packed summer.

With plenty of sunny days over the last few months, our residents have been able to make the most of our gardens, with many able to welcome loved ones for Safe Outside Visits.

In this edition of Larchwood Life, you will discover how we have been improving many of our outside spaces, keeping residents in touch with local communities and reminiscing with the silver screen.

The Great Outdoors

We love to see our residents relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors. That is why we have been working hard to improve the gardens at Larchwood Care Homes. Residents have enjoyed getting involved in these projects and getting hands-on with the planting. You’ll learn how we have been ensuring these spaces are accessible for all, with sensory elements to enhance the experience for those with dementia.

Getting Creative

At Larchwood Care, we are incredibly proud of the creativity and determination of our teams. Not only has the coronavirus pandemic presented many challenges around keeping residents in touch with loved ones, but it has also meant that we are not able to invite our residents’ favourite entertainers and activity providers into our homes. It has also put a stop to our much-loved outings. In this edition, you’ll discover some of the inventive ways our teams have been able to ensure our residents continue to enjoy their favourite events and activities.

Movie Premieres

On downloading the newsletter you will also learn how the kindness of the local community has helped residents of two of our homes reminisce about happy times at the pictures. Thanks to some very kind donations, residents have enjoyed movie premieres in their own homes.

You can download the Last Summer 2020 edition of the Larchwood Life Newsletter by clicking here.


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At Hope House Care Home in Accrington, our staff are always looking for ways to help residents feel connected to their loved ones.

That is why Sheila O’Connor, a resident at Hope House, recently received a heart-warming gift from one of the team members at the home.

Night carer Charmaine Douglas noticed that Sheila likes to keep a picture of her husband close by when she sleeps. Unfortunately, most mornings the picture would be found on the floor. Upon noticing this, Charmaine had the idea to buy her a custom-made photo pillow so she could stay close to her husband and cuddle up to his picture every night.

Charmaine said: “I have a really close relationship with Sheila and spent many a night shift chatting with her about her husband, so I know how much he means to her.  That gave me the idea for the cushion so she could give him a cuddle every day, which she has throughout since the pandemic.”

Further Gifts From Her ‘Secret Admirer’

Sheila first met her husband Tony while making pans at the Burco factory and, despite her initial claims that she tried to avoid Tony, the pair fell in love and decided to get married. They have remained together for over 48 years.

Even after almost half a century together, the pair are still keen to ensure that the romance doesn’t die out. During the recent period of visiting restrictions, Tony has taken to driving by her window at the care home in Accrington each day to see her. He also regularly sends gifts to Sheila addressed from her ‘secret admirer.’

At Larchwood, our friendly homes are constantly looking at ways to help residents stay connected and keep in touch with their loved ones. Our teams work hard to organise events and activities that stimulate residents, as well as bring back happy memories.

You can watch the moment Sheila was presented with her gift in the video below:

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Residents at St Mary’s Care Home in Scunthorpe have been counting their birdies, pars and bogeys after the home hosted an indoor golf day.

Staff and residents at the home, which is based on Speedwell Crescent, donned their best golf apparel as they enjoyed a friendly competition to celebrate the return of professional golf after the coronavirus outbreak.

Residents spent the afternoon practising their swings, lining up putts and trying their best to hit a hole-in-one. The competition was part of an afternoon activity session at the home. Staff organised the contest using plastic golf clubs designed for use indoors. This was to ensure the great British weather wasn’t able to spoil their day.

Although residents have admitted that they are unlikely to be seen competing in the next Ryder Cup, everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed the friendly competition. There were plenty of smiles around the home during the day too.

Discovering New Skills

Residents said that the afternoon was ‘great fun’. Some even managed to surprise themselves with their natural flair and skills around the green.

Liz, one of the residents at St Mary’s, said: “I’ve never played golf before, but this was really good fun. Quite a few of us played and we all had a great time. In fact, we are already excited about the next one!”

Fellow St Mary’s resident, Mike, said: “I don’t know much about golf, and this was my first time playing, but it was really good fun. I hope that we are able to do it again sometime.”

At St Mary’s, our residents enjoy all types of games and activities. We have a dedicated activity coordinator that helps to organise fun games and exercises for our residents to take part in, ensuring that our residents are always smiling and living life to the fullest.


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Residents at St Mary’s care home in Scunthorpe were served an ace after staff members organised a table tennis competition at the home to celebrate ‘Wimbledon fortnight.’

Residents were determined not to show their disappointment at the cancellation of the iconic Wimbledon Championship. So they spent the afternoon executing backhands and returning serves as part of a friendly competition organised by staff at the home.

Wimbledon, which is a firm favourite at St Mary’s, is normally shown on television at the home each year. However, unfortunately, the cancellation of the championship meant that residents were unable to get their SW19 fix this year. Nevertheless, residents were still keen to show that they were capable of putting on a show themselves. They competed in a number of matches worthy of rivalling some of the greatest games played on Centre Court.

Reigniting Former Passions

After taking part in the competition, one of the residents, Arthur, said: “I used to love playing tennis when I was younger. But I enjoyed the home’s table tennis competition even more! It was brilliant fun playing matches with my friends.”

Fellow St Mary’s resident, Mike, added: “I had never played table tennis before, but I really enjoyed having the opportunity to give it a go. It took a bit of getting used to but it turns out that I am a fairly handy player.”

Table tennis competitions are just one of a number of activities that are organised by our dedicated activity coordinator a St Mary’s Care Home. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to provide activities and events that our residents can look forward to and get involved with during their time at our home.


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We love hearing our residents’ stories at St Mary’s care home in Scunthorpe, and are often surprised by the things we hear. One of our most delightful surprises came when one of our residents announced that they were part of a title-winning professional football team.

Len Sharpe played as a right-back for a number of teams across England’s top professional and semi-professional divisions, but his biggest moment of glory came when he won silverware with his hometown side.

Len signed for Scunthorpe United in May 1950 and played an important role in the side that won the Third Division title in 1957; the first trophy in the club’s history. Len also went on to play for Hull City and Goole Town before returning to Scunthorpe in the late 1960s where he would retire as a player.

However, Len’s long association with football did not stop there and he went on to begin a career as a coach and a manager at several Lincolnshire teams. During his coaching career, Len managed Ashby Institute, Barton Town and later moved on to Brigg Town, where he eventually retired.

“It was the only thing I ever wanted to do”

Reflecting on his time in football, Len said; “I am really proud of my football career. Playing for my hometown club and the team that I supported was the only thing I ever wanted to do. It was very rare to see me without a ball at my feet.”

Len also worked as a fitter for his brother’s firm, Archer & Sharpe, before joining British Steel in his native Scunthorpe.

At St Mary’s Care Home, we are always encouraging residents to share stories and tales about their lives and careers.

Not only are reminiscence activities great ways for residents to share personal memories with their friends, but often they can provide fascinating and unexpected tales.

Len’s story has certainly shown that it is true what they say – ‘you should never judge a book by its cover!’


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