Ravenstone Care Home residents in Droitwich were thrilled to receive beautifully decorated Christmas cards from local children in the run-up to Christmas. 

At a time when digital capabilities are changing how we communicate with one another, our residents love to receive handwritten cards and letters. Thanks to its location in Droitwich town centre, Ravenstone has excellent links with many local community groups and organisations. Under normal circumstances, the home would welcome children from the local Salvation Army pre-school to spend join residents for intergenerational visits. However, during the visiting restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, these have sadly not been able to happen.

Care home residents benefit greatly from interactions with the younger generations. This helps promote social and memory skills, improve mood, and the children can learn a lot too. This is why we are keen to maintain our links with the pre-school from a distance. As you can imagine, our the Ravenstone residents were filled with joy when the children’s handmade letters arrived.

Residents enjoyed seeing all of the wonderful colours and hearing what the children had been doing in the lead up to Christmas. In addition to these cards, another local child took the time to write to each of our residents individually.

The Wonderful Christmas Post

The hand-written Christmas wishes didn’t stop there! Later in December, a batch of cards and letters from volunteers all over the country arrived at the home. Part of ‘The Wonderful Christmas Post’ initiative, each resident received a personalised Christmas card. Not only were they addressed to each resident personally, but the authors also wrote about each residents’ interests too. Messages ranged from discussions about whiskey to a selection of quiz questions for our quiz champion!

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the groups, organisations and volunteers that have thought of our residents this year.

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Residents at Scunthorpe-based St Mary’s Care Home have risen to a festive baking challenge!

Not content with just eating Christmas treats, residents at the care home on Speedwell Crescent decided to have a go at making their own gingerbread biscuits. Although the first round ended up looking more like gingerbread buns, by the second, they had perfected their technique.

St Mary’s resident Dolly Drinkall, said: “I haven’t been able to bake for a long time because I’m blind but Stella and one of the other girls helped me out and I enjoyed it. I was a bit cautious at first, but in the end, I found it very relaxing as Natasha gave me a bit of guidance.”

The Perfect Sweet Treat in a Hurry

Fellow resident, Beryl, added; “It’s been about forty years since I last made these, a long time ago. I have always enjoyed baking especially biscuits. Biscuits are best because they are quick and when you need something sweet in a hurry biscuits fit in nicely.”

In the run-up to Christmas, the St Mary’s residents also whipped up a few batches of mince pies. From stirring the festively fragranced mixture to rolling out the dough, everyone enjoyed getting involved. Later on, the Christmas goodies were served up for afternoon tea.

Residents at the Scunthorpe care home are keen bakers and regularly enjoy creating cakes and biscuits as part of the home’s weekly activity programme. While the actions associated with baking are great for promoting dexterity and coordination, the textures, tastes and smells are great for reminiscing. Particularly at Christmastime, with festive flavours like ginger, lemon peel and allspice, baking activities can bring back fond childhood memories.

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The residents of East Kilbride’s Kingsgate Care Home have been getting creative with Christmas cakes.

Kingsgate is home to some keen bakers, who regularly enjoy taking part in activities fit for the Great British Bake Off marquee! Having made their Christmas cakes in a previous activity session, residents were delighted to turn them into fully-decorated showstoppers just before Christmas. Using a mix of white and coloured icing, our resident bakers created festive scenes featuring snowmen with a selection of colourful scarves.

Made in the traditional way, fed with cognac, and now with beautifully-iced designs, we can’t wait to tuck in soon! With everything from Christmas crafts to Christmas carolling, a few birthdays and Christmas games, we’ve got plenty going on to distract us.

The Perfect Sensory Experience

We pride ourselves on delivering exciting and meaningful hands-on activities, but the Christmas cake sessions held another fantastic benefit for our residents. As Kingsgate Care Home’s activity coordinator, Kathleen explains; “It seems like a very simple activity, but it occurred to me that it’s almost a perfect sensory experience. Touch, taste, smell, seeing the different colours and shapes, reminiscence about Christmases in the past, imagining Christmases to come. Social interaction at its best!”

Kingsgate Care Home runs a packed weekly programme of events and activities for residents to take part in. As well as baking fun, music and movement play a big part in life at the home. You are never far away from a good sing or dance along at Kingsgate. Our team are always willing to take part too! We also tailor our activities to cater for each residents’ individual interests and needs. This ensures that everyone has plenty to enjoy.

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Even though Remembrance Day celebrations were different this year, Droitwich-based care home Ravenstone ensured residents could still commemorate. Paying respects to those who fought for our country, and those that continue to serve in the Armed Forces.

Ravenstone resident John Tarleton received a memorial wreath from his military regiment to ensure he could continue take part in this year’s Remembrance celebrations. John served in the Royal Mechanical Engineers and laid his wreath in the home’s garden.

John requested that the wreath was then taken to Droitwich War Memorial. At the memorial, it was laid by Dylan, the son of carer and Royal British Legion member, Sarah Moore.

With two members of staff also members of the local Royal British Legion branch, the home was in the fortunate position to be able to hold their own socially-distanced Remembrance commemoration complete with the last post for its residents.

Keeping Connections with the Local Community

Wendy Stokoe, home manager at Ravenstone, said: “It has been a very strange year for everyone. However, we have been working hard to help the residents feel included as part of the wider community, as well as feeling safe and stimulated within the home.

“Remembrance Day is incredibly important to many of our residents. Particularly for those who are veterans or who have family members who have served. So we knew we needed to find a way to mark it appropriately, even if we couldn’t visit a public event.

“We gave our residents time and space to reflect and remember and share stories of their own experiences and those of loved ones on this significant day. We hope that next year we will be remembering with family and friends in the community, together again.”

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Although Remembrance Day celebrations were slightly different this year, Ellesmere Port-based care home Whitby House ensured residents and staff were able to continue a fundraising tradition. 

With visiting restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, the home on Pooltown Road wasn’t able to receive its usual supply of poppies to sell on behalf of the Royal British Legion. Remembrance and Armistice Day are important occasions for many of our residents and staff. Some served in the armed forces while others have family connections to service personal, so all at the home were determined to continue their fundraising efforts.

Rising to the challenge, Whitby House resident Pauline Butterworth kindly offered to knit poppies to help raise money for the Royal British Legion instead. Pauline raised £25 for the local branch through the sale of her hand-crafted poppies which were snapped up by staff at Whitby House.

Supporting Veterans in the Local Community

Pauline said: “It was a shame that we couldn’t receive our poppies from the British Legion this year, but I wanted to ensure that we could still raise money.”

“I am a keen knitter, so I picked up my knitting needles and ball of wool and started making lots of poppies that the staff could buy. The funds will be donated to our local Royal British Legion branch, which does wonderful work for veterans in our community.”

Whitby House’s manager, Angela Earlam, said; “Remembrance Day is incredibly important to many of our residents, particularly those who are veterans or where family members have served in the Armed Forces. It was a wonderful idea of Pauline’s to knit the poppies and they looked beautiful; the staff couldn’t wait to buy one from her.”

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A resident at Fareham-based care home Cams Ridge has received a heartwarming amount of birthday cards thanks to a social media appeal.

Ivy Kingswell, a resident of the home on Charlemont Drive, recently turned 105. To help her celebrate during visiting restrictions, her family took to social media to ask kind-hearted members of the public to send Ivy a birthday card. The initial hope was to get 105 cards sent to the home.

Unexpectedly, the post went viral, and was even shared by celebrities such as Arlene Phillips and Keith Lemon! So far, the target of 105 birthday cards has been smashed, with the current total standing at 389. Ivy has received cards from all over the globe, including places like America and the Netherlands. Among the handmade cards and messages of goodwill was a card from a 7-year-old girl who not only shares the same birthday as our Ivy but also shares her name!

Young at Heart

Ivy has one daughter, two grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and five great, great-grandchildren. Ivy trained as a Norland Nannie, looking after high-ranking officials’ children. She also worked in Sainsbury’s Fareham before they discovered she should have retired five years earlier!

Michelle Shann, home manager at Cams Ridge, said: “When Ivy’s family told us about her going viral on social media, we couldn’t quite believe it! Turning 105 is such a special occasion so we made sure that we did everything we could to ensure Ivy celebrated in style.”

“We celebrated with a socially distanced house party and her family joined in on FaceTime. Hopefully, Ivy will receive lots more wonderful cards and we will be able to spend time reading them together at Cams Ridge.”

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The residents of Drayton-based care home Badgers Wood have turned to technology to ensure a Christmas tradition could still go ahead this year.

Under normal circumstances, residents would be joined by their relatives for a pre-Christmas get-together. With that not possible this year, the team at the home decided to organise a Christmas party for residents and to invite their loved ones to join in virtually via Zoom.

Using a big screen in the main lounge, the Badgers Wood residents were able to share the festivities with their relatives, many of whom wore Christmas jumpers and festive headgear to get into the spirit of the occasion. Although it wasn’t quite the same, it really was the next best thing and everyone had a lovely time.

Throughout this year, our team have been working hard to ensure our residents remain safe and continue to live life to the full.

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With Christmas just around the corner, we wanted to take the time to share some news from Larchwood Care Homes across the United Kingdom. 

Following another difficult few months of varying visiting restrictions across all of our homes, we are proud to say that our teams have continued to ensure our residents are well cared for and continue to enjoy fulfilling lives.

Creative Thinking

The creativity of our staff is something that has really shone through during the pandemic. They have worked hard to come up with new things for our residents to enjoy while also adapting old favourites. Summer fundraising events are something we look forward to each year, welcoming relatives and friends into our gardens for fetes and BBQs to raise money for the residents’ fund. While these events have not been able to go ahead this year, our homes have looked to other innovative ways to fundraise. In this newsletter, you’ll read how one home called on some established names from the world of literature and film to help them raise funds.

Remembrance Goes Ahead

Remembrance commemorations are hugely important to many residents in our homes. With the usual remembrance events cancelled across the country this year, Larchwood Care teams put their thinking caps on once again to ensure our residents could continue to mark this occasion in a safe way. From knitting fundraisers to in-home services lead by staff members and stunning handmade memorials, you’ll find out how they ensured remembrance could still go ahead.

Awards and Recognition

We’ve also taken some time to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our Larchwood Care teams with our Staff Recognition Week. A week dedicated to thanking staff for all they have done during this challenging year to keep our residents safe. In this edition, you’ll read how they celebrated and how their hard work has been recognised with a prestigious industry award nomination!

You can download the Autumn/Winter 2020 edition of the Larchwood Life Newsletter by clicking here.

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A resident at White Rose Care Home in New Tredegar was treated to an afternoon of tea and cake by the home on White Rose Way as part of her 105th birthday celebrations in September.

Nellie Dando enjoyed a party planned by the staff at White Rose care home, where she celebrated her special day with fellow residents and her son, Kenneth Dando, who also lives at the home.

Nellie was born in New Tredegar and moved to London as a teenager, she returned to Wales years later to care for her grandmother. She has two sons, Ivor who lives in Australia and Kenneth, a fellow White Rose resident who moved in at the start of the pandemic. Nellie loves knitting and spends most of her day stitching and purling. She also loves singing along to music during activity afternoon sessions!

A Royal Treat

Nellie received lots of lovely gifts and cards from her loved ones but was particularly pleased with the card she received from Her Majesty the Queen.

Staff worked hard to make the day special because the rest of Nellie’s family were unable to visit due to the restrictions in place in Wales at the time.

Nellie said: “I had a lovely time celebrating my birthday at White Rose with the lovely staff and my friends. Although I’m no spring chicken, I’m always up for a party and some cake. It was fantastic!”

Nellie’s son, Kenneth, 83, said: “It was a very nice day. Mum really enjoyed it. It’s very good here and we’d like to thank the staff for being so kind to us.”

Throughout the pandemic, we have remained determined to ensure our residents enjoy the best possible celebration on their birthdays.


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Shoreham-based care home Cavell House has sponsored a group of budding young footballers and helped to kit them out for the 2020/21 football season.

The home on Middle Road has sponsored the Southwick Rangers U11s girls’ team. The team play in the Sussex County women and girls league, in the U11 purple division. Southwick Rangers have used the sponsorship to buy the girls their home football strips, which are a lovely and bright, blue and yellow kit.

Lots of the residents at Cavell House thoroughly enjoy football themselves, whether that be watching it on the TV or playing the sport in their youth. The residents were thrilled to hear the news and support the girls and to help further their balling careers.

Dereck Chatten, 88, was delighted to support the girls. He is a keen football fan who played local grassroots football when he was younger.

He said: “As an ex-footballer and huge football fan, I understand just how much donations and support from local businesses mean to teams like the Southwick Rangers U11s. I wish them the best of luck for their season.”

Supporting Local Organisations

Ilze Careless, Larchwood Care’s regional manager for Cavell House, said: “It is very important to us that we support local organisations where we can, and give back for the support that we regularly receive.

“Many of our residents are huge football fans, and we even have a couple of ex-players at Cavell House, so it was only right that we supported a local club. We chose to support the Southwick Rangers U11s because of their positive attitudes and commitment to the sport.”

At Larchwood Care, we strive to keep our residents connected with their local community. Although this has been more difficult during the coronavirus pandemic, our teams continue to look for new innovative ways to engage with local groups and organisations.


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