There is much excitement in the air at Larchwood Care Homes across the country thanks to a new online digital wellbeing platform.

We are proud to have partnered with Oomph! The UK’s leading wellbeing business for older adults, to roll out their Oomph On Demand platform to all of our care homes in England, Wales and Scotland.

Oomph On Demand is a welcome addition to the well-established activity programmes at each of our homes. All Larchwood Care Homes have at least one dedicated activity coordinator organising a varied and engaging wellbeing calendar of events each week.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, our residents would enjoy regular visits from community groups, entertainers and fitness instructors, as well as enjoying day trips in the local area. During the last year, these have sadly been put on hold. However, our teams have been innovating with technology to ensure that our residents continue to do the things they love most.

From touring the world on virtual cruises to hosting virtual Christmas parties with relatives via Zoom, technology has been hugely important in keeping everyone active and entertained during lockdown periods.

A New Way to Stay Active

Following the first lockdown of 2020 the Oomph! team launched their innovative Oomph On Demand wellbeing platform brimming with digital content to further enhance the mind, body and soul of care home residents.

Thanks to our partnership, Larchwood Care residents and care teams have a wealth of interactive quizzes, musical performers, exercise classes, virtual escapes, and history documentaries at their fingertips 24/7.

While Oomph On Demand will be great to assist with group activities on large smart TVs, it can also be accessed on a one-to-one basis on our homes’ activity tablets or residents’ own devices whenever they wish.

The platform also comes with an abundance of training and resources to assist our Larchwood Care teams with their activity planning.

Encouraging Engagement With Technology

Lynn Fearn, managing director of Larchwood Care, said: “The Oomph On Demand platform is an exciting addition to our extensive activity plans for the homes. Also, it helps us to encourage our residents to engage with technology more effectively.

“At a time when inviting people into our homes such as intergenerational groups, dance teachers or entertainers is not possible, these on-demand activities will help in keeping our residents stimulated and active. Our homes are usually a hive of activity so it is important that we look at every way we can to continue to enrich the lives of our residents at this time.”

Ben Allen, chief executive of Oomph Wellness, said: “I am delighted that Oomph! will be partnering with Larchwood Care on the launch of our new digital wellbeing platform – Oomph! On Demand. Oomph! On Demand provides a wide range of expertly created wellbeing content all in one easy to navigate platform. I am so pleased we can offer this resource to care teams and residents at Larchwood Care Homes, that will enhance meaningful engagement 7 days a week.”

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The team at North Shields-based care home Appleby made sure that their residents had a special Valentine’s Day full of cakes, crafts and cheer.

Ahead of the big day, the team at the home on Military Road were keen to share a little Valentine’s joy with classic love song-themed singalongs and craft activities. Residents adored joining in with the love songs while making Valentine’s cards for their loved ones. In other craft sessions, activities centred around creating multi-coloured hearts and cutout Cupids to decorate love poems. These have been proudly on display in the home throughout the week.

On Valentine’s Day morning, the Appleby residents enjoyed opening cards and gifts from their relatives. In line with current infection control guidelines, these had been held in quarantine for 72 hours but still brought an immense amount of joy to all. To ensure that everyone got to share a little love, the home delivered individual boxes of chocolates to each resident’s room.

A Sweet Treat For All

Adding to the sweetness of the day, there were Valentine’s cakes for all to enjoy. To bring the celebrations to a close, the day was rounded off with an interactive Valentine’s-themed quiz via the home’s new ‘Oomph On Demand‘ digital activities platform.

Clare Leonard, Appleby’s home manager said: “We think it is important to celebrate Valentine’s Day with our residents during these unprecedented times. Of course, it is a special day for our residents with partners, but we also wanted to show all of our residents that they are loved. It really was a fun day for our wonderful residents and also a great chance to show our staff how much they are appreciated and loved too.”

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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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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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The residents at North Shields-based Appleby Care Home have enjoyed reading and admiring kind messages and hand-drawn pictures sent to the home by members of the local community.

The team at Appleby Care Home invited members of the public to send postcards to residents as part of a new campaign to help combat social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to the fantastic generosity of everyone that got involved, our residents could not contain their happiness as they spent an afternoon reading through an array of postcards, letters and pictures that were sent to the home.

Engaging with the local community is a vital part of the activities programme at our homes as it not only helps residents to share their personal memories and experiences, but it also helps our residents and staff learn about each other’s lives and interests in more details. Our homes regularly launch campaigns to engage with the community allowing our residents to take part in a variety of different activities and experiences. These have proven extremely popular in recent years.

Community Kindness

Speaking of the postcard campaign, Clare Leonard, home manager at Appleby care home, said: “Because our residents are amongst the most vulnerable in society and we want to ensure their safety and wellbeing during this difficult time, our home has been closed to visitors.

“The campaign has been a wonderful way to keep in touch with people and it was great to see our local community send postcards, letters and even drawings to help keep our residents involved and engaged with the community.”

We are still welcoming letters, pictures, and postcards for our residents. If you would like to join in and send something simply email or post to Appleby Care Home, Military Road, North Shields NE30 2AB


Click here to find out more about Appleby Care Home

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Welcome to the first digital edition of the Larchwood Life Newsletter. With visiting restrictions currently in place at our care homes across the United Kingdom, we believe it is more important than ever to share good news from Larchwood Care’s residents and teams. 

At Larchwood Care, we are working hard to ensure that our residents’ relatives and supporters of our homes can stay in touch with the great things that have been happening to keep life for our residents as normal and fulfilling as possible under difficult circumstances.

In this edition of Larchwood Life, you will discover how technology and social media have become an important part of maintaining contact with loved ones while also combatting loneliness during life in lockdown.

Maintaining High Standards of Care

With routine regulatory inspections on hold due to visiting restrictions, great ratings for Larchwood Care Homes have continued to be reported and celebrated by our teams and residents. In this newsletter, you will be able to read about the fantastic standards achieved in the eyes of the Care Quality Commission and the Care Inspectorate.

This edition also provides an insight into how Larchwood Care has been ensuring the health and safety of our residents and staff by sourcing and distributing appropriate PPE to all of our homes.

Community Kindness

Celebrating the kindness of our communities is another big theme of this publication, demonstrating that the general public’s admiration and appreciation of the social care sector reaches far beyond Thursday evening’s Clap For Our Carers event

On downloading the newsletter you will also discover how events such as VE Day, birthdays, and even a hen do have continued to be made special for our residents thanks to our incredibly caring and creative teams.

You can download the May 2020 edition of the Larchwood Life May 2020 Newsletter by clicking this link.


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Santa has been spreading Christmas cheer to residents, paying a visit to a purpose-built grotto in the garden of the home.

The children of family and friends of Appleby residents and staff have been to meet Father Christmas to tell him what’s on their Christmas wish lists. Next week, before they break up, whole classes of pupils from Percy Main Primary, Collingwood Primary, Redesdale Primary and Whitley Lodge First School will call to meet Santa and enjoy yuletide celebrations with residents.

Clare Leonard, Home Manager at Appleby, said: “We’ve been so lucky that Santa Claus has found the time in his busy schedule to visit us here at Appleby. It’s really important to us, and our residents, that we are part of our local community. Events like this are a fantastic way of helping keep our residents in touch with younger generations and, of course, enjoying the most wonderful time of the year!”

On his visit, Santa said: “Getting out and about, meeting people of all ages and backgrounds is the best part of my job – when my schedule allows! The residents at Appleby and children from SCHOOL have been so welcoming. I’ll certainly be back on Christmas Eve when my sleigh’s been packed.”

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In the season of giving, Appleby Care Home in North Sheilds has issued an appeal, asking members of the public to add its residents to their Christmas card lists.

The care home, on Military Road, has launched the Christmas card campaign to strengthen the home’s sense of community and relationship with the local area. They are also hoping to create a lovely festive display with the cards to add a bit of extra Christmas magic to the home.

As part of the initiative, Appleby Care Home has asked the public to include a short message about their Christmas plans inside the card for the residents to read and discuss.

Margaret Bell, 84, resident at Appleby care home, said: “I’m really looking forward to receiving the cards and I’m particularly eager to hear about everyone’s plans. Everyone has their own traditions at Christmas and it will be great to hear about what everyone is getting up to.”

Clare Leonard, home manager at Appleby care home, said: “Christmas is always a fun time here at Appleby. The home is always full of residents’ friends and families as well as having lots of lovely decoration.

“We are all looking forward to receiving cards from our local community and can’t wait to display them around the home.”

We would be delighted if you could send Christmas cards to:

The Residents

Appleby Care Home

Military Road

North Shields

NE30 2AB

Click here to find out more about Appleby Care Home

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Having a photo taken in Santa’s Sleigh has become a Christmas tradition for the children that walk past Appleby Care Home on their way to school in North Shields. Every December the sleigh appears outside of the front of the home alongside giant reindeers, Christmas trees, and an inflatable Santa.

The Appleby elves have also been hard at work turning the summer house into a magical grotto. In the grotto, Santa’s helpers can be seen busily wrapping presents next to a full-sized fireplace. Children from the local school and their families are invited to visit Santa in his Appleby grotto on Monday 16th of December. A second visit will take place during the residents’ Christmas party on Saturday 21st December.

These annual events help to keep our residents connected with the local community. But more than that, seeing the children full of the excitement of Christmas brings joy to everyone at Appleby.

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Appleby Care Home in North Shields has been praised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following its most recent inspection. Appleby, situated on Military Road, North Shields, has been given an overall rating of ‘Good’ in the latest CQC report.

The CQC judges a care home on its levels of care, responsiveness, safety, effectiveness and leadership and incorporates comments from residents and their relatives. The CQC then produce a report of their findings.

The report highlighted how the feedback received from members of the public was consistently positive about the staff. The team were highly thought of and recognised for their hard work and dedication.

It noted that staff had sufficient time to spend with residents. This meant that care and support remained individual to each resident and did not feel rushed.

One visitor told the CQC representatives: “Staff are helpful, friendly, and there’s always someone around. Very approachable.”

While a relative told them: “Staff do treat [name] with respect and dignity and they are very caring.”

Other comments from the inspectors included:

  • Staff had time to develop meaningful and trusting relationships with people, their families and visitors.
  • Staff were responsive to people’s needs, recognising when people needed support, which was provided in a timely manner and respected people’s privacy and dignity.
  • People and family members were involved in planning care and support.
  • Staff are working with other agencies to provide consistent, effective, timely care; supporting people to live healthier lives, access healthcare services and support.

Clare Leonard, Care Home Manager at Appleby, said: “The CQC’s recognition of the quality of care provided at Appleby and its rating of ‘good’ in all areas is testament to the hard work, dedication, passion and expertise of the staff.

“We all pride ourselves on delivering individualised and person-centred care to enable our residents to have maximum choice and to live as fulfilling a life as possible.

“While we are delighted to have received such a positive inspection, we won’t be resting on our laurels and are always looking at ways to improve.”

Click here to find out more about Appleby Care Home

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