Larchwood Care, one of the UK’s leading providers of care homes for the elderly, has been shortlisted for the prestigious LaingBuisson Large Residential Care award.

2020 has been a very strange year for everyone, not least for our residents. Our teams have gone to great lengths to keep those in our care safe during the pandemic. In addition, they have done an incredible job in enhancing residents’ wellbeing in the absence of visits from loved ones.

We are delighted that the hard work and dedication of our teams across the country has been recognised with a finalist place for the prestigious LaingBuisson Large Residential Care award! This year, the awards will take place in a virtual format on Thursday 22nd April.

To be shortlisted, entrants must display excellence in residential or nursing care for older people, with a focus on innovation and engagement with service users within a larger organisation.

The key drivers for the nomination were:

  • Larchwood Care’s commitment to supporting staff with training and career progression
  • The use of technology and innovation to ensure the efficient operation of Larchwood Care Homes. With in-house tech products including Care Portal, the IMPaCT Audit system and the HowDidWeDo? feedback app
  • Improvements in regulatory body ratings over the last 4 years. Including CQC scores rising from 41% Good or Outstanding overall to 85% Good or Outstanding

Lynn Fearn, managing director of Larchwood Care, said: “I am very proud that the organisation has been shortlisted for the LaingBuisson Large Residential Care award. This is a very important award and to have been shortlisted as a finalist from the many excellent applicants, is a major achievement in itself.

“As a care provider, we firmly believe that whatever an individual’s means, they deserve to feel safe, be cared for in a dignified and respectful manner and receive that care in as comfortable an environment as possible.

“I look forward to the awards being announced in due course and would like to congratulate everyone at Larchwood Care for getting this far. Without each and every member of staff being as dedicated as they are, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

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Spring has sprung and there is a great deal of optimism in the air at Larchwood Care Homes across the United Kingdom. 

In the months since our last newsletter, there have been some considerable steps forward in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Amid a backdrop of encouraging vaccination rates and emotional reunions with loved ones, our teams have ensured residents remain active, entertained and full of the joys of spring!

Green Shoots of Recovery

In the Spring edition of Larchwood Life, you’ll get a sense of the excitement our residents have for their Covid-19 vaccinations and the step towards normality this has the potential to provide. This excitement was only overshadowed by the introduction of a regular designated visitor for each resident inside our homes in England and Scotland. While our residents in Wales have had to wait a little longer for government guidance, in this issue of the newsletter you’ll get to read about some of our residents’ first emotional reunions.

Sailing into Spring

Our dedicated activity teams have started 2021 with a spring in their step with a wealth of new ways to enhance our residents’ wellbeing. What better way to spend the colder months of the year than seeing the world from the comfort of your own home? From learning Mandarin and experiencing Chinese culture for Chinese New Year to celebrating Australia Day with ‘Bushtucker Trials’ our residents have been reminiscing about their travels and discovering new destinations. The Spring edition of Larchwood Life also shares how one home took its residents on a month-long world cruise without leaving Scotland!

An Exciting New Partnership

While our teams have been working hard to keep residents active and entertained, we appreciate how challenging this can be while unable to welcome our favourite performers, therapy pets, exercise professionals and community groups into our homes. That is why we have partnered with Oomph! the UK’s leading wellbeing business for older adults. The Oomph! on Demand platform allows residents to enjoy exercise classes, entertainers and quizzes at their leisure while providing our activity teams with a wealth of ideas and resources.

Read all of this and more in the Spring 2021 edition of the Larchwood Life Newsletter by clicking here.

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Accrington care home resident Evelyn Corris enjoyed a landmark birthday full of surprises at Hope House.

Evelyn, who lives at the care home in Clayton-le-Moors celebrated her 100th birthday with a surprise performance from a socially distanced singer standing outside in the home’s garden. Evelyn also received a card from the Queen, which she was very excited about!

Now that coronavirus restrictions have eased slightly, and we can welcome a nominated visitor for each resident into the home, Evelyn was able to spend some quality time with her son, Derek Corris.

A ‘fabulous and caring mother’, as described by her son Derek and daughter Jean, Evelyn is a big personality at Hope House and is always keen to participate in the wide variety of activities on offer. Evelyn’s family is very important to her and is a large family; her wider family includes four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

A Wonderful Time Spent Celebrating

Evelyn said: “I’ve had such a wonderful time celebrating with my friends at Hope House. This year was very different as I was unable to see lots of my family like I had hoped, but I was certainly spoilt by all the wonderful staff here who planned a fantastic singing performance just for me.

“I put my long life down to walking as much as possible and eating healthily. I also love spending a lot of time with my family making memories, something that definitely keeps me going!”

Cathy Yates, home manager at the Accrington care home, said: “Evelyn always has a kind word for everyone, and she is a valued member of our Hope House family.

“Evelyn had been looking forward to finally getting her 100th birthday card from the Queen and enjoyed being a deserved centre of attention. All our staff ensured she had the best birthday possible, even inviting a singer to perform just for her from the garden. The sun came out for her party, and she didn’t stop smiling all day!”

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Hope House Care Home in Clayton-le-Moors, Accrington has ensured married couple Patricia and Michael Hill could celebrate Valentine’s Day in a truly romantic style.

Pat and Michael enjoyed a private dining experience at the home to help make the day extra special. They enjoyed a restaurant-style meal in the home’s Oak Room.

Staff at the home decorated the private room with Valentine’s themed decorations including confetti, heart-shaped bunting and rose petals.

Pat and Michael spent their romantic meal sharing memories of their lives together, including memorable adventures in Australia and America.

The couple have been happily married for 42 years and have two sons, Warren and Jason. Michael was in the Royal Navy for many years and later worked at a local engineering firm. Pat worked at Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) in Blackburn, which was a munitions factory specialising in fuse mechanisms for explosives.

A Never-Ending Smile

Pat said: “I had a lovely afternoon for our Valentine’s Day celebration. Ashley, the home’s activities coordinator, made it very special for us both and we would like to thank her for planning such a lovely meal.”

Michael said: “The meal was great! I’m so happy that the home made the afternoon special and the decorations were lovely! It made us both have a never-ending smile, thank you.”

Cathy Yates, home manager at Hope House care home, said: “Valentine’s Day is a special day for all our residents. We always like to make a fuss for everyone, but particularly for couples that live with us like Pat and Michael.

“We wanted to create a restaurant experience in the comfort of the home for them, and I think we did very well to achieve the special treatment we strived for! Both residents couldn’t stop smiling and we were delighted to be a part of it.”

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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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During December, residents at Clayton-le-Moors Care Home, Hope House, were treated to a beautiful festive light display in their garden thanks to the fundraising efforts of a kind member of staff.

For many, one of the best things about the festive period is seeing lots of beautiful Christmas lights and displays. The Hope House residents very much look forward to their annual trips to local garden centres to take in their festivities. Unfortunately this year, due to coronavirus restrictions, our residents weren’t able to do this.

Determined to ensure her residents could continue to enjoy their tradition in some way, Jade Wheatcroft, Hope House’s deputy manager, took on the Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks Challenge. Jade set out to raise enough money for the residents’ fund to create the home’s own winter wonderland in the gardens surrounding the home. After setting out in the pouring rain, Jade completed the challenge, which takes 10 – 12 hours on average, in an impressive 9 hours!

The Big Christmas Switch-On

Not only did Jade smash the challenge, she smashed her fundraising target expectations with an amazing £630 in total. Kind-hearted relatives, team members, local businesses and supporters were all extremely generous. The funds raised enabled the home to create a beautiful display of Christmas lights in the garden. The display featured snowflake projectors, laser lights, 3D light-up reindeers and more! The home was even able to hire a singer for a residents-only light switch-on evening. After the big switch-on, everyone enjoyed a fantastic, outdoor, socially distanced performance of Christmas party classics.

Wrapped up in coats and blankets with warm drinks on hand, some of our braver residents ventured out onto the patio to enjoy the evening. While others watched on through windows from the warmth of inside. Everyone had a lovely time, with plenty of singing along and dancing as Christmas officially arrived at Hope House!

A huge thank you to everyone who sponsored Jade and also to Jade herself for making this dream come true!

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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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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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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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With visiting restrictions in place, our team at Hope House Care Home in Clayton-le-Moors were even more determined to go the extra-mile for resident Kathleen Blakeley’s 101st birthday.

Although the restrictions on visiting our homes are designed to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff members, we understand that it is difficult for our residents and families to be apart on special days, such as birthdays.

To mark her incredible milestone, our staff organised a garden party, complete with party food and socially distanced singer. Throughout the day, Kathleen opened her cards, presents and flowers while being serenaded by some of her favourite songs and enjoying some of her favourite snacks.

On her big day, Kathleen was also surprised by staff members and fellow residents as they wore an array of fancy-dress costumes featuring some of the most iconic celebrities and fashion trends from each decade of her life.

A Remarkable Career in Baking

Kathleen was born in Blackburn in 1919 and began her working life as a baker and confectioner when she was only 14 years old. At her work, she specialised in decorating wedding cakes before later getting married herself. During her 33 years of marriage, she had a daughter and a son before the passing of her husband.

Kathleen also worked as a cook at Blackburn College for 20 years before retiring at the age of 65. Since her retirement, Kathleen has devoted her life to her three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She also enjoys reading and knitting and is rarely seen without a book or knitting needles in her hands at the home.

Kathleen has been described as a “wonderful character” by staff at the care home in Clayton-le-Moors, who couldn’t wait to present her with her cards and flowers on her big day.

Kathleen’s daughter, Patricia Worsley, was thrilled with the gesture and thanked the team for all they had done to make her mother’s birthday so special. Patricia said; “Thank you so much to everyone that took time out of their busy schedules to help my mother enjoy and celebrate her birthday. I can’t thank the carers at Hope House enough for all their help over the past year.”

On behalf of everyone here at Larchwood, we hope you had a wonderful day, Kathleen!


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