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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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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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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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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Residents of St Mary’s Care Home in Scunthorpe marked the most romantic day of the year with Valentine’s themed crafts, live music, and a Valentine’s Day party.

The home runs regular arts and crafts sessions, and residents particularly enjoy using these to create decorations for events in the home. In the run-up to 14th February, residents were busy creating beautiful table centres using sparkly materials in the classic romantic colours of red and pink.

Our activities team have a wealth of decorations, banners, and bunting for various holidays and events, which residents love to decorate the home with. They spent a morning carefully placing ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ banners and heart-shaped bunting around the home ready for our Valentine’s Day party.

Renee, a resident of St Mary’s, said; “I like sorting out the decorations because it gets me excited about whatever is happening.”

While helping dress the home, Margaret, a fellow resident, added; “I’m looking forward to the party tomorrow.”

Live Music and Love Songs

On the big day, a crowd gathered in the lounge to watch local singer Kennie J perform. He sang a mix of classic songs, with a few love songs thrown in to add to the Valentine’s Day mood.

Another of our residents, Mary, commented; “I really like his style. He does quite a mixture so there is something for everyone.”

Fellow St Mary’s resident Jean said; ‘He did one of my Roy’s favourites, ‘Sweet Caroline’ and lots of other love songs.”

“I had a wonderful time and I have invited him back. I hope he accepts,” added one of our newest residents, Irene.

At St Mary’s Care Home, we love to help our residents celebrate festivals, events, and special days, and work to ensure that we do so in a way that is inclusive for everyone.


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Residents of St Mary’s Care Home in Scunthorpe have welcomed the Year of the Rat with a special Chinese New Year feast.

Staff at the home often theme food and activities around national days and holidays to give residents the opportunity to learn about different cultures and celebrations from around the world.

The team decorated the home with paper lanterns, traditional Chinese dragon artwork, and banners displaying the Chinese characters for ‘Year of the Rat.’

At lunchtime, residents enjoyed a celebratory feast of vegetable spring rolls, sweet and sour chicken with rice, and pineapple rings with ice cream for dessert.

Jean, a resident at St Mary’s Care Home, said; “The meal was very good. I enjoy Chinese food so it was a nice surprise.”

Fellow resident John said; “I had a good time and can’t wait for something else to happen, it’s my birthday this week and a singer is coming so that will be good.”

Experiencing New Cultures and Sharing Memories

Including celebrations from around the world in our activities programme not only helps residents to discover new cultures and flavours, but it can also help them to reminisce about their own experiences of those cultures. Sharing these personal memories and experiences can add a powerful extra dimension to activities. Personal stories also help residents and staff learn more about each other’s lives and interests.

With reference to this event, Mary Ann, another resident of St Mary’s Care Home, said; “I love real Chinese food. I got a taste for it when I spent five years there in my twenties. I travelled all over and would recommend it to everyone. The decorations were quite realistic so all in all it was a nice day.”


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The start of a new year is the perfect time to focus on hopes for the future and to set milestones to achieve. At St Mary’s Care Home in Scunthorpe, residents began 2020 by discussing the things that they would most like to accomplish this year.

As well as chatting about this year’s resolutions, the conversation led on to sharing new year’s resolutions we had made and sometimes broken in previous years. As you would expect, there were plenty of laughs along the way!

St Mary’s resident Jean started the resolution-making by saying; “I am planning on exercising more. But then I say that every year and never do!”

June, also a resident of St Mary’s Care Home, quipped; “I’m not making any this time, because I know that I won’t keep them!”

Another of our residents, Barrie, replied; “Ask my wife!”

While Joyce declared; “Maybe I should just listen more.”

Ensuring that our residents live fulfilled and meaningful lives is central to everything we do at St Mary’s Care Home. Whether new year’s resolutions are kept or broken, they are a great way to ensure our residents have a real sense of purpose, with something achievable to strive towards.

Our extensive activities programme includes gentle exercise to help promote mobility and independence. Residents also get to enjoy many games, quizzes and puzzles. These can help to stimulate the mind, improve cognitive skills, and enhance coordination. All of these things instil a satisfying sense of achievement, while also being great fun and something to look forward to.

You will find a great variety of things to join in with each week at St Mary’s, as well as one-to-one activities, in our ever-changing weekly schedule.

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