Avon Reach residents thanked for supporting humanitarian mission in Kenya

College students who volunteer to help some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children have thanked residents from one our Dorset care homes for supporting their humanitarian mission.
Members of the Brock2Kenya group visited Avon Reach in Mudeford to give a first-hand account of their latest projects with orphaned street children 4,000 miles away in the city of Nakuru, Kenya.

Staff and residents at Avon Reach, plus  colleagues and suppliers of Colten Care, are among the supporters of an annual trip for volunteers, providing donations of cash as well as clothes, shoes, educational materials and other much needed items for distribution to hundreds of Nakuru’s children.

In Kenya last October, 26 Brockenhurst College students spent 12 days on three separate projects, at a school, a nursery and a welfare centre.
Among their activities was helping to install flushable toilets and clean-water sinks to try and cut the risk of children contracting waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

They also took part in a daily feeding programme to help tackle severe malnutrition among the youngsters, gave lessons in literacy and numeracy, played games and ran arts, crafts, singing and dance sessions.
After being in the audience at Avon Reach for the update on Brock2Kenya’s work, resident Noeleen Braisby said: “I found it riveting, really fascinating to hear about all this. It made me realise the huge gulf between our lives here and the extraordinarily poor lives that some of these children in Kenya lead. Long may the mission continue.”
Those presenting to the Avon Reach residents were Adrian Butterworth, Careers Progression Adviser at Brockenhurst College and Trip Lead, and two students who were with him on the last visit as part of their educational enrichment options, Lexie Henderson and Bethany Cohu.

Lexie, who is studying law, philosophy, criminology and Spanish, told the audience: “What you helped us with, in donations, we were able to give directly to the projects. We handed out suitcases of shoes and socks to kids who really needed them along with medical supplies, sanitary towels, crayons and art materials. We did a lot during those 12 days. I learned a lot of skills. It many ways it is heart-breaking. They were so sad to see us go home. It was emotional when we left, but I really want to go again.”
Bethany, who is studying health and social care, said: “The students pay for the trip themselves, raising the money to go from things like cake sales and sponsored activities, even a skydive. When you get there, you see people with so little, even having a challenge to find clean drinking water. Some of the younger ones you get to know just want a hug and to sit on your lap. Many have no safe place. You don’t realise how much you have. It’s an experience you will take with you for the rest of your life.”
Adrian said a project in plan for October 2024 will be to build and install a further rain harvesting kit, involving a roof-mounted tank to provide water for toilets.

When that visit happens, it will mean that more than 100 Brockenhurst College students will have been to Kenya to help since Brock2Kenya began in 2019.

Adrian said: “We couldn’t do the mission without the help of the Avon Reach residents and staff and our other supporters. Everyone’s help makes a massive difference. If we get can help one child in dire straits to get out of their circumstances, then it’s worth doing.”

Avon Reach’s connection with Brock2Kenya came about through Home Manager Ruth Wildman who is herself a volunteer on the annual trip.
Ruth said: “The highlight of the last trip for me was when the tap on the new plumbing system was turned on and we saw clean water coming through. That was amazing. But when you go into the schools, you can see that outside in the street there are many children who can’t get in. We give a few hundred children a chance but many more need help.”

After showing the Avon Reach residents a short film about their 2023 trip, Adrian handed round souvenirs including a Kenyan flag, a bush hat and a wood engraving of the Swahili saying ‘hakuna matata’, the name of a song in the film The Lion King that roughly translates as ‘no worries’.

Although Kenya has a relatively large economy compared to some African countries, more than 16% of its population lives below the international poverty line, currently measured at an income of $2.15 per day.

Professional pamper day is wish come true for ‘radiant’ Lillian, 89

One of the south’s top professional makeup artists made a wish come true for an 89-year-old resident at Avon Reach.  
Lillian Ledger told staff at Avon Reach in Mudeford that she would love a little indulgence and pampering to brighten up the winter.

The team invited award-winning Jess Robinson, who runs Model Makeovers in Bournemouth, to come in and give Lillian a special, one-to-one session.

A guest room at Avon Reach was transformed into a pop-up health and beauty salon for a relaxed afternoon of luxury.

It included careful application of natural skincare cleansers, creams and lotions as well as nail treatment.

Afterwards, a fresh and invigorated Lillian said: “I loved it. It was something so out of the ordinary for me, a real treat that made me feel so special.”
Jess said: “I spoke to Lillian beforehand and was completely guided by her choices. She said she wanted to look radiant. We went for a natural daytime makeover. It was all about skincare.

“She chose high-quality pink blusher, pink lips, red nails, shimmer mousse eye shadow and eyebrows shaped naturally.

“I found it very humbling to meet her. Her and her best friend Val who was there were both very sweet. It was like spending the afternoon with good friends. It didn’t feel like work.

“It was heartwarming. They were so welcoming and grateful. I enjoyed it so much.”
Companionship Team Leader Denise Marks said: “The pampering was lovely for Lillian, a true feel-good experience. She was indulged with natural makeup that enhanced her looks and added to her beauty. Jess explained all about the products she used, including how they are made and how ingredients are sourced.”

To complement the makeup artistry from Jess, Denise and colleagues laid on a sumptuous afternoon tea complete with bubbly and chocolates.

Afterwards, Home Manager Ruth Wildman presented Lillian with a framed photo from her makeover photoshoot.

Jess has more than 20 years’ experience as a makeup artist and works only with cruelty-free products.

As well as one-to-one pampers for individual clients, she regularly provides makeup services for weddings, commercial photoshoots and film sets.

Among a string of accolades in the wedding and beauty industries, Jess was recently named Best Wedding Makeup Artist in the South West at the LUXlife Global Wedding Awards.

Mobilised! Residents enjoy a year’s fitness boost

Residents are improving their fitness, strength and mobility thanks to a year-long partnership with expert physiotherapists
We have teamed up with Poole-based BWT Physio to offer weekly group sessions plus one-to-one follow-ups.

Around 13 residents are attending the Thursday group exercises, designed to stretch and strengthen muscles in a safe, controlled manner.
Resident Margaret Johnson said: “It’s brilliant. I find it really helpful and long may it continue. I am so pleased with it.”
The sessions include arm and leg stretches, co-ordination exercises and other techniques to stimulate movement, balance and flexibility.

Our Home Manager Jess Brolan said the aim is to promote mobility and independence in a friendly, relaxed environment.

She added: “Having fun with exercise is one of many ways we help our residents stay active and make the most of each day.

“These sessions are very well attended and our residents look forward to them every week.

“The physiotherapists get to know them a little more each time, so building a supportive relationship.

“Residents love the exercise and find it a wonderful experience to get moving under the physio’s guidance.
“There are so many benefits for them, both physically and mentally.
“Shoulder exercises, for example, can help residents go on to dress themselves more easily while practice in improving balance can lower the risk of falls.”

[caption id="attachment_4842" align="alignnone" width="1024"] From left to right: Physio Mark Seal leads the exercise for resident Margaret Johnson and Companion Team Member Jo Egan.[/caption]

Founded in 1987, BWT Physio provides a range of physiotherapy services in both clinical and community settings.

Its professional team has extensive experience with specialisms in many fields including sports injuries, back pain, migraine, strokes and pregnancy.

Co-founder and Director Linda Whike said: “Physiotherapy has a vital role to play in elderly people’s care.
“As well as the overall fitness benefits, addressing a short-term or lingering mobility issue can lead to a huge improvement in someone’s daily life, so helping them be more independent.
“By holding our sessions in the comfort of the care home itself, the residents avoid the need to travel to a hospital, clinic or another unfamiliar place.

“We work alongside the staff at Avon Reach to ensure our sessions are completely tailored to the needs of the residents and we are thrilled they are enjoying our visits so much.”