Love is in the air as our homes prepare for Valentine’s Day

Residents are set to celebrate Valentine’s Day with romantic lunches, parties, live music and community greetings
Hearts, flowers, bubbly, cards and chocolates will all feature in the fun as homes enter the romantic spirit.

Here at Belmore Lodge, pianist Mark Busell will entertain residents at a Valentine’s-themed afternoon tea. A raffle will be held in aid of the home’s nominated charity, the Lymington Dogs Trust.

Residents  have also been making heart decorations featuring photos and wording about loved ones. These will be put on display on a ‘Sweetheart Tree’ in the home.

At Linden House, around eleven couples have been invited to an afternoon tea party in the home’s sun lounge. The room and tables will be decorated Valentine’s-style and soft music will be played in the background to create a romantic mood.

Residents at Court Lodge are taking a community-themed approach to Valentine’s Day. In a ‘random act of kindness’ they are writing messages with loving words, attaching them to roses and sharing them with the community in nearby Woodside Park.

Here at Kingfishers, the fun includes a Valentine’s party with live entertainment from the Land Girls, a sherry and wine social, a special lunch and a bingo afternoon.

Woodpeckers is staging an ‘Art With Heart’ exhibition featuring works by residents intended to represent love.

The home has asked Brockenhurst Primary School, Brockenhurst College and other Colten New Forest homes to contribute entries too.
Guests coming to the show on Valentine’s Day will also have the chance to enjoy a heart-themed afternoon tea. Donations will go to the Honeypot children charity.

[caption id="attachment_4573" align="alignnone" width="768"] Brook View residents and married couple Audrey and David Vincent enjoy their romantic lunch on Valentine’s Day[/caption]

At Avon Reach, staff are decorating the home with love hearts and inviting residents to tuck into a high tea. A raffle on the day will raise funds for Macmillan Caring Locally.

Two resident couples at Brook View, Trevor and Pam and Audrey and David, will enjoy romantic-themed meals in the dining room.

At Avon Cliff, residents and staff are being encouraged to wear red or pink at a tea dance. There will also be a ‘luxury high tea’ accompanied by the gentle sounds of live harp music.

Valentine’s Day will also be celebrated at our homes further afield. Residents at St Catherines View in Winchester will welcome toddlers from the nearby Topps Day Nursery for chocolate-making fun.

The youngsters will be taking home the treats to give to their mums and dads afterwards as Valentine’s gifts.

At Whitecliffe House in Blandford, staff will deliver roses and sweets to all residents. In the afternoon, residents will come together to listen to favourite love songs and share memories of Valentine’s Day and loved ones.

Our care homes collect chocolate goodies for children at Christmas

Organisers of a charity that provides gifts of chocolate to less fortunate children at Christmas have thanked residents at five of our homes for their support
The Chocolate Elf praised the efforts of residents, staff and families at Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst, Kingfishers in New Milton and the Lymington homes Belmore Lodge, Linden House and Court Lodge for collecting more than 100 selection boxes and advent calendars.

The voluntary group distributes donations to children across Hampshire through contacts in local councils, children’s homes, charities, youth services, hospices and women’s refuges.
Representative Pete Orme, who visited Woodpeckers to pick up the gifts gathered by Colten Care, said: “Thank you so much to the staff, residents and families. Every single donation is truly going to transform a child’s day and, in some instances, their whole Christmas.”
[caption id="attachment_4541" align="alignnone" width="1024"] SWEET SURPRISE. At Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst with some of the chocolate donations are, from left, Colten Care Customer Advisors Tracy Baker, Tracy McCallum and Deborah Davies, and Chocolate Elf charity representative Pete Orme.[/caption]

Altogether, the five homes gathered 45 selection boxes, 56 advent calendars and other donations of chocolate coins, tubs and bars to help with the charity’s work.
Woodpeckers resident Jean Slater said: “How wonderful it was to help with this. Children will always eat chocolate.”

‘Enchanted forest’ gives our residents an early taste of Christmas magic

Residents from our New Forest care homes took the chance to decorate Christmas trees they contributed to a Lymington church festival
Parties from our homes in Lymington and New Milton were joined by our residents to add colour and sparkle to their trees at St Thomas Church.

They then returned a couple of days later to admire the full community collection of more than 60 trees going on public display in what the church described as an ‘enchanted forest’.

Colten Care was among the businesses, organisations and charities to partner on the Christmas Tree Festival, creating a hands-on opportunity for its residents to support a community cause.

As well as viewing the display, our residents enjoyed tea and cake and live music performed by Milford West Gallery Quire and the Forestina Concertina Group.
Court Lodge resident Joy Blackmore said: “It was so lovely to be a part of something so traditional and like old times. I had such a wonderful afternoon.”
Our Chief Operating Officer, Elaine Farrer, said: “Our residents have had a magical time being involved in the festival, preparing their trees in advance and visiting again for the opening.

“They had great fun looking through the collection knowing that hidden amid the sea of tinsel, lights and baubles they would find a tree of their very own.”

Seas of red as our residents honour the fallen  

Residents have knitted, sewn, crocheted, painted and sculpted thousands of poppies as heartfelt tributes for Remembrance season
Many of the handmade works feature in outdoor hanging displays designed to prompt visitors and passers-by to stop and reflect.

As well as poppies, homes have held arts and crafts sessions in which residents – including many service veterans – have painted pictures on the theme of wartime sacrifice and shared their thoughts and memories with each other.

Residents at our sister home Amberwood House, spent two months preparing an exterior floral ‘waterfall’ made entirely from the ends of recycled plastic bottles.

Companionship Team Leader Kirsty Richmond-Cole said: “It soon became apparent that the residents were addicted to creating the poppies and they started a factory line which consisted of stations for painting the first coat, drying with a hairdryer, adding a further coat, painting the poppy centre, further drying and then top coating.
“When they were all ready, I spent three evenings in the rain, drilling holes in the poppies, erecting the chicken wire, attaching the poppies to the wire with paper fasteners and creating the display. The finished result was worth it and amazing.”
Marjorie Hutchings, one of the residents involved in the artwork, said: “Creating such a large display was so enjoyable. It is beautifully eye-catching considering it is all made out of recycled plastic.”

In Salisbury, the finished display at Braemar Lodge  numbered more than 1,900 handcrafted poppies.

While most were made by residents, families, staff and close community contacts, the home also received donated poppies from as far afield as Scotland.

[caption id="attachment_5112" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Amberwood House in Ferndown produced a poppy waterfall using the ends of recycled plastic bottles. On the left is resident Jim Smith and Companionship Team colleagues Sharon McVicar, standing, and Kirsty Richmond-Cole. On the right is Home Manager Diane Nicholls with residents, from left, Mary Whitehouse, Marjorie Hutchings and Noreen Hewitt.[/caption]

Resident Delia Bailey said: “I am an avid knitter so was delighted to have been part of this project. I started to knit poppies in August and made 140 in total. The display looks splendid and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.”
The home’s Customer Support Advisor Tanya Williams said: “We were completely overwhelmed with the response to our call for poppies, including so many from friends in the community and anonymous donors.
“It has been a labour of love but the finished display has far exceeded our expectations.”

Our home collected nearly 1,500 poppies after it reached out to the community to help with a display.

Among those who responded to a Facebook plea from our Companionship Team Leader Laura Sheldrake was a lady, Jackie Jenkins, who lives in Yorkshire.

Chris George, chairman of the Royal British Legion Winchester Branch, who visited the home to see the display, said: “It is important that everyone gets the opportunity to be able to remember our fallen heroes and Laura and her team have made sure that this can happen for the residents of St Catherines View.

“It was an absolute pleasure to be invited to the home and to meet some of the residents at the home, a very humbling experience.”

In the New Forest, team members here at Belmore Lodge filmed residents sharing their wartime memories.

Footage of the discussions was shown to an audience gathered in the lounge, prompting Lauren Cooper, our Companionship Team member, to say: “It was incredibly reflective and moving.”
One relative, Gill Knight, who was present, said: “I think it is great what they have done here. I heard the residents talking about their memories and it was just so special.”
We also invited residents to make clay poppies and produce their own paintings on the subject of Remembrance.

Among activities at other Colten Care homes, residents at Bourne View in Poole painted poppy images on pebbles for distribution in the neighbourhood, Whitecliffe House in Blandford held a poppy-themed colouring competition with local schoolchildren and Newstone House in Sturminster Newton welcomed the Shroton Ukulele Band to play at a British-themed Remembrance afternoon.

All 21 Colten Care homes hold annual services of Remembrance in line with wider Armistice Day commemorations.

A key aim is to honour veterans living in each home and families with current serving personnel.

At some homes, including Brook View in West Moors, Dorset, residents are invited to join official parades and services taking place in the community and to lay wreaths.

Residents across Colten Care gift shoeboxes for Children in Ukraine and Romania

Residents have filled over 100 shoeboxes with gifts for disadvantaged babies and children in Ukraine and Romania this Christmas.
The boxes, which have been packed with soft toys, stationery, warm gloves and mittens, books and toiletries, were handed over to the Rotary Club of Boscombe & Southbourne, which is collecting shoeboxes across the district for distribution to Eastern Europe next month (November).
Colten Care’s Senior Companionship Team Leader Donia O’Connor said: “We are very proud at Colten Care to have a long-standing relationship with the Rotary and this wonderful scheme.

“For me personally it’s always deeply inspiring to stand amongst all the festive shoeboxes that our residents have lovingly packed, knowing they will soon be opened by children who have so little.”

Homes which provided shoeboxes this year were Avon Cliff in Bournemouth, Fernhill in Longham, Brook View and Amberwood House in Ferndown, Kingfishers in New Milton, Linden House, Belmore Lodge and Court Lodge in Lymington, Whitecliffe House in Blandford Forum, Abbey View in Sherborne, Newstone House in Sturminster Newton, St Catherines View and Abbotts View in Winchester and Canford Chase, The Aldbury and Bourne View in Poole.

Boscombe & Southbourne Rotarians David Shires, Leon Warner and Neal Curtis collected all the boxes from Bourne View in Poole.

David Shires, who is President of the branch said: “We are deeply grateful for Colten Care’s continuing commitment and generosity to the Rotary Shoebox Scheme.
“These, along with thousands of other shoeboxes collected across the district will be going out to Eastern Europe in mid-November, for distribution to babies and children whose difficult lives will be noticeably brightened by the gift.”
Peter Prior and Pam Pamphilon, residents at Bourne View said they were proud to be part of the effort.
Peter said: “I’ve always loved Christmas, especially as a child and it’s lovely to know we will be spreading a little joy to children who really need it.”

Pam agreed: “I have two daughters, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren and Christmas is a magical time for us all. It’s very important we do all we can to help children who are living elsewhere in the world under desperate conditions.”

Zoe Rose, Companionship Team Leader at Bourne View added: “We love being the central point to which all the Colten Care shoeboxes come. Seeing them all here, prepared with such love and care is wonderful and we feel privileged to be part of it all.”

Glamour and glitz light up ‘Tea at The Ritz’

The glamour and glitz of the jazz age was in vogue once again as residents from two of our homes came together to celebrate Afternoon Tea Week
Flapper dresses, sequins, forearm gloves and peacock feather headbands were de rigueur as Roaring Twenties’ glamour sparkled anew at our sister home, Belmore Lodge in Lymington.

Residents took the short trip from Court Lodge to join us for a lively, stylish afternoon of music, dance and conversation.

The fun took place in the sunshine of our  garden with family and friends among the guests.

Jazz singer Wills Bailey-Hobbs performed popular hits and jazz standards from the 1920s decade.

Colten Care chefs prepared homemade quiches and cakes and a photobooth gave residents the opportunity to capture precious memories of their look and outfits on the day.

Resident Maureen Marks said: “We never need an excuse to dress up, especially when it’s all about the elegance of the 1920s.
“It was a joy to welcome family and friends, including our fellow residents from Court Lodge, and experience ‘The Ritz’ being brought into Belmore.”
Sharon Semple, our Companionship Team Leader, said: “Everyone had fun enjoying a glorious garden party full of lovely music and dancing.”

As well as care homes, venues taking part in Afternoon Tea Week across the UK included bakeries, cafés and hotels, all keen to celebrate ‘the great British tradition of afternoon tea’.

Belmore stages our own ‘Oscars season’ with awards and music

Forget Hollywood, there was Oscars-style razzamatazz over here too as residents honoured our staff 
Team members were rewarded for their hard work and friendliness with card trophies that residents designed and created in a fun ceremony amid smiles all round.

Nominees and winners included representatives from all home departments including clinical care, catering, administration, gardening and housekeeping.

Trophies were awarded for categories such as Best Sense of Humour, Best Smile, Loudest Laugh and Most Likely To Be Seen Running Round the Corridor.

The award for Best Twilight Performance went, perhaps unsurprisingly, to the whole nightshift team of nurses and healthcare assistants.

And there was much laughter when healthcare assistant Iulian Rusu was announced as winner of the award for Most Likely To Be Late, only to arrive five minutes late!

Our home manager read out the names of all nominees and announced the winners who then collected their trophies personally from the residents.
Colten Care Chief Executive Mark Aitchison, who attended the event as a special guest, said: “It was such a joy to see the joint fun between residents and staff. This was a fantastic idea by our residents keen to demonstrate their appreciation for everything that our team members do. After all the care sector has been through over the past couple of years, this showed a very different reality to what is sometime portrayed.”
Resident Maxine Pope said: “It was a nice way of bringing staff and residents together and specially to reward the hard work of the staff who selflessly ensure we are comfortable, safe and well looked after in such difficult times.”

Companionship Team Leader Sharon Semple said: “It was a lovely idea from our residents. They loved the afternoon and colleagues enjoyed their moment on the red carpet and the experience of winning an award.”

‘Oscars season’ at Colten Care also featured a concert of hits from film musicals at Avon Reach in Mudeford.

Companionship Team Leader and trained opera singer Chloe Akam delighted residents by performing songs from popular musicals.

[caption id="attachment_4225" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Belmore Lodge residents, standing left and right, Maxine Pope and Shirley Kane, and seated left and right, Pamela Rabbitts and Jane Cockeram  [/caption]

She was accompanied on the piano by professional musician Kevin Pritchard while Colten Care’s Music and Arts Partner Fiona Pritchard gave rousing renditions of the Superman theme and other movie favourites on the French horn.

Residents received formal invitations for the concert and, on arrival, glasses of bubbly and party boxes of chocolates, diamante fabrics and party poppers. The lounge was specially decorated for the occasion with floating roses from florist Jules.
Resident Margaret Johnson said: “I thought it was fabulous. I really feel like I’ve been to the Oscars.”
Margaret’s thoughts were echoed by Noeleen Braisby who said: “I’ve had the most enjoyable afternoon. I loved the songs, I knew them well and they brought back wonderful memories of happy occasions.”

And Doreen Walls said: “I loved the whole thing. I knew as soon as the morning started and things were getting ready that we were going to have a wonderful time.”