Canford Chase spreads cheer with Dorset foodbank delivery

Residents of our Poole care home prepared and hand delivered 30 packed lunches to help families facing food poverty in the Dorset town.
The packs were quickly snapped up as they were brought to Poole Food Bank’s main town centre hub, the St James’ Church Centre in Church Street.

Four residents from Canford Chase care home – Molly Thatcher, Barbara Rivett, Pamela Kateley and Marjorie Jewkes – took a minibus trip to hand the packs over personally to foodbank manager Ian Stoney and his team.

It was the culmination of an Easter school holiday initiative that involved Canford Chase residents, Companionship Team members, Home Manager Charlotte Wilson and Chef Juraj Chrensc.

The freshly made-up packs, completed at a residents’ activity session, featured ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit, crisps and chocolate.

At the centre, known locally as Jimmy’s Place, the visitors spent time with staff and volunteers learning how the foodbank helps people access nutrition, toiletries and other items essential to everyday life.
Canford Chase resident Barbara Rivett said: “It was really interesting to learn about the work that goes on. It’s such a good thing that the foodbank is here to help people who have fallen on hard times.”

Companionship Team Leader Vicky Day said: “At Canford Chase we enjoy supporting local projects and the community links these build. Many families or individuals may experience food poverty at some point in their life. School holidays can be an especially hard time for families who are experiencing difficulties with the rising cost of living, and so we wanted to help ease this over the Easter break.

“The foodbank team are compassionate, and it was clear to see while we were there that visitors are welcomed with warmth and an ear to listen.

“The team outlined the process when someone arrives at the centre including the extra services and provisions they can offer such as recipe kits and money advice.

“Our visit helped us learn so much. On returning to the home, we discussed it with other residents.

“We now plan to provide further support in the coming weeks and months to help the foodbank’s wonderful work in the community.”

Salisbury care home fundraisers learn how top dogs transform lives

Three people whose lives have been transformed by guide dogs called in to our Salisbury care home to thank residents and staff for contributing £1,400 to the charity that supports them.
Katie Ransby, Justin Wright and Richard Burt met with residents and team members at Braemar Lodge in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

The visit was the culmination of the home’s year-long fundraising campaign for the Salisbury & District branch of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Events such as barbecues, quizzes, a garden party and a Christmas market all helped the fundraising effort.

On their visit, Katie, Justin and Richard shared what they are able to do because of their guide dogs.

Companionship Team Leader Graham Ballard said: “Katie, who is blind, holds a full-time senior nursing position at Salisbury District Hospital and takes her Labrador Queenie with her everywhere!

“Justin, who has only partial sight and can’t hear either, works full time from home in IT and frequently walks into Salisbury for pleasure with retriever Ned.

“Ned is both a hearing and deaf dog trained to respond when alarms sound such as doorbells and fire alarms.

“Richard is blind and a former Paralympian specialising in skiing events. He has worked with Help For Heroes to encourage soldiers who lose their sight. His amazing guide dog  Dilly, a German Shepherd, was trained with Queenie and so they share a special bond. Rick lives outside Salisbury but travels in quite frequently thanks to Dilly.”

The funds raised by Braemar Lodge will go towards the two-year training of guide dogs locally and for arranging the rehoming of retired dogs.

Graham added: “The group were thrilled to receive our cheque and when we offered them an invitation to return, they were very happy to accept.”
After meeting the two- and four-legged visitors, Braemar Lodge resident Catherine Brighty said: “I didn’t realise that guide dogs had such a positive impact and can support people who work full time. I’m so pleased that our contribution will go a little way towards guide dog funding and help these people stay in work. It’s clear that without their dogs, life would be far more difficult for them.”
Braemar Lodge residents have chosen the Salisbury Foodbank as their main charity to support for 2024/25.

Kingfishers care home residents and staff raise £3,400 for children’s hospice charity

Fetes, fitness classes and fundraising walkabouts all boosted a  year of support for a children’s hospice charity.
Residents, families, staff and friends of Kingfishers in New Milton, Hampshire, raised £3,400 for Julia’s House through their efforts.

Collections were made at activities including an open garden day at the home, summer and Christmas fetes, a Zumba aerobic fitness programme and community events at Easter and Valentine’s.

One resident, Mollie, even went out and about to promote the home’s fundraising on personal visits to around 50 shops and businesses.

She said: “I asked people to support our events through vouchers or donations. I was never rebuffed. It was great, I enjoyed it tremendously and would do it again.”

Mollie, who was accompanied on her neighbourhood calls by team member Tracy McCallum, Customer Support Advisor, added: “I like helping people, even if it’s only doing something small.

“I must have confidence in what I am supporting and this was for childcare, so a good cause.”

To round off the year of fundraising, Kingfishers held a party at which Julia’s House Community Fundraiser Amanda Gillett was presented with a cheque for £3,396.59.
Speaking to an audience of residents and staff, Amanda said: “We care for children with life threatening and life limiting conditions and provide ongoing support for their families including respite.

“Only eight per cent of our income is government funded, so for our services to keep running we need support from the local community to help reach the other 92%.

“The money from Kingfishers will make a huge difference to our families. A massive thank you for choosing us and for all the hard work you have put in.”
All 21 of our homes have a policy of enabling residents to choose charities to support each year.

Kingfishers’ main nominated charities for 2024-25 are New Milton Men’s Shed and New Forest Disability Information Service.

Colten Care residents spread goodwill and positivity on Kindness Day

Gifts, donations, good deeds and compliments – residents and staff across our homes chose a host of positive, heartfelt ways to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day.
In line with the aim of the annual event – to encourage moments of goodwill and compassion towards ourselves and others – there were both individual acts and initiatives by entire homes and departments.

At Brook View in West Moors, residents and staff began early with an appeal at the start of the year for friends, family, colleagues and visitors to donate non-perishable food items.

These were gathered together and, on Random Acts of Kindness Day, presented to the nearby Castleman Community Larder which helps West Moors families struggling with food poverty.

Brook View’s Companionship Team Leader Lauren Parrett personally handed over the large collection of items, including tinned goods, pasta and cereals, to larder manager Michelle Bennett.
Lauren said: “Once our residents learned what the larder does and the importance it has for families in need in our community, they knew they wanted to help the team there on Random Acts of Kindness Day.

“We are so grateful to our staff, relatives, friends and visitors for enabling us, through their donations, to give something special back to our community.”
Thanking all at Brook View, Michelle said: “We want people to know they can shop within the larder and feel supported by the community.”

Among Kindness Day initiatives at our other homes, residents at Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst and Canford Chase in Poole handed out gift bags to local people while a team of knitters at Amberwood House in Ferndown made blankets for a medical charity.

Poetry was the order of the day at Bourne View in Poole, with positive, inspiring messages in verse being shared among residents, staff, relatives and friends.

Random Acts of Kindness Day is an annual celebration that began in Denver, Colorado, in 1995 and has since spread worldwide. Its aim is to inspire people to spread kindness and positivity and be more compassionate and caring.

Wellington Grange’s ‘community spirit and generosity’ boosts foodbank

Foodbank organisers have praised residents and staff of Wellington Grange care home for what they describe as a ‘remarkable demonstration of community spirit and generosity’.
It follows a year of fundraising at Wellington Grange which featured activities such as a summer fete, Christmas fair, dog show and craft and cake sales.

At a presentation at the Broyle Road home, a total of £776.38 was handed over to Joanna Kondabeka, Chief Executive of Chichester District Foodbank.

With her were Wellington Grange residents who chose the foodbank as their main charity to help over the past year and who personally supported the home’s fundraising by making crafts for sale, manning stalls at various events and sponsoring staff initiatives.
Joanna said: “We rely solely on the generosity of the local community and we are so grateful to the residents and staff of Wellington Grange.

“Their contribution is a remarkable demonstration of community spirit and generosity.

“The money they have raised will go towards feeding and supporting households who are facing hardship at this time. This donation will help around 100 people.”
Among the Wellington Grange residents at the presentation was Cynthia Wearne, who said: “It was lovely to be part of the fundraising efforts this year, and then to finish it off with Joanna coming in and telling us where the money is going and who we will be helping with the donation.”

With them was Wellington Grange Companionship Team Leader Heather Pearce, one of the staff members who helped to facilitate residents’ involvement in supporting the foodbank.

Heather said: “It has been a privilege to raise money for such a worthwhile local charity. Residents chose to go for a local foodbank amid much public attention on the cost of living crisis and people struggling with things like feeding their own children. It felt right.”

Run in partnership with local churches, Chichester District Foodbank is part of a network of foodbanks, supported by the Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

Since opening in 2012, Chichester District Foodbank has given out more than 42,000 food parcels. It is based at The Family Centre in Orchard Street, Chichester, and uses St John’s Hall as a warehouse.

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 Avon Reach 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.

Boost for Boaz as care homes’ £3,000 donation goes into immediate use

A therapeutic work community for adults with learning disabilities has put into immediate use a donation of more than £3,000 from our two Winchester care homes.  
Abbotts Barton and St Catherines View joined forces in support of the Sutton Scotney-based Boaz Project after residents chose it as their main charity to help over the past year.

Activities included staging a family-friendly ‘fete on the field’ on a green off Worthy Road, just yards from Abbotts Barton.

The day after receiving a cheque for £3,065.90 in respect of the homes’ fundraising, the Boaz Project was told it needed a replacement oven potentially costing thousands of pounds.

Boaz Project Manager Stuart Palmer said:  “As a small independent local charity we really appreciate everyone who gets alongside us as we help our members access interesting work experiences in the beautiful Hampshire countryside.

“When things break on the site or need replacing, fundraising such as that carried out by Abbotts Barton and St Catherines View is vital.

“On the day after we received their cheque, our oven broke down. The engineer did a temporary fix but said it really needed replacing at a cost of several thousand pounds. Without Colten Care we could not consider such a purchase. Each day we cook a hot lunch using much of the produce grown on our allotments by our members. Without the cooker this would not be possible. Thank you all.”

The homes’ fundraising fete brought together dozens of people from Winchester to enjoy children’s games, stalls selling cakes, plants and handmade gift items, a coconut shy, a barbecue, a tombola and the chance to see inside a fire engine.

Other initiatives in aid of the Boaz Project across both homes included raffles, sales of homemade greeting cards, sponsored get-togethers and staff dressing-up days.

Speaking at a cheque presentation at Abbotts Barton, resident Daphne Hopewell said: “I am delighted to be able to continue to support the charities which we, the residents chose for the year.

“Boaz is a particularly important one for me. I have family members who have needed lots of help and have benefitted from organisations such as this one.”

Abbotts Barton Home Manager Dee Lovewell said: “We are proud to have raised such a fantastic total and provided direct help in this way for the Boaz Project.

“Fundraising is always an enjoyable experience for residents and staff and it helps residents continue to play a meaningful role in their local communities.”

The homes’ latest fundraising total has surpassed last year’s figure of £2,750, which went to Hart Wildlife, a charity that rescues sick and injured animals and birds from across Hampshire and neighbouring counties.

For more information on the Boaz Project, visit www.boazproject.co.uk.

Helping hands deliver a little Christmas magic for New Forest families in need

Kind-hearted residents at our New Forest care home turned Santa’s helpers to support families in need in their community.
Working alongside care and companionship staff, residents at Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst devised a ‘Christmas community project’ in aid of Lyndhurst Food Bank.

It involved collecting dozens of food items and wrapping and placing them in boxes they decorated specially.

Altogether, 18 ‘Santa’s Helping Hands’ community boxes were prepared and given to the food bank for onward distribution to families.

Alongside were other gifts including biscuits, crackers and tableware.

A number of local businesses and organisations helped the scheme by sponsoring boxes.

On the front of each box, the message read: ‘Happy Christmas from the residents and staff at Woodpeckers care home, Brockenhurst’.

Woodpeckers Companionship Team member Jo Anderson said: “Our residents really took this project to their hearts.
“After collecting food items in-house, we approached local businesses to help out as well and once we were under way, residents helped to decorate and pack the boxes.

“We are delighted to have been able to hand over so many beautifully presented boxes to the food bank.

“When their volunteers visited us to pick up the boxes, they spent time with residents, explaining how valuable the contribution was and how it would really help the families they work with.”
Three Woodpeckers residents have said why they took part and helped fill the boxes.

Patricia Hoy said: “It was most enjoyable to be a part of a group in this important project. Knowing it will help families in need this Christmas is very satisfying.”

June Farrow said: “My heart goes out to the families at Christmas and I am so proud to have played a small part in this project. I would like to thank the volunteers who run the Lyndhurst Food Bank and do such a marvellous job.”

And Anita Stock said: “It’s such a wonderful idea. Well done to everyone at Woodpeckers who helped the local community.”

Businesses and organisations who sponsored boxes included The Bakehouse bakery, Commoners wine bar, Spencer’s estate agency and Brockenhurst FC.

Prancer and Jingles spread reindeer cheer at Woodpeckers care home charity afternoon

More than 250 people enjoyed a taste of Christmas magic as a Woodpeckers in the New Forest held a ‘meet the reindeer’ afternoon in aid of young carers’ charity Honeypot.
Residents and staff at Woodpeckers care home in Brockenhurst welcomed children from nearby Brockenhurst Primary School and the village pre-school, plus friends, neighbours and community contacts.

They took the chance to meet special reindeer guests Prancer and Jingles as well as Santa and a party of elves, all taking time out from their traditionally busy season.

Visitors also played a ‘Pick Rudolph’s Nose’ game, sampled and bought seasonal gifts at a series of craft stalls and took part in a raffle for prizes donated by New Forest businesses.

The final amount raised for Honeypot will be more than £1,200.

Sian Harris, Companionship Team Member, said: “It was the second year we have held a ‘meet the reindeer’ afternoon. Once again, we had a huge number of visitors, with children flooding in to see the reindeer. Word had clearly spread in the local area. It was such a popular event.”

Woodpeckers resident June Farrow, who helped out on one of the craft stalls, said: “I loved seeing the children come and enjoy themselves. It made me feel happy and bubbly as well.”

After the event, staff from the home, including Customer Support Adviser Lynne Ray, Gardener Chris Marsh and Home Manager Priya Joseph extended the reach of the raffle by taking a stall along to the community Christmas lights switch-on in Brockenhurst.

Viv Carter, Community Fundraising Manager at Honeypot, said: “The enthusiasm and energy from everyone at Woodpeckers is overwhelming.

“We are so happy to have their support. They have really driven their fundraising for us with an understanding of the impact it has.

“Their support will enable young carers aged five to 12 to take a break from caring and have fun being a child at Honeypot House in the New Forest.”
Thank you to all the businesses who donated raffle prizes. Marchwood Candles, Burley Wagon Rides, Burley Fudge, Fitness Evolution, Quirky Crafts and Messy Kate.

Caring and sharing as Colten Care residents support Christmas shoebox appeal

Residents from our care home helped pack and decorate more than 100 festive shoeboxes full of gifts to cheer disadvantaged babies and children at Christmas.
In support of the Rotary Club Shoebox appeal, some of the 112 boxes filled across our care homes will go to Ukrainian children who are refugees in Poland because of the war with Russia.

Others will be distributed to underprivileged children in Romania, Montenegro and Moldova.

The boxes contain gifts such as soft toys, stationery, gloves, mittens, hats, books and toiletries.

Colten Care has supported the Rotary’s annual appeal for several years, with residents, families and staff members all involved.

Boxes from various homes were gathered together at Bourne View in Poole, from where Rotary representatives picked them up for the long road trip to Eastern Europe.

Bourne View residents said they were proud to be part of the effort.

Joan Blackshaw said: “We hope everyone gets to enjoy these gifts, and it helps them at Christmas.”

John Broomfield said “It’s a very worthwhile idea to help those who are in need. Regardless of what’s in the box, it will make them smile.”

Neal Curtis, International Committee Chair at Boscombe and Southbourne Rotary Club, said the boxes will complement hundreds of others provided by local schools and Rotary members and friends.
“Once again, we are indebted to the residents and staff of Colten Care for supporting our appeal,” Neal said. “It’s wonderful to think that so many disadvantaged children will have the pleasure of receiving their own special present this Christmas.”
The Colten Care contribution was co-ordinated by Senior Companionship Team Leader Donia O’Connor, who said: “Our residents, families and staff are generous, inspiring people keen to do their bit.

“All our homes nominate charities and good causes to help each year, with the Rotary shoebox appeal always on the list.

“We are proud to continue our long-standing and heartfelt support for the scheme and the children who will receive that little touch of Christmas magic in the midst of difficult circumstances.”