9 Aug 19

Blankets from Buchan House help Addenbrooks Hospital

Over the last few months, residents at Buchan House have been taking part in weekly knitting sessions. During this time, they have each been making squares out of different wools, before knitting them all together to make a colourful blanket. This weekly activity really helps to improve the resident’s overall sense of wellbeing and allows them to socialize with their friends, whilst doing something fun.

As the months went on and a few blankets had been completed, the group decided they would like to donate them to the local hospital for the babies in their care.

This week, residents headed down to the Neonatal (Newborn) Ward at Addenbrookes Hospital to hand over the completed batch of blankets. Rather than having them sent in the post, residents chose to take them there personally and show their support to the staff in the unit.

After a short trip in a taxi, the nurse in charge, Julie Henwood, met the residents and said, “We really appreciate the generosity of people that give their time knitting for the babies that need them. We go through so many blankets and can never have enough of them.”

After a chat with the nurse and learning how their blankets will help, residents stopped at the on-site café to get a drink before heading back to the care home. On their way through, they spotted tiny baby socks hanging up in reception with different children’s names on. They learnt that this was connected to World Prematurity Day on the 17th November and helps to raise awareness for premature births.

As the residents enjoyed their hot drinks, there was talk of making another batch of blankets with a festive theme so they could support the hospital at Christmas.

If you have any spare wool that you would like to donate so the residents can keep providing blankets, please contact Debbie Varley, a Lifestyle Coordinator at Buchan House.


8 Aug 19

Derek welcomes Ozzie and Sam into Primrose Croft

It’s always nice to be welcomed by a friendly face when visiting a care home and at Primrose Croft in Cambridge, you get just that.

Derek is a resident at the care home but likes spending his time in the open reception area, welcoming people as they come in and reminding them to sign the visitor’s book. He has his own post with a chair and picture behind to show everyone he is the proud face of Primrose Croft. Derek is very sociable, always has a smile on his face and enjoys interacting with new and regular visitors to the care home. It’s a very self-fulfilling role and helps the team to keep tabs on who has been in and out of the care home that day. Interacting with a variety of people on a day-to-day basis also helps to maintain his verbal communication skills.

One day, Derek was sitting at reception and got a surprise when Excelcare’s Chairman, Osman ‘Ozzie’ Ertosun and Chief Operating Officer, Sam Manning arrived for a visit. Derek refers to them as “the bosses” but did not let his guard slip as they entered, reminding them both to sign the visitor’s book. Both Ozzie and Sam were pleased to see Derek taking pride in the place he lives and helping to keep everyone safe!

A few days after their visit, Derek received a letter from “the bosses”, thanking him for the welcome and helping the team to keep the place running successfully.

He was very proud to receive this letter and it can now be found on display next to his post for all the visitors to see!

8 Aug 19

NCS students head back to Glennfield for fundraising day

Glennfield care home recently participated in a scheme where students from the National Citizen Service (NCS) came to volunteer at the care home and provide support to the team members. They were tasked with painting the summer houses outside and it’s safe to say they did a great job. The residents love the new bright colours and it’s really helped to breathe some new life into the garden.

After the visit, the team were so impressed that they extended an open invitation to come back whenever they wanted.

This week, the students took it upon themselves to return to Glennfield and help raise money for the care home’s comfort fund. This fund helps to provide new equipment for residents and goes towards group days out.

To raise the money, students hosted a homemade cake sale at the local park and offered face painting to some of the children. They had an impressive turnout throughout the day and helped to gather support for Glennfield from those living in the community. This also really helped to spread the word about the care home and educate those who didn’t know about it.

After a successful day, the group headed back to Glennfield with the money they had raised to ask what they would like it to be spent on. The students gathered opinions from the residents and they decided on some new craft equipment for everyone to enjoy.

After leaving Glennfield to do some shopping, Dot, a resident at the care home, was waiting in reception to see what they would return with. It’s safe to say she wasn’t disappointed as they brought back a large hamper filled with all different types of gifts. Dot was given the honours of opening the parcel and was delighted to see all of the new equipment inside.

Before they left for the day, the students surprised the team with a photo frame featuring all their names so it could go on display in the care home and remind everyone they are part of the family too.

We would like to thank the generosity of everyone from the NCS and all the help they have provided to the people living at Glennfield. You have truly gone above and beyond and made a real difference to the lives of the residents.









8 Aug 19

The Willows give residents a makeover for Glamorous Grandmother’s Day

On July 23rd, the team at The Willows Care Home participated in National Glamorous Grandmother’s Day. The day aimed to help celebrate the unique differences between grandmothers and give them a day of pampering to show how appreciated they are.

Although the day is there to celebrate nans, The Willows made it an all-inclusive session so all of the residents were welcome to take part. The team did a great job of setting up a photo booth with a range of different props and costume items that they could use when posing for pictures. A custom frame had also been created so the residents could turn themselves into a true work of art.

Everyone who participated had a great time dressing up and having fun with the props. As you can see, the residents looked great and after all the pampering they certainly felt like a million dollars. Some of the residents’ family members came along to get involved and were invited to join in with the pictures. Our glamorous grandmothers were enjoying the limelight though and getting others in the frame proved a tricky task.

What a great day and scheme to be involved with; providing a boost in wellbeing for all and promoting the unique differences between each of the residents at The Willows Care Home.

8 Aug 19

Douglas’ Story: A life fulfilled

Douglas is a Cambridgeshire man who lives at Buchan House, Cambridge. Through regular conversations with the team, Douglas shares many interesting stories and moments from his life.

In his early years, Douglas attended Jesus Green School & Church Hill College where he made lots of friends. Teachers were very strict though and he told us if you were a minute late to class you would be hit and if you were two minutes late, you would have been given a detention as well.

We hope you were always on time Douglas! Thankfully, the next generation avoided this treatment as the ban on corporal punishment came into force in 1986.

Douglas’ family had a golden retriever called Rover and his father used to take him out in the mornings before he went to work. Douglas’ neighbour also had a golden retriever and he has fond memories of taking both dogs out to the local woods together.

Douglas was always a very active man and took pride in providing a purpose and learning new things. This was reflected in his social life as he was a member of to the Cubs, Scouts and Army Training centre. This training in his early years gave him a huge head start and helped to secure a place in the Army as a Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineer. During his time in service, he met a lovely woman called Ann and they fell in love quite quickly. After getting engaged and planning their future together, the war got in the way and the distance between them wasn’t working so they, unfortunately, broke up.

Douglas kept busy though and was a keen cyclist, belonging to a club that would cycle 60 miles to Bishop’s Stortford and back every day! He particularly enjoyed cycling in pairs and having a conversation whilst taking in the surrounding scenery. Along the way, they would stop at some of the local pubs to share a drink or two and get something to eat.

Later in life, Douglas worked for the Church Hill College in Cambridgeshire, the same place he attended throughout his teenage years. He was a handyman and helped set up tables for the government body, move equipment to where it needed to be and assist the Managing Director with presentations. After 30 years of dedicated service between 1967 – 1997, he received a certificate of gratitude, an item which he is still very proud of today.

Another of Douglas’ passions was building aircraft models with some of his cyclist friends. At Christmas time they would take some of the models to the hospital for the children, he recalled how the Spitfire was the most popular plane.

Now living at Buchan House, Douglas is an avid news watcher and particularly enjoys shows featuring Richard Dimbleby. In the rest of his spare time, he can be found sharing interesting stories with people at the care home or catching up on the latest action in the TV soaps.

7 Aug 19

Taffy’s Story: A life fulfilled

Terence, who likes to go by his nickname, Taffy, was born in Wales and lived in the village of Ynysynwl. Nicknames have always been a running theme in Taffy’s family, with his mother Florence going by the name Lillian and his father William being called Chaggy. Taffy was the youngest of three children, growing up with his brother, Dennis and Sister, Gwyn.

Comedian, actor and singer Sir Harry Secombe lived in a nearby village and Tom Jones was also not too far away from Ynysynwl.

Taffy began working in a Bakery at the at the age of 14, delivering fresh bread and cakes to locals by horse and cart. When he turned 15 he started working in the coal mines. Taffy recalls memories of how hard the work was; how his hands were thick with calluses and if he put the tip of a cigarette on the palm of his hand he could not feel it burning. The hard work was worth the salary though, Taffy recalls his wage of £2 a week going a long way as this was a very good salary at the time.

Taffy tells stories of his work in the mine and how dangerous of a place it was. He recalls many accidents experienced by himself and his colleagues, the first of which happened when he was just 17 years old. Taffy was operating an eighteen foot drill while stood eight feet from the ground, he would guide the drill which was mounted over his shoulder, and another worker would push on it. There was a problem with the drill and his work mate shouted for him to jump but Taffy said he was too high up; the drill went across his face and he lost two of his ribs.

In another incident the coal miners had to squeeze through a small hole in a conveyor-belt as the roof of the cave was collapsing. Thankfully, everybody managed to get out before the roof came down.

Another accident he remembers well is being stuck in a lift shaft, where his colleagues had to rescue him by cranking the lift to safety by hand. Taffy remembers how grateful he felt and the relief on the men’s faces when he got to the top safely.

Taffy worked in the mines until the age of 21 and regularly went for a drink on a Friday night with five of his friends. In the early hours of the morning, they decided to join the forces. They applied for The Merchant Navy, but soon found out that they would be required to sign up for a minimum of 24 years’ service; they did not want to sign up for that length of time. The group then decided to join the Air Force and three of them, including Taffy, passed the medical exam. On the very next Monday, Taffy was posted to Gloucester.

When Taffy was stationed at Waterbeach Airfield he felt honoured to see the Queen and Prince Philip during one of their visits. Waterbeach Airfield was one of the RAF’s main bases. Built in 1940s on the northern edge of Waterbeach village, the base was operated under the control of RAF Bomber Command. The original control tower and many RAF buildings, including several hangars, are still present to this day.

Taffy met a woman named Shirley at the Victoria Cinema in Cambridgeshire and they became very close and started courting. They were married in Cambridgeshire Registry Office. His Best Man at the wedding was Roy Hudd (comedian) as they had been great friends during their time at Waterbeach.

When Taffy left the RAF they moved back to Wales together where they had their first child, Diane. After a number of happy years in Wales years they applied for a house in Cambridgeshire and moved back to the area where they had their son, Michael.

When Taffy’s brother-in-law passed away, he returned to Wales to support his sister. Unfortunately, his time away was difficult for his family and he and Shirley separated.

Taffy smiles as he recalls his story, sharing his motto of “work hard so that you can enjoy your life”. This rings true as Taffy speaks of his history as he has worked many hard and physically demanding jobs, but has always remained happy and positive.

Taffy went on to work many interesting and different jobs throughout his life, for a number of years he would deliver and carry coal bags that weighed 100kg over his shoulder, walking up steps and tipping the coal into bunkers. He also worked as a bar attendant in Cambridge and on a building site. Taffy was also fond of his job as a dustman, where he would help to load the dustcart. He told us how it was very difficult work as the bins were made of tin instead of plastic so were much heavier than they are today. Taffy and his team would have to lift each bin over their shoulders to empty them into the bin carts.

When Taffy retired, he enjoyed spending many hours in his garden tending to his fruits and vegetables, growing strawberries, potatoes, runner beans, carrots and much more. To pass the time, Taffy would also mend watches; a self-taught talent which he developed through his interest in how they work.

Taffy now lives at St George’s Court Care Home in Cambridge and enjoys watching his favourite TV shows including Antiques Roadshow, Dickinson’s Real Deal and war films. Each day he enjoys speaking with the team about each programme he has seen in the TV Times and what he plans to watch. Taffy is also very interested in science fiction and enjoys reading books about UFOs and alien encounters!

Taffy thanks the team at St Georges and regularly tells them how happy he is, especially when sitting in his chair looking out the window . The care home overlooks a beautiful park and Taffy enjoys watching the people going by and the children laughing and smiling.

7 Aug 19

The Willows take part in ‘Postcards of Kindness’

The Willows Care Home in Milton Keynes recently joined a group on Facebook named ‘Postcards of Kindness’. The group incentive organises for postcards from around the world to be sent to people who are living in care homes, with an aim to connect people and bring a little bit of happiness to residents as well as reminiscence opportunities from places they may themselves have visited.

The people living at The Willows are delighted to have received their first two post cards today, and are looking forward to sending and receiving many more, and learning more about the people they are speaking with along the way! The residents and team members would like to say a special ‘thank you’ to Amelia, who is 7, for taking the time in her school holidays to write to them!


7 Aug 19

Lime Court receives Rose Bush donation in memory of Michael

Lime Court would like to thank local resident, Les, for his kind donation of the ‘Firefighter’ Rose bush, in memory of his dear friend and wonderful resident of the care home, Michael. Michael and Les worked together for many years as Firemen at Dovercourt Firestation. During the time that Michael lived at Lime Court, Les kindly arranged many day trips for Michael. He visited the Firestation several times, where they would reminisce about their time spent there together and he also met the Firestation cadets.

One of Michael’s favourite hobbies was boxing; he started when he was in the Army and won many trophies for his skill. As part of the FaNs Network’s ‘Wishing Washing Line’, Michael’s wish ‘to meet and chat with a boxer’ was granted when Les, who is also a FaNs Representative, helped arrange a visit from professional boxer Tommy Jacobs to Lime Court, which Michael thoroughly enjoyed.

On behalf of everyone at Lime Court we would like to thank Les for his kindness. The ‘Firefighter’ Rosebush has been lovingly planted in Lime Court’s Courtyard Garden by resident ‘Nobby’ and serves as a wonderful reminder of Michael.

7 Aug 19

The Excelcare Wellbeing Lottery; creating special moments for those we care for

At Excelcare, we recognise that every person’s social, emotional and physical needs are different and we strive to provide care and support that is as individual as the people we care for. With this in mind we have set up a Wellbeing Fund and have launched ‘The Excelcare Wellbeing Lottery’, with proceeds from Fundraising and Lottery Tickets helping to fund new exciting and wide ranging opportunities for our residents; from creative arts programmes to interactive technology!

Pictured is Victoria, who lives at Queens Oak Care Home, enjoying a music session with musician Maz O’connor from Live Music Now.

Do you want to help us to create more moments like this? If your answer is ‘yes’, consider joining the Excelcare Wellbeing Lottery by clicking here.

7 Aug 19

Buchan House celebrate in the sunshine with their Annual Summer Party

Over the weekend, Buchan House held their Annual Summer Party, where residents were joined by their family and friends, as well as the Buchan House team to celebrate! The attendees got through a record number of burgers and delicious chicken skewers, which were lovingly made by Head Chef, Mel.

The atmosphere of the event was wonderful, with attendees joining in on the fun by sporting their most colourful Hawaiian shirts, and ‘Steel Invaders’ performing hits on their Steelpan Drums while everyone watched and listened to the music! The event raised over £300 for the care home’s Resident’s Fund, which will help towards providing amazing activities and experiences for those who live at Buchan House.

Lifestyle Coordinator Debbie would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended their Summer Party; “A brilliant time was had by all; and an even bigger thank you goes to all the people who made the event possible, including Steel Invaders who provided us with wonderful Saturday Afternoon entertainment.” Buchan House would also like to say a special thank you to those who won prizes in the games and raffle, and kindly donated them back to the home and the residents!