24 Sep 19

Excelcare launches partnership with ‘Magic Me’ for artist residency scheme

Today on National Arts in Care Day, we are proud to announce a four-year partnership with arts charity ‘Magic Me‘, to bring modern forms art to residents in our care. Magic me have helped to connect us with four different artistry groups that break the boundaries in their field and use thought-provoking activities to engage with groups; Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Fevered Sleep, Gecko and Curious Directive.

Each collective has been selected by Magic Me and partnered with Excelcare care homes in Essex (Longfield, St Fillans, Lime Court and Sherrell House), closely matching the art theme with the likes and interests of the residents in each care home.

The project will be delivered in phases over a four year period, the first being an introductory session so the artists and residents can get to know each other, whilst allowing residents to experience a ‘taste’ of their art form.

Sam Manning, Excelcare’s Chief Operating Officer commented, “Care homes and the care of older people continues to change and here at Excelcare we want to be a part of that movement; instrumental in challenging stereotypes, in championing quality and embracing new opportunities. We are very excited to be a partner in this programme and to facilitate this opportunity for both residents and team members.”

The arts organisations are all industry leaders in bringing innovative art ideas to life and this project aims to shake up not just the public’s perception of what life at a care home is like, but also the artists themselves who will be exploring a whole new audience and way of working.

Sessions with each of the arts groups and their matched care home will begin on October 14th and take place through the course of November. We look forward to reporting the outcome of each session and seeing how the residents respond to new, all-inclusive forms of art.

24 Sep 19

The Banjo Man hosts promenade performance at Glennfield Care Home

The Banjo Man‘ aka Sean Moyses, visits Glennfield Care home regularly to perform a selection of different music from the past. The residents love it when he stops by, as his sessions are always full of energy and gets everyone singing and dancing along.

His performances are usually hosted in the communal lounge, but this week he decided to multi-task and play as he walked around the care home, stopping into people’s rooms as he went to give them a personal performance. This ensured that everyone could feel involved with the session and gave those who are less mobile, a special moment to remember.

As he entered different areas of the care home, he played some of the resident’s favourites including “Daisy Daisy”, “My Old Man’s a Dustman” and “I do like to be beside the seaside,” to name a few. As he travelled around Glennfield, team members and residents were dancing in the hallway and enjoying the sounds of the banjo.

The promenade session helped to spread a lively mood around the care home and residents were commenting on how enjoyable the afternoon had been. After a successful visit, team members have decided to host more ‘walking performances’ so everyone can join in and feel the benefits of each session.

24 Sep 19

Windmill Lodge residents get a ‘pizza’ the action during cooking activity

Windmill Lodge residents were excited for a cooking day with the Lifestyle Coordinators this week. Many of the people who live at the care home used to cook as a hobby, so this activity helped them to brush up on their skills and reconnect with a passion from their past.

The first session of the day focussed on pizza making, so the Lifestyle Coordinators placed margarita pizza’s on each table with an assortment of separate toppings, so the residents could add ingredients to their taste and get a bit creative with the placement of each item.

Once everyone had decorated their pizza, the Lifestyle Coordinators took them to the kitchen for the catering team to cook. Everyone was hoping they would turn out well and decided to sing some songs together while they waited.

After much anticipation and group renditions of 50s classics, team members from the kitchen came to deliver the pizzas. They looked great and smelt even better, so the residents were very happy with the results. Hubert, who was part of the group said, “I don’t eat Pizza, but I enjoyed making this”. The Lifestyle Coordinators were so happy to see the group enjoy cooking again and watched as people shared their pizza with those who didn’t participate in making them.

Later in the day, the residents had a go at making coleslaw and cakes, so they gained a rounded knowledge of preparing a full meal. Barbara was one of the people who took part and said, “I like making Coleslaw but can’t make it like I used to, so this activity has helped me to get my cooking skills back.”

It was enjoyable seeing the residents getting involved and helping each other out. We look forward to planning more cooking days in the future and further developing the residents’ skills.


24 Sep 19

Aliwal Manor residents enjoy cress growing session

Residents at Aliwal Manor Care Home have recently enjoyed taking part in a selection of plant-based activities. Last week, a group took cuttings from African Violet Flowers and planted them in mini-greenhouses to grow, an activity that everyone enjoyed. So, to continue the green-fingered theme, the Lifestyle Coordinators hosted a cress growing session this week, where they would teach the group to prepare and seed cress, before leaving them to grow and viewing the results.

To add some excitement to the beginning of the session, the hosts laid out some arts and crafts materials so the residents could decorate their plant plots and make them stand-out. Everyone had a fun time adding their own personal touches and some picture cut-outs to the side of their pot.

After the group had finished adding the final touches, people began to fill their pot with soil, before spreading cress seeds on the top. The Lifestyle Coordinators gave the group some tips throughout the session and also told them that cress is one of the few plants that can grow on virtually any surface, including a paper towel!

After everyone had finished laying out the seeds and spraying them with water, they were given the choice to leave them growing on the windowsill in the communal lounge or take them back to their room with them.

Everyone is hoping that the cress grows well and we each look forward to adding some to our egg sandwiches for lunch. If this activity is successful, the group plans to grow more on a larger scale, so everyone in the care home can enjoy some freshly grown produce with their dinner.

23 Sep 19

George’s story: A life fulfilled

George was born in Walthamstow, North-East London, where he grew up with his parents and five siblings Arthur, Ernie, Dorothy, Florence and Vera. He enjoyed going to school and made many friends, some of whom he’s still in contact with today.

Early-life was distributed for George and his family when the war broke out, meaning he and his siblings had to be evacuated. George was relocated to Cornwall, where he lived with Mr and Mrs Reid in the countryside. Mr Reid was a Butcher by trade, so George would frequently help with small jobs like collecting the eggs from the chicken pens. It was a completely different life, but he enjoyed the open-space and the sense of freedom it offered.

Whilst George was living in Cornwall, he heard that a bomb had landed near his family home, knocking down two rows of housing and damaging his quite badly. Thankfully, his parents were okay but were asked to leave the house while it was being repaired. George’s father Reg, had since started up his own building firm, so refused this and said he would carry out the work himself.

After the war had ended and London was classified safe, George headed home to begin his first job with his father. George remembers working really hard and although he was the boss’s son, he didn’t get any special treatment. 

Over the years, George spent some time trying out different careers including a voluntary role in the Kings Hussars, but withdrew himself after a couple of weeks as it wasn’t right for him. George then began working for DH Transport as a driver, where he met Iris. They shared an instant connection, married happily and had one son together named Graham. They have many happy memories together, but Iris, unfortunately, passed away in 1988.

George changed careers again some years later, after an opening for a Chauffer came up in Westminster. He loved this job as it allowed him to travel all around the country and stay in some really nice hotels. One day, George was asked to take the Governor and his wife to a restaurant, something which George was initially quite nervous about. The next day, he was summoned to his boss’s office and thought it was going to be bad news. However, it soon became clear that he had done everything right and the Governor and his wife asked George to be their personal Chauffeur, as they felt safe and relaxed while he was driving. George was thrilled and did this job for the rest of his career before taking early retirement.

A few years into retirement, George met Violet at a family party. They got on really well and married soon after meeting in Clacton-on-sea. They moved into a bungalow together which overlooked the fields and they have many happy memories looking at the wildlife from their window. 

After 25 happy years together, Violet was unfortunately diagnosed with Dementia and moved into a local care home. George would visit her every day and soon after, moved in too so he could be with her all the time. After a few years, Violet sadly passed away at the care home. It was a difficult time for George, so he decided to relocate slightly and moved to Hunters Down Care Home.

He is very happy here now and regularly joins in with activities; his favourites are ‘Love to Move’ sessions and quiz evenings. The highlight of his week, however, is speaking to his childhood friend Leonard – something they do at the same time every Sunday. It’s great seeing George keep this up and stay in touch with people he has known his whole life, it certainly keeps him smiling and this positive approach has gained him lots of friends at Hunters Down!

23 Sep 19

Douglas and Reg connect over shared interests in penpal scheme

Regional Lifestyle and Wellbeing Lead, Pearl, has been working her magic and helping the residents to meet like-minded people, even if they’re a little further afield.

Douglas is a resident at Buchan House Care Home and has always loved aircrafts, especially building different types of model planes. Once each is complete, he takes the models to Addenbrooks hospital for the children to look at, with his spitfire model being the most popular and his own personal favourite.

Reg, who lives at Hunters Down Care Home in Huntingdon, also enjoys building model aircrafts and has a shared passion for Spitfires. As they both have so much in common, Pearl took it upon herself to help connect the two residents by creating ‘penpal’ style letter templates that they could each fill in. Both residents welcomed the opportunity and were excited to meet someone else who shared their interests.

In each of their letters, both Doug and Reg shared stories from their past, interesting facts and some more information about their favourite planes. After a few letters, it turned out that they both had more than an aircraft interest in common; Doug used to own a Golden retriever and Reg used to run a dog training class, so they further connected over their love for animals. It also became clear that they both enjoyed cycling; Reg once cycled from Enfield to Wales and Doug used to cycle 60 miles each day, to and from work.

They both had a great time hand-writing letters to each other and finding out all of their shared interests. It’s made a big difference to both Doug and Reg as they have both made a new, local friend whilst improving their reading and writing skills in the process. We look forward to continuing our support for this programme and we hope that Doug and Reg can meet in person and enjoy a day out together very soon.

23 Sep 19

Shelly returns to Glennfield for another entertaining exercise session

Shelly is a ‘Love to Move‘ coach who visits Glennfield Care Home frequently to host chair-based exercises sessions with the residents. Each session helps to improve their strength, coordination and confidence, whilst also aiding their circulation.

To add energy and excitement to the classes, Shelly plays a range of music from the 50s, 60s and 70s which is familiar to everyone and motivates each person to get involved.

As the session began, the group did some warm-up activities to get everyone in the mood, before moving on to some low-intensity exercises. Each set of exercises is aimed at improving a different part of the body, so Shelly ensures there is a good mix throughout the session.

As people were moving in time with Shelly and the music, members of the group began singing along to the songs in the background and you could tell everyone was having fun. During the class, Shelly makes her way round to spend some one-to-one time with each resident, ensuring they have the correct technique and providing support if needed.

Household items are also introduced as props, to make the exercises slightly more challenging and provide participants with things to hold and shake, which often encourages them to re-engage with the session. As you can see, everyone was wearing a smile and enjoying the benefits of the class surrounded by their friends from the care home.

Thanks for another enjoyable session Shelly and we look forward to seeing you again.

20 Sep 19

Orpington Rovers FC net sponsorship deal with Excelcare

We are proud to announce our sponsorship of Orpington Rovers U13 football team for the 2019/2020 season. The team train locally to the Bromley-based care home, Park Avenue and have enjoyed success in the Tandridge youth league, so we have decided to provide sponsorship and hopefully motivate the team to continue their winning streak.

The team have thanked us for the contribution by sending a thank you card signed by the whole team. A special shoutout goes to Taylor, the team left-back and son of Excelcare’s COO, Sam Manning, who is celebrating his 13th birthday today. We hope you have a great day and wish you luck against Oxted and District FC this weekend – we know you’ll smash it!

20 Sep 19

Amanda the Glennfield gardener gets a helper for the day

Glennfield Care Home in Wisbech has a lovely outdoor space which is maintained by the multi-talented singer and gardener, Amanda. She visits on a weekly basis to ensure the gardens look fresh, colourful and full of life. This has a hugely beneficial impact on the residents as they love spending time in the garden, so Amanda’s hard work ensures they can all enjoy the space.

One of the residents, Julie, especially likes spending time in the garden and this week, asked Amanda to take her favourite companion around with her and take some pictures of him helping. Julie takes this doll with her everywhere and likes capturing photos of him helping around the care home; she even has a picture album full of the different places he has been and the activities he has helped with.

As Julie watched from the window, Amanda made her way around the garden with her new helper, mowing the lawn, weeding the patio and tidying up the flower beds, taking pictures as she went. Julie enjoyed watching the garden being transformed and was glad her companion was there to experience it too.

With the outside looking brand new, Amanda came to sit with Julie to show her all the pictures she captured in different areas of the garden. She thanked Julie for lending her a helper and said he can join her on a weekly basis as her new apprentice. Julie was so happy to see the pictures and excited to add them to her collection!

20 Sep 19

Monach Farm arrives at Buchan House with some furry friends

Monach Farm Riding Stables visited Buchan House this week to host a personalised animal session for the residents. The farm is based in Hilton, Cambridge, but as some of the residents have limited mobility, they brought their animals down to Buchan House so the residents could enjoy the same experience, from the comfort of their garden.

The family-run farm company host inclusive sessions for people of all ages and abilities and have an amazing educational programme that promotes ‘out of classroom’ experiences for schools, colleges and other educational institutions. Monach Farm also hosts a unique scheme named ‘Monarch Memories’, which is specifically aimed at providing care home residents with animal experiences, helping to encourage reminiscence and create happy memories for the future.

The team from Monach Farm brought down a selection of animals for the residents to interact with including sheep, goats and shetland ponies. Upon arrival, they were placed in pens in the garden so the residents could get comfortable with each of them. The team accompanied residents as they took part in some activities including feeding the goats from a bottle and petting the shetland ponies. Everyone loved the experience and they had great fun spending time with each of the animals.

After the outdoor session, the team took some of the animals through the care home and into some of the resident’s rooms. This gave those with physical disabilities the opportunity to meet the animals, creating a completely all-inclusive experience.

A huge thank you to the people and animals from Monach Farm for coming to host this session at Buchan house, we all had a great day and we look forward to your next visit!