The Newcastle Abbeyfielder
Abbeyfield Newcastle News | October 2015

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Thank you all for the feedback from our first newsletter and we are delighted to be sharing our 2nd newsletter this year with you. We hope that you find the articles interesting and also informative.

We have been out and about a lot recently, visiting the City Hall, Tyneside cinema and a number of local attractions and those who have joined us have really enjoyed themselves. Due to their popularity we intend to build on these outings and organise more local activities so if you have any ideas on places to go or would like to join the trips please let us know as everyone is welcome.

The sale of Thorney Close is now complete after many months and has been bought by a local doctor and his wife and will continue as a family home. We will be reinvesting the proceeds of the sale back into the society to ensure that Abbeyfield Newcastle can continue to develop and grow so that we can continue to support our residents and elderly people in our local community.

We are looking forward to the coming months and the start of the festive season, and it is at this time that we should remember the people in our communities who are possibly lonely and feel isolated. To that end we will be looking to support, where we can, a national campaign about coping at Christmas which is aimed at bringing local lonely people in our community into our homes for lunch, companionship and a warm Abbeyfield welcome. 

For those of you who use social media can I encourage you to “like us” on Facebook and Twitter to help us raise our profile – more detail later in the newsletter.

I hope you are all well and I look forward to seeing as many friends and family as I can over the coming months. Please continue to give us feedback and comments as we truly value your thoughts.

Best wishes

John Connelly

News From Across OUR HoMes

Our Summer Garden Party

John Connelly chats with residents at our garden party

Residents, friends and family from our three houses got together for our annual summer party and, although breezy, thankfully the weather was on our side.

It was a great opportunity for old friends to catch up over a refreshing fruit punch and for the important people in our residents’ lives to get together and celebrate the Abbeyfield way of life.

The musical entertainment was provided by the Attic Band in our lounge whilst everyone enjoyed the lovely cocktails followed by a delicious afternoon tea baked by our talented chefs.

garden party montage
As part of our afternoon celebration John Connelly our CEO, together with Vee Wilkinson one of our volunteer Executive Committee members, presented a Long Service Award to Kath Brown. As many of you know Kath is the manager of our Grove house but you may not know she has been with us for 30 years – doesn’t time fly Kath!

We are so fortunate at Abbeyfield Newcastle for having such a committed team of staff and volunteers who go the extra mile to make a real difference to the lives of our residents.

News From Across OUR HoMes

A Trip to the Weeping Window at Woodhorn

Castle Farm residents and staff at Woodhorn

On a damp and wet Tuesday October morning three buses with 25 residents and staff on board, set off from The Grove and Castle Farm to visit the famous red poppies being displayed at Woodhorn Colliery Museum at Ashington.

The iconic sculpture of red, ceramic poppies which were first seen at the Tower of London last year to mark the centenary of the outbreak of WWI is now on a UK tour.  When we heard they were coming to Northumberland we jumped at the chance of taking our residents to see them.

By far one of our most popular outings to date, 15 residents together with relatives, staff and some of our volunteers signed up to come with us and not even the wet weather could dampen the breath-taking beauty of the sculptures.

Woodhorn visit montage

For some, it provided a chance to remember the war, what they were doing at the time and those people they had known who had been directly involved in the great wars and for others an opportunity to see something first hand that had captivated audiences from around the world.

We also went to see the permanent exhibition which depicts life amongst the mining community in Ashington in the mid 20th Century, which evoked lots of memories amongst some of our residents and certainly gave way to some good discussion.

Needless to say, we found time to visit the café…… no trip out would be complete without a nice cup of tea!

The poppies will be at Woodhorn until the 1st November 2015 before heading off to another location before finally being gifted to the Imperial War Museum.

News From Across OUR HoMes

Ye Shall Have a Fishy

Some of our residents were given a lesson in where their food comes from on a trip to North Shields' Fish Quay.

The group were shown some of the increasing number of exotic fish and seafood that are now readily available as well as finding out where some of their old favourites generally come from.

Kath Brown, manager at The Grove said: “Fish is definitely one of our most popular meals, we eat it a few times each week.  Typically we serve quite traditional fish such as cod, salmon and haddock but there is such a vast variety of fish now available that we decided to organise a trip for the residents to find out more."

Hugh Thomas Elliot, one of the residents at The Grove added: “It was fascinating to see just what sea food is now on offer.  There might not be that much fish actually landed in North Shields nowadays but the fish quay was still really bustling and the sun shone down for us."

“And a trip to the fish quay wouldn’t be complete without a portion of fish and chips so after a lovely stroll along the prom that’s exactly what we did!”

fish quay montage


Meet Kay…. Our volunteer and community development coordinator

We’ve appointed our first volunteer and community development coordinator in a bid to strengthen the support we provide our residents and the elderly people in the local community.

Kay Pryer, who some of you may well know as her mother Win has been a resident at The Grove for the past 13 years, has joined us to help develop the support we can offer to our own residents and other elderly people within the community.

“In my new role I will be looking at how we can support our volunteers and attract new ones so that we can ensure that their support continues across our homes, whilst also beginning to develop a community presence and programme." 

A host of volunteers at Abbeyfield Newcastle give up their time to enrich the life of our elderly residents and Kay is now looking at ways to better support them.

Kay, who previously worked as a volunteer coordinator at Age UK and as Cultural Community Development Officer at The Customs House said: “Volunteers lie at the very heart of Abbeyfield and I know from first-hand experience that the volunteers make such a huge difference to the lives of our residents. Whether it’s popping in for a cup of tea, fundraising, organising events or even helping to renovate and landscape our gardens, the support of the volunteers is integral to Abbeyfield’s success and to the happiness of our residents. 

As social isolation amongst our elderly is an ever growing issue and as a charitable organisation founded on the principles of helping to combat loneliness we are committed to looking at ways of extending our reach in to the wider community.  We aim to do this in many ways including an IT engage project.


Susan Fenton and her parents John and Joyce Cavell at Linden Road

Susan Fenton and her mum at Linden Road.

I have lived in the North East for the past 20 years whilst my parents lived in Kent. In recent years the physical distance between us became an increasing problem and after much consideration we collectively decided that a move to be closer to each other would be the best option.

"The house has a lovely homely feel - in fact my Mum says the rooms remind her of the house she grew up in as a child."

My Mother was very keen to be nearer me but my Father having lived all his life in his home town was naturally apprehensive about leaving. Having taken them for a visit to Abbeyfield Linden Road, they liked the idea of having the security of supported living, with staff on hand whilst still maintaining their independence and having their own front door and key.

The house has a lovely homely feel - in fact my Mum says the rooms remind her of the house she grew up in as a child. Mum and Dad have their own spacious lounge and a lovely sunny bedroom. Added to this they have the benefit of the communal living areas and the beautiful garden where they can chat to the other people living in the house.

I think for Mum it has been good no longer having to worry about the laundry and also cooking, as they have tasty home-cooked meals prepared for them each day. Added to this Dad no longer has the worry of maintaining a house and garden.

A supported house - particularly one located so close to the centre of Gosforth - provides the best of both worlds; with shops, hairdressers, cafes, banks and G.P surgeries on the doorstep, everything is accessible but it also has the advantage of caring staff to check on Mum and Dad and help them feel secure. For me, this is the biggest plus, knowing that they are safe and that there are such kind people looking out for them if anything should go wrong.

To find out more about our current vacancies click here. (opens in your web browser)


Join us on Facebook

facebook iconJust a reminder to visit our Facebook page- Abbeyfield Newcastle. The page provides us with another great platform to keep in touch.  We would welcome your contributions to the page; so if you have photos and comments that you are happy to share please post them.

We obviously take safeguarding and privacy seriously and ensure that we have all the correct permissions in place before posting any images on to our page, but if you would like to discuss this further, please speak to us.


Help us spread the word about Abbeyfield Newcastle!

ipad with facebook link instructions

Our recently relaunched site has lots of information and articles that we think will be interesting to many people who are considering residential care or supported sheltered housing.

We would like to ask you, as a subscriber to our newsletter, to help inform those who face the difficult decision of finding the right care home by sharing articles on your social media accounts. Fortunately, it is really easy to share!

Below each article on our website there are a series of social media buttons. Simply click on one of the buttons to share that article with your friends and family on your Facebook page or followers on your Twitter feed. With the click of a button you can help someone make the right decision in the search for a place with exceptional levels of care for loved ones and a real sense of community.


Jordan Lee

Jordan Lee, 16 is one of our youngest volunteers.  The student at The Royal Grammar School has joined the team at Castle Farm as a visiting volunteer.

As a volunteer, I help with activities such as morning exercises and I also spend time chatting with some of the residents. I decided to volunteer at Abbeyfield because I wanted to meet people from different age groups, and I was interested in what caring for the elderly was like, as I am interested in studying around the area of medicine in the future.

“I really enjoy listening to the residents about their previous experiences in life, and some of the residents and staff have said that they really appreciate my being there, which gives me great satisfaction."

I feel like volunteers at Abbeyfield play a really important role, even just as simply as providing companionship and the opportunity to speak to people from different generations - the residents definitely seem to enjoy the conversations. I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would and have definitely become a better listener which is an important skill to develop.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering at one of our homes, please speak to one of the house managers or contact us at  No matter how old you are, what skills you have or what limited time you can offer we would love to hear from you.


The Grove Residential Care Home

The Grove
The Grove is a splendid mixture of new and old. Originally a private residence, it retains the charm and warmth of a family home yet has been extended and refurbished to meet the needs of our elderly residents.

Our 32 spacious bed sitting rooms, each with its own locking door and en-suite facilities, provide a real home from home and are all fully wheelchair accessible.

All of our rooms are carpeted, have a fitted wardrobe, curtains and bed, but you are welcome to bring your favourite arm chairs and other small items to ensure it feels like home.

Our communal lounge, dining room and conservatory are comfortable and homely and many of our residents love to spend time here, chatting amongst themselves, watching TV, catching up on news or some prefer to sit quietly watching the world go by and looking out on to our beautiful, well-kept gardens.

Meal times form an important part of the day here at The Grove, which is why our chefs are committed to creating menus that are both delicious and nutritious to ensure you enjoy the food you are eating and are benefitting from a varied and balance diet.

Whilst The Grove has a warm and homely atmosphere, the rooms and communal areas are spacious enough so that you have company when you want it or peace and quiet when you don’t.

We offer a range of popular activities which you can choose to participate in if you wish; by far our most popular activity is the weekly chairobics session which is organised by a fitness expert specialising in elderly exercise. 

For us, the key thing is to recognise that everybody’s needs and interests differ, which is why we have tailored our home to respect and respond to your privacy and individual requirements to ensure that The Grove is very much your home.

Features of The Grove

  • 32 spacious, individual, single en-suite rooms
  • Long term care and respite care
  • 24 hour care
  • Beautiful sensory gardens
  • Delicious home cooked meals
  • In house chef to cater for special dietary requirements
  • Community minibus for group excursions
  • Care Quality Commission rating - Good


Lisa Bunting, Care Worker at Castle Farm

Lisa bunting and resident from castle farm

"I left a permanent position as a senior carer at a home in the west end of Newcastle to join the team at Abbeyfield Castle Farm.

I work on the bank so cover lots of different shifts, sometimes I work night shift and other times during the day so have the opportunity to work with the whole team.

Opportunities don’t come up that often at Abbeyfield so now my family are older and I have more flexibility in the hours I can work, I jumped at the chance of joining the team.

Abbeyfield has such a good reputation and it didn’t take me long to see why.  The house is such a warm and friendly place to be and it is clear that everyone really cares about each.  The staff and residents have a great relationship with each other and people genuinely go out of their way to go the extra mile. 

The house is pretty active and the residents get involved in a range of activities, some of which they organise themselves and others which we provide.  Trips such as the outing to see the poppies at Woodhorn Colliery are really popular and help to maintain residents’ connections with life outside of the home and are certainly a talking point over dinner!

Working in a care home can be challenging and can be an emotional rollercoaster, but the rewards of working with such lovely people definitely outweigh any difficulties."


Help Us to Plan More Exciting Trips and Outings and Activities Within Our Homes

It has been a busy old time at Abbeyfield Newcastle with lots of trips and activities for our residents to enjoy.   Feedback from residents, relatives and staff about the outings has been overwhelmingly positive so looking ahead to 2016 we are keen to develop a regular programme of activities.

To help us do so, we want to know what you would like to do and where you might like to go so we can organise things for everyone to enjoy.

We would like to know what you used to enjoy when you were younger; perhaps the music you listened to or the hobbies you took part in.

Please help us by completing our quick questionnaire, hard copies are available from all the homes.


Volunteers Needed As Escorts on Trips

In order to organise more trips we need a bank of volunteers to help escort residents.  We are looking for people who can give up their time to accompany us on trips to theatres, museums, parks etc.  Whilst we will always have staff on hand, all our volunteers will receive the necessary training to ensure that everyone is in safe hands.

If you are interested in getting involved please speak to one of the house managers or contact us