The Newcastle Abbeyfielder
Abbeyfield Newcastle News | March 2016

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As I look back over my first full financial year I can honestly say that I am proud of our achievements this last year. We touched on some of the key personal milestones last time, but I do feel that everyone has tried very hard and remained focussed in producing a good performance at the end of our current financial year, in often difficult times. So a big thank you to my team for all your efforts.

But what of the future? The market place is changing, with stringent Local Authority cutbacks and changes in legislation meaning we have to look closely at how we do business. However, we believe we are well placed to meet these challenges and I am continuing to meet potential external partners looking at possible new developments. We are keen to expand and grow and we are looking at several options that would fit with our strategic plan for the future of our Society. Thus far all discussions have been very positive and supportive, which is encouraging, and I will keep you all updated as to our progress in future newsletters.

On a personal note I am sure you will all want to join me in thanking Peter Fryer, recently a member of the Finance and Audit Committee, who has decided to stand down after over 50 years of volunteering. As many of you will know Peter has held a variety of positions within our Society since becoming a volunteer in 1966, and he has always been a model advocate of the ethos and values that we all hold dear. Just a thank you seems woefully inadequate to someone who has given over half their life in serving Abbeyfield Newcastle, but being the man he is, I know Peter will appreciate just that.

I would also like to thank Peter’s wife Vyvian for all her support over the years, partners support is so important to our volunteers and that importance is often overlooked.

Will you also join me in wishing Kay Pryer all best wishes for her future. Kay has been with us for 6 months in developing the Volunteer Co-ordinator role, but has decided to accept a permanent position working at Newcastle University. Kay will leave us at the end of March and I would like to thank her for all her hard work in developing the role and raising the profile of volunteering for our society. 

But we move on, and as you will see later there are some great things going on here at Abbeyfield.

So until next time… best wishes to you all.

John Connelly

News From Across OUR HoMes

Audrey and Alison

Grove resident, Audrey with her daughter Alison

In December 2013 we welcomed a new resident. Audrey had been in hospital and needed support before she could be discharged. Her daughters, Alison and Christine, set about looking for somewhere that Audrey could call home where her needs would be met. As Audrey has lived in Newcastle her whole life, and Alison lives in Gosforth, they decided to begin their search there. On visiting The Grove with its caring staff, traditional building and homely feel the sisters knew they had found their mother’s new home as it was clear from the first visit that the staff at Abbeyfield had a really caring, considerate and respectful approach to the residents.

Fast forward two years and Audrey is settled and happy. Her room has a lovely aspect overlooking the secluded side garden. The sheltered position attracts many birds to the bird table including blue tits, coal tits, woodpeckers and robins. Audrey’s favourite visitor though is a local squirrel which sits on a tree branch waiting for its opportunity to pounce onto the bird table to steal food.  “Sitting in my room I feel I’m just at arm’s length from the garden” she says. 

As well as enjoying the gardens with its different areas, Audrey also enjoys the activities on offer including the regular sing-a-longs with percussion and chairobics. Her weekly highlight is the arrival of the gorgeous flowers kindly donated by Sainsbury’s. Daughter Alison, on one of her regular visits, says ‘the atmosphere is welcoming and homely’, and is looking forward to enjoying the new garden area where she and her mum can potter in the fresh air doing some gentle gardening.


News From Across OUR HoMes

Respite breaks in Bamburgh

Castle Farm residents and staff at Woodhorn

Abbeyfield Armstrong House in Bamburgh offers respite breaks or longer holidays for older people in a secure and friendly environment, with staff on-site 24 hours a day and three homemade meals provided. 

The house is positioned in the centre of the traditional village with church, tearooms and pubs all within a short walk. All bedrooms are en-suited with most of them enjoying stunning views of Bamburgh Castle.  

Whether able-bodied or in need of extra support, a break at Armstrong House can be tailored to your needs. Accommodation available for people who want to bring their own carers or carers can be arranged for the duration of the visit. 

If you are interested in booking a break, please contact Paula Lingwood on 01668 214214.

News From Across OUR HoMes

The Grove Garden Project

There are changes afoot in The Grove gardens. Following kind donations from the family of a former resident we have been able to begin a garden project. In order to create a project that would provide the most benefit for residents a questionnaire was given to all in order that their thoughts might shape the project. Some residents wanted to enjoy the garden but not be involved however others wanted to be more hands-on. Others suggested we grow food to enjoy freshly grown produce. Raised beds and trugs were thought to best and most inclusive way of growing food, minimising as they do the need for bending and lifting. The four raised beds will provide a place where residents and their families can meet and enjoy the tranquil surroundings tucked away from the cold north eastern winds. The area is easily accessible from both sides of the home via level paving. Each bed will be developed along a particular theme, namely the seaside, alpine, heathers and scent which will hopefully bring back happy memories. There are also a selection of tubs and pots to be filled with plants. Some plants have already been bought or ordered but we also plan a trip to a local garden centre with residents so they can choose their own favourite plants.

Wooden trugs are positioned outside the kitchen area, with one being filled with a selection of herbs and the larger to be used for salad crop production. These are supported by two small lean-to greenhouses and a potting bench, to allow a succession of produce.  We have purchased a selection of seeds and have had some kindly donated. We also have a section of early cropping potatoes to be grown in sacks. This first year will be a learning process for what grows well and what is best enjoyed by our residents. 

Our two project boards will keep everyone informed when seed sowing, potting up and other gardening duties will be happening, everyone is welcome to come and help, choosing tools from our new shed, tucked away in the corner.

We are most grateful for the help from the Horticultural Skills Unit based at Hepscot Park, Stannington, Northumberland, who sent a team to build our raised beds. The Unit trains adults with learning difficulties to enable them to find fulfilment and develop their skills in horticulture. The unit is open to visitors and has an on-site cafe. 

It isn’t just these two areas that are being developed; a wildlife friendly garden will be developed as well as making the front garden more welcoming. Our next newsletter edition will expand on these as well as an update on the patio area and kitchen garden.

Mrs Coxon's 105th birthday celebration at The Grove

Mrs Elizabeth Coxon, of our Grove Care home, recently celebrated her 105th birthday. Following the opening of presents and enjoying the many flowers received, a birthday tea of champagne and cake was held in the conservatory attended several members of her family. 

Mother and toddler group visit

Residents of our Castle Farm Care home heard the patter of tiny feet recently when they welcomed a visit from a local toddler group.

Trinity Tots, the mother (and father) toddler group usually meet at Holy Trinity Church in Jesmond, not far from our home, on Fridays. The visit was arranged by Rosemary Rowe, a Castle Farm House Committee member who is also a member of Holy Trinity Church. Rosemary thought it might be nice to for the different generations to spend some time together. Ten tots arrived with their parents to enjoy an afternoon of fun and games with our residents. The afternoon was such a success a return visit was arranged. One resident commented that it had been years since she held a baby on her knee. 

Jan - Our Hairdresser

Jan has been coming to The Grove for 32 years and to Castle Farm since it’s opening. It all began many years ago when Jan worked at the local hairdressing salon in South Gosforth. A resident at our Grove care home wanted her hair styled but was unable to travel to the salon; Jan offered to visit and it snowballed from there. She visits both sites weekly and can do as many as 14 appointments in one day. All styles are catered for from a gentlemen’s trim to a lady’s full head colour or perm.

Popping into the hairdressing room at the Grove on a Monday morning you will find a hive of activity and lots of chat and laughter. ‘That’s why I love coming to Abbeyfield’ says Jan ‘the atmosphere is lovely; chatting to the residents and hearing all the stories. People have lead such interesting lives; at one point I was looking after 8 residents over 100 years old.’


Valentines Dance

Our recent Valentine’s Day celebration was a great excuse to get toes tapping and having a swirl on the dance floor. 


June Hornsby

June Hornsby, our house manager at Linden Road.

June and her husband Jim, returned to their native Newcastle in 2003 following a spell living in Allenby on the Solway coast in Cumbria. Although they loved living there Jim had secured a job in Sunderland teaching music and the commute was beginning to take its toll.  In the May of that year June took up a post as a carer at our Grove Care Home. Several months later she came upon an advertisement in the local paper for a House Manager at our Linden Road house. June felt that she would be suitable for the role having had experience working for the Cirenians in the past but had initial doubts about a ‘living-in’ position, also, they had just bought a house in Newcastle.  After much thought June applied for the post and was successful, so the house was rented out and herself and Jim moved into the flat on the top floor of the Abbeyfield house in Gosforth. Eleven years on they are still there. 

‘There are some negatives’, June says ‘you’re never really feel off duty, and I miss not physically going out to work, but these are more than outweighed by the positives.  Eating together at the same table makes it more like a family gathering than individual people’ 

The size of the house, with only six rooms, means June is more involved personally with our residents. June and her husband enjoy tending the garden along with one of our residents. It’s a quiet place to relax and enjoy the fruits of their labours.  The house is situated in a residential area and yet only a short walk to the shops in Gosforth.  

June and Jim’s daughter still lives in Cumbria and was recently affected by the floods in Carlisle. Although they were not themselves flooded the school her granddaughter attends was closed due to flooding. After speaking to her daughter June decided she needed to help the people of Carlisle, many of who had lost all everything. June said ‘it was heartbreaking seeing peoples’ belongings on the pavement outside their homes.’ A poster was put up in our three homes asking for donations of clothes and toiletries. When June collected them she was overwhelmed by the generosity of our residents and their families. Once collected they packed up the car and drove to the collection point at the University sports hall in Carlisle. ‘Jim couldn’t see out of the back window of the car, there were so many bags. I felt quite emotional handing them over in the vast hall. There were rows upon rows of tables stacked with clothes, toiletries and cleaning products. I saw one small boy collect a toy and being thrilled. It was so moving’. 


Castle Farm Residential Care Home

The Grove

Our purpose built residential care home is located near to the beautiful Jesmond Dene and is within easy reach of both Gosforth and Jesmond. Built in 1993 on behalf of Abbeyfield, we offer a fully accessible home from home for our 24 residents. All our rooms are equal in size, all en-suite and all have a view of our beautiful gardens, yet each one feels different, personalised with your own personal belongings and soft furnishing to ensure it feels like home.

Our long standing team of experienced carers, chefs and gardeners are on hand to meet your every need; offering 24-hour care, a range of organised activities, delicious home cooked meals, help and support to maintain relationships outside of the home or simply someone to talk to as often or as little as you like.

We recognise that everybody’s needs and interests differ, so have tailored our home to respect and respond to your privacy and individual requirements. We hold monthly resident meetings and encourage those residents who are interested, to contribute their ideas to the day to day running of the home, in terms of activities on offer, menus and food choices and organised excursions out of the home.

Our doors are always open to chat to residents, to visiting families and friends and to anyone starting to think about long term or respite care.

Features of Castle Farm

  • Purpose built, fully accessible single story home
  • 24 large, single en-suite rooms with bath and shower
  • Long term care and respite care
  • Beautiful sensory gardens
  • Delicious home cooked meals
  • In house chef to cater for special dietary requirements
  • Community minibus for group excursions
  • Hairdressing
  • A wide range of planned activities to choose from
  • Wi-fi enabled
  • Visiting GPs, district nurses and therapists

Volunteers at the heart of ABBEYFIELD NEWCASTLE

Volunteers wanted

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.

Can you spare a regular couple of hours to enhance the lives of our residents?

Volunteers are needed to escort our residents on trips to local attractions. 

We also need help at our Castle Farm home for those residents who are wheelchair bound who want to get out and enjoy the beautiful gardens.

Are you a keen gardener? If so, residents at our Linden Road house need your help to assist them to look after their garden.

If you can help with any of the above, or would like to volunteer in other ways, please contact the Administration Office at the Grove on 0191 285 7174.

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.


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.

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