New year, new skill

3 January 2018

Residents enjoying their decoupage session

Residents at our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle have started the new year by expanding their creative talents.

With the help of our resident Activity Co-ordinator, Sarah, coffee time was transformed into a showcase for our residents' artistic skills as they explored the world of decoupage for the first time.

Period portraits, butterflies, flowers and cute animals were all carefully cut out to make a series of stunning and unique 3D pictures that many residents took away with them to display proudly in their rooms.

"It's lovely to see everyone so engrossed in learning a new skill," said Sarah. "With the oldest resident taking part heading for her 100th birthday this year – who says you're ever too old to learn something new!"

Festive get-together enjoyed by all

4 December 2017

Some of our residents enjoying their festive event

Families and friends of our St Catherine's residents gathered in our home's main lounge for a festive get-together, sharing seasonal treats of mince pies and mulled wine and enjoying each other's company.

An uplifting session of hymns and traditional carols was followed by all the fun and anticipation of a raffle with prizes of wine, fizz and boxes of chocolates on offer, then it was off to browse some of the seasonal gifts on display, many of them handmade made by our talented residents.

The relaxed get-together, surrounded by Christmas trees, lights and decorations, proved to be the perfect atmosphere for mingling and chatting to fellow residents and their relatives.

"Christmas is such a special time," said St Catherine's Activity Co-ordinator, Sarah Avery, "and it was lovely to see everyone coming together to share in the season of goodwill."

Lest We Forget

13 November 2017

Remembrance tributes around our services

Hundreds of people across our services have been involved in a series of thoughtful tributes to mark Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

Preparing for the weekend of commemoration, St Catherine's Nursing Home residents spent one of their regular craft sessions carefully making beautiful felt poppies with the help of their talented activity co-ordinator, Sarah. Dozens of the finished poppies were then used to decorate their dignity tree in the home's main entrance, giving everyone a special focal point to gather to remember all the men and women who have been killed in conflict.

Meanwhile, residents living in our Holy Cross Nursing Home enjoyed a day of remembrance with a war-time singalong. Visiting singer, Margaret Myers, had everyone joining in with popular songs such as 'Pack Up You Troubles', 'White Cliffs of Dover' and 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' before chatting to each resident about their war-time memories.

Adults with learning disabilities at our Parkhead Resource Centre in Ashington paid their respects by making a traditional poppy wreath for their dining room wall and took part in a discussion around the significance of the annual commemoration.

And there was no forgetting the importance of Poppy Day for anyone visiting our Alan Shearer Activity Centre. "Many of our members have been involved in making our poppy display in reception," said recreation assistant, Jan Rootham. "There was barely a space without a poppy when it was finished and it looked magnificent as well as being a fitting tribute."

Another milestone birthday for our oldest resident

3 November 2017

Mrs Mc's birthday celebration

One of our nursing home residents has enjoyed a special celebration with family and friends, arranged to mark reaching 106 years young.

Mrs Mc – as she is affectionately known - lives in our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle and is our oldest resident, although her zest for life often belies her years.

"It was really lovely having this little family get-together for my birthday." said Mrs Mc, who celebrated at St Cuthbert's Care's head office with three generations of her family - her daughter, granddaughter and great grandson. She also enjoyed meeting up with long-time friends, Barry and Sandra and volunteer, Iris, who is a regular visitor to her home in St Catherine's.

Among the many birthday cards proudly displayed on Mrs Mc's wall was one from her daughter in New Zealand and her third card and message from the Queen.

Skating memories frozen in time

24 October 2017

Gill and her treasured ice show programme

There is a rich history to be uncovered among our nursing home residents and some incredibly remarkable stories have come to light during conversations with our care staff lately.

Eighty-six year old St Catherine's resident, Gill Read, is proud to have shared a stage with 1948 Olympic skating champion, Barbara Anne Scott when she skated in the chorus for the 1950 production of Rose Marie on Ice at Harringay Arena in London.

A teenager at the time, Gill's days were long – sometimes performing three shows in a day – with late finishes, when it would be a scramble to catch the last train. Gill was then faced with quite a walk home from the station before she could finally call it a night and enjoy a well-deserved rest.

The long-running show has given Gill so many wonderful memories that she still treasures today – not least that it was when she met her husband, Michael Read, who was also performing in the chorus.

"Oh, he was quite annoyed at me at first," said Gill. "I was fairly new to performing and he was a seasoned professional, so I don't think he was very happy to have to skate with me."

However, love soon blossomed, helped along a little by Gill's mum who offered Michael a place to stay at the family home while he was performing in the show.

The match-making obviously did the trick because Gill and Michael were married in 1951.

To help keep all those memories alive, staff have framed a copy of her cherished programme from the show, which clearly shows Gill and Michael's name listed in the credits, for her to hang on her wall.

I heard it on the grapevine ...

11 October 2017

Resident Win with some of the grapes

The beautiful landscaped gardens at our St Catherine's Nursing Home are much loved and very well used by our residents, yet they still manage to reveal the odd surprise or two.

Now that the months of mists and mellow fruitfulness have arrived, residents overlooking one of St Catherine's garden areas have been delighted to find out that their tumbling, leafy view includes none other than a mature grapevine.

Hidden amongst a heady mix of clematis and honeysuckle, the vine is even offering up fruit, although the small berries are best left for the birds, it seems.

Win Taylor, whose room opens onto the garden area, was thrilled to see the little bunches of grapes up close, but was happy to pass on the taste test.

"I've heard they are quite sour," said Win, "but I'm still delighted to see them growing right outside my door. How many people can say they have a mini vineyard in their garden?"

Banking on having a good time

25 September 2017

Volunteers from Lloyds Bank at two of our services

When Lloyds Private Banking Group asked if we would like a visit from one of their teams, to meet some of our service users and lend a hand with activities, our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Nicola Milne, arranged a memorable day for them.

Back in May this year Lloyds volunteers helped transform the garden of our residential home in Alnwick, for adults with learning disabilities. This time though, they saw how we work to support people with very different needs.

Their day started in our Newcastle Nursing Home, St Catherine's, joining residents for one of their regular crafts sessions; this time, making personalised greetings cards. While the volunteers cut and glued and sprinkled glitter, our residents made the most of the chance to have a chat with some new faces.

After lunch, they took the short trip along the West Road to our Alan Shearer Activity Centre in West Denton, to roll up their sleeves and do some baking. Cookery is probably the most popular activity on offer in our Live and Learn skills sessions for adults with learning disabilities, and, when the volunteers arrived, the Centre's dedicated kitchen was full to capacity.

Nicola said, “I'd like to thank the Lloyds team for their enthusiasm and for engaging so warmly with all our service users. Everyone had a wonderful time and I hope this has inspired them to tell friends and work colleagues how rewarding volunteering can be.”

If you would like to find out about volunteering opportunities with St Cuthbert's Care, you can contact Nicola on 0191 228 0111 or email her at nicola.milne@stcuthbertscare.org.uk

Bubbles bring back childhood memories

30 August 2017

Sarah and residents enjoying the bubbles

After a busy morning of active armchair sports, our St Catherine's Nursing Home Activity Co-ordinator, Sarah Avery, found the perfect way to help our residents relax.

Once the games had all been tidied away and the friendly competition between residents put to one side, it was time for some music … and some simple special effects.

As everyone enjoyed joining in with the popular song, 'I'm For Ever Blowing Bubbles', Sarah produced a giant tube of bubbles, and, as the bubbles floated round the room, they had everyone smiling and remembering the simple pleasure of playing with bubbles as children.

"It was a fairly cheap way to keep us occupied as children, and quite magical," said resident, Isabelle Gora. "I think I've enjoyed it just as much today, though."

"I don't know what it is about bubbles that's so relaxing," added Sarah, "but it seems to have been quite therapeutic for everyone – including me!"

Sun cream and ice cream

11 August 2017

Residents enjoying the sun

In a rare moment of summer sun, many of our Holy Cross Nursing Home residents enjoyed getting outside to enjoy each other's company and soak up the pleasant view of the carefully tended grounds.

The sheltered patio at our Sunderland nursing home was just the place for a sunny get-together and a quick catch up and is a popular way for our residents to spend their time in the summer months.

"We haven't had many opportunities to sit and relax in the sunshine this summer, but it's one of our residents' favourite things to do," said the home's activity co-ordinator Kayleigh Duddin. "Everyone had a lovely time basking in the sun and, as well as making sure they had ample sun cream, we made everyone's day by serving ice creams, too."

Talents on show at our strawberry tea

8 August 2017

People enjoying the strawberry tea event

Summer get-togethers don't come much better than the annual Strawberry Tea event at our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle.

Our residents welcomed family and friends to the packed day of art, entertainment, fun and refreshments which gives everyone the chance to get together, relax and enjoy each other's company.

An exhibition of art in action saw our creative residents making striking pictures in keeping with the 'strawberry' theme and the home's corridors had been transformed into a mini art gallery to showcase their completed work.

Afternoon tea featured a delicious assortment of strawberry treats - from classic strawberry tarts to strawberry-based mocktails - which invited lots of positive comments and happy conversation.

After sharing fun and anticipation at the bottle tombola, it was time to unwind with a musical performance by singer, Christine Rosemond to bring the day to an end.

Operations Manager, Lesley Oliver said, "Our home was buzzing with activity and conversation and everyone had a marvellous time. The event is one of the highlights of our year and gives our residents the opportunity to proudly show off their talents and spend some quality time with visitors and fellow residents."