Poppies to remember

11 November 2019

Poppy tributes

Around our charity, our staff and service users have commemorated Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.

Residents and staff came together in our Newcastle nursing home, St Catherine's, to prepare for the commemorations by making dozens of hand-crafted poppies to hang on their dignity tree at the entrance to the home.

Volunteer, Michael, then led a special Armistice Day prayer group for our residents who were able to observe the two minutes' silence together in the home's chapel.

Members and guests at our specialist Alan Shearer Activity Centre also paid tribute to our war heroes with their own poppy crafts and have helped our talented recreation assistants to create a stunning poppy display for the entrance to the Centre.

Included in the design is a verse from the well-known poem, For the Fallen, by Robert Laurence Binyon, as shown in our photo.

We will remember.

Bonfire night was better without the bangs

6 November 2019

People enjoying Bonfire Night

Staff and service users across our charity got together to enjoy a series of brilliant Bonfire Night celebrations – without a single firework being lit.

At our Holy Cross Nursing Home in Sunderland, our residents had great fun re-living their childhood by making a guy and enjoyed a spectacular firework display on the big screen in the warmth of their activities room. The cosy atmosphere was boosted with a Bonfire Night feast of jacket potatoes with warming chilli con carne or hot dogs, followed by some pretty bonfire-themed cupcakes.

Tasty treats took centre stage for our St Catherine's Nursing Home residents in Newcastle, too, with a delicious collection of chocolate covered ‘sparkler' marshmallows and slices of traditional toffee apple. The tasty treats evoked lots of memories that our residents shared about their childhood Guy Fawkes experiences.

Over in Ashington, regulars at our resource centre for adults with learning disabilities, Parkhead, proudly showed off their massive firework artwork and enjoyed home-baked, firework-themed cupcakes and scones.

A fantastic time was had by all, and no-one missed the bangs!

It’s beginning to smell like Christmas

4 November 2019

Stirring the festive ingredients

Residents at our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle have enjoyed a cookery master class that had everyone recalling special Christmas memories.

Led by Lesley, who works in the charity's head office above the nursing home and is a dab hand at baking, the cookery session was a fragrant reminder of the times our residents prepared festive feasts for their family.

Ingredients of mixed fruit soaked in brandy, nutmeg, lemon and apple all reminded our residents of baking Christmas puddings and cakes and many a story was shared together.

And there couldn't be a Christmas mixture prepared in our home without everyone taking a turn to stir everything together - even our staff.

The mincemeat is now maturing in St Catherine's kitchens where it will provide a delicious filling for our residents to bake sweet mince pies in the weeks to come.

Age is just a number for Mrs Mac

31 October 2019

Mrs Mac with her birthday cake

A resident in our St Catherine's Nursing Home has enjoyed her 108th birthday surrounded by family, friends, fellow residents and staff.

Affectionately called Mrs Mac, our home's oldest resident spent an afternoon enjoying her celebrations in the large lounge, which is the hub of the home.

Residents sang a round of ‘Happy Birthday' and toasted her good health with sherry, but it was strictly a milky coffee for Mrs Mac.

Among some of the prized gifts she received were a card and a telegram from the Queen and special cards from her daughters, Pat, and Maureen, who lives in New Zealand.

And she wasn't forgotten as a valued boss either, with cards from some of her ‘girls' from back in the days when she worked as a supervisor at the Co-operative store in Newcastle.

Born in 1911, Mrs Mac has seen two World Wars and lived through an era that saw the birth of the National Health Service, the discovery of penicillin and the invention of TV.

Fright-fully happy Halloween

30 October 2019

Halloween around our services

Many of our service users are taking full advantage of this spook-tacular time of year to dust off their creative side.

Around our services, pumpkins have been carved, dark and delicious chocolate spider cakes baked and some big and bold Halloween masks moulded into shape.

And it hasn't stopped there. Activity rooms have been strung with cotton cobwebs and decorated with all things creepy and gore-geous so, when Halloween comes around, guests and visitors, staff and fellow service users can all enjoy the occasion to the full.

Our photo montage shows just a fraction of the fang-tastic fun everyone's been having with the preparations.

Health and wellbeing day for our residents

11 October 2019

Enjoying a foot spa

Residents at our Holy Cross nursing home in Sunderland enjoyed a large helping of relaxation to mark World Mental Health Day.

The home's activities co-ordinator, Vicky, made sure everyone felt well and truly pampered by offering a little TLC for both body and mind.

Feel-good treats on offer included foot spas, foot and hand massages, nail treatments and lots of warm conversation and laughter. Accompanied by soothing music and plenty of tea, coffee and chocolates, everyone soon felt beautifully relaxed.

After enjoying a soothing foot spa, resident, Maureen said, “I've felt really spoiled today and my legs and feet are lovely and tingly.”

Memories and music make for a joyous afternoon

2 October 2019

Singing for the Brian performance

Residents at our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle have thoroughly enjoyed a specialist performance which mixes music, fun and theatre.

A visit by John Casey's Singing for the Brain performance saw our home's spacious lounge packed with residents, staff and visitors – all singing along together and reminiscing to songs and projected photographs from yesteryear.

The performance was fun for everyone and designed especially for people with dementia, stimulating memories through music in a happy, social setting - and our residents certainly made the most of the vibrant atmosphere.

Waving Union Jacks and joining in with classics like 'Pack up your Troubles' and 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary', enthusiastic singing could be heard throughout the home.

The catchy tunes were being hummed right into the evening and quite a few happy memories were shared, too.

Residents add their own twist to World Maritime Day

30 September 2019

Residents with their lighthouses

Our Holy Cross nursing home residents took a trip back in time and honed their creative skills to mark World Maritime Day.

With our Sunderland home barely a stone's throw from the seaside, many of our residents had fond memories to share about times they spent at the beach with their families. The River Wear had also played an important role in many of their lives, so there were plenty of stories told about the town's great shipbuilding heritage, too.

With the maritime scene set, it was time for our residents to show off their crafting talents as they carefully constructed impressive miniature lighthouses from paper plates, drinking cups, paint and battery-operated tea lights.

"It was a lovely day," said the home's activities co-ordinator, Vicky. "Everyone was thrilled with the little lighthouses and they made gorgeous centre-pieces for our evening meal when we enjoyed a tasty fish and chip supper by the glow of their lights."

Enjoying the warmth of friendship and sunshine

28 August 2019

Our residents enjoying the sun

It was ice creams and parasols all round for some of our sun-loving residents living in our St Catherine's nursing home in Newcastle.

As another sunny day warmed up the home's pretty courtyard garden, staff and residents gathered to chat and catch up in the cool shade offered by the patio parasols.

"The garden had a lovely, continental feel," said duty manager, Jacqui, "with everyone enjoying each other's company and some refreshing ice creams or cheese and soft drinks."

Even our oldest resident at 108 enjoyed a lolly in the soothing sunshine and being surrounded by family and friends.

Summer BBQ has a Hawaiian flavour

27 August 2019

Our summer BBQ get-together

This year's summer event at our Holy Cross nursing home in Sunderland had a positively tropical theme – both inside and out.

With blistering temperatures outside, everyone gathering to join our residents and staff at their Hawaiian-themed BBQ was happy to bask in the cooler temperatures of the indoor event, but no-one missed out on the tropical carnival atmosphere.

Adorned with colourful lei flower garlands on arrival, there was plenty for everyone to enjoy, starting with a castaway rum punch to get the party started and an impressive selection of tempting treats to choose from - like these amazing beach scene jelly trifle pots. Surrounded by Hawaiian-themed artwork, palm trees and tropical fruit, Sunderland seemed a million miles away.

With some cool summer songs from entertainer, Christine Rosemond, our residents relaxed with a lazy afternoon interval before it was back to the excitement of raffles and prizes and a delicious tea-time BBQ.

"It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves so much," said our home's activities co-ordinator, Vicky. "There were woops of delight when they saw and tasted some of the treats on offer. We can't wait for our next party!"