Get ready to welcome the Year of the Rat

24 January 2020

Chinese New Year around our services

Dragons, lanterns, lucky envelopes and Chinese traditions are all featuring in our Chinese New Year celebrations around our services.

At our Parkhead Resource Centre in Ashington, our regular service users have enjoyed taking a glimpse at some Chinese traditions and shared their creative talents by making some pretty impressive paper lanterns, as well as a giant dragon to grace their walls.

To complete their warm welcome for the Year of the Rat, everyone is receiving a customary lucky red envelope containing a sweet surprise.

Residents at our Holy Cross nursing home in Sunderland are looking forward to a taste of the Orient with a Chinese banquet, complete with fortune cookies, and delving into their craft boxes to create their own paper lanterns.

Meanwhile, at our specialist Alan Shearer Centre in Newcastle, members, guests and staff have been busily making lanterns, too, in preparation for some Chinese lantern craft sessions this Saturday, 25 January.

And, as Burns Night is also fast approaching, you can even sample a little haggis when you come along, too.

The ‘make a lantern' activity is free for our Activity Centre members and you can ring our friendly recreation assistants on 0191 2678118 to book your place at one of two sessions – 12 noon until 1pm or 1pm until 2pm.

Kung Hei Fat Choy! Happy New Year!

Crafts and planting hint at springtime

21 January 2020

Indoor gardening at Holy Cross

Residents at our Holy Cross nursing home in Sunderland have made themselves a little taste of springtime to decorate their rooms.

With the help of Rebecca from Groundwork North East and Cumbria and the home's activities co-ordinator, Vicky, our residents produced some unique and beautiful planters before potting them up with flowers and herbs.

Using decoupage techniques to turn plain plant pots into cheerful containers, our residents then potted them up with pretty miniature roses, basil and parsley to create an attractive and fragrant display.

“As well as thoroughly enjoying the indoor gardening experience,” said activities co-ordinator, Vicky, “we were all totally absorbed in telling each other stories about our gardening and outdoor experiences from our younger days, too. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.”

- And there won't be a shortage of herbs to enjoy in any cooking they do either.

Margaret's wish comes true

14 January 2020

Kevin, Bev, carer Sasha and Margaret

A kind-hearted budgerigar enthusiast has helped to make a wish come true for one of our St Catherine's nursing home residents.

When 89-year-old Margaret asked for a budgie like the one she used to own, staff immediately got to work to see what they could do.

Although strict hygiene requirements meant a bird would be unable to stay, staff were sure a visiting budgie would still make her happy.

After a brief internet search, contact was made with secretary and treasurer of the Northern Budgerigar Society, Kevin Batey, who happily agreed to come along with not one, but four of his prized budgerigars.

“It's been fantastic to see Margaret with the budgies,” said the home's duty manager, Bev. “Once she'd made her wish known, we were determined to do our best to make it come true. I'd like to say a massive thank you to Kevin for giving up his time to bring along his beautiful birds. Margaret couldn't take her eyes off them and the visit clearly made her day.”

"It was a pleasure to help out," said Kevin, "and any time she'd like another visit, just get in touch."

Margaret had made her wish known by completing a ‘make my wish come true' request card, which every resident has in their room.

"Our room cards make it so easy to make a wish," added Bev, "and we're ready with our determination and imagination, whatever our residents wish for."

Music and laughter starts the new decade

3 January 2020

New Year celebrations

The dawn of a new decade was marked at our Holy Cross Nursing Home in Sunderland with a fun-filled evening of entertainment and merriment.

Our residents were joined by staff, relatives and visitors to welcome in 2020, starting with a performance by entertainer, Michael Stevens that brought laughter and an irresistible collection of songs to sing along to.

Afterwards, everyone chatted together over a buffet tea and raised a few glasses to wish each other a very Happy New Year.

“Our New Year's Eve celebrations went down a storm,” said the home's activities co-ordinator, Vicky, “and we plan on having many more fun-filled evenings throughout 2020.”

Christmas wishes

24 December 2019

Staff and residents at St Catherine's Nursing Home All staff and residents at our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle and Holy Cross Nursing Home in Sunderland would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Our residents enjoy carol singers a-plenty

19 December 2019

Residents enjoy the performance

When it comes to carolling at Christmas, residents in our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle just can't get enough.

Throughout December, students from schools around the diocese have been popping in regularly to entertain everyone with their singing, while staff from St Vincent's Diocesan Offices, located on the floor above the nursing home, brought their own mix of carols and Christmas music this week.

The carol concert had everyone joining in with classics such as ‘I Saw Three Ships', ‘White Christmas' and ‘It's the most wonderful time of the year' and residents particularly enjoyed a piece played on the Northumbrian pipes.

A little humour and some colourful outfits made sure everyone was filled with festive cheer.

“Our lounge was packed with residents enjoying the concert,” said St Catherine's manager, Gill. “We would like to thank everyone who took part for making our afternoon really special.”

Musical fun for the festive season

17 December 2019

Enjoying the entertainment

If there's one traditional Christmas outing that residents at our Holy Cross Nursing Home love, it's panto.

And this year was no exception as our staff accompanied small groups of our residents to see Robin Hood at the local Sunderland Royalty Theatre.

There was all the usual fun and farce, plenty of cries of ‘it's behind you!' and lots of laughter, as well as an opportunity to sing along with the cast – everything a panto fan could desire, in fact.

Our residents were in particularly good voice after enjoying a good old sing-song with Miss Vintage Twist the previous day.

The reminiscence singer and entertainer delighted everyone with a selection of their favourite songs from times gone by, featuring classics by artists such as the Andrews Sisters, Gracie Fields and Vera Lynn.

And, as it was another Christmas celebration at Holy Cross, Miss Vintage Twist made sure there was a good sprinkling of festive songs and carols to sing along to.

“Everyone is having a ball this Christmas,” said activities co-ordinator, Vicky, “and there's still a feast of festive treats to come!”

Packed house for children’s festive choir

5 December 2019

Residents watching the choir

Our lounge at St Catherine's nursing home in Newcastle was a very popular place to be when children from a local primary school arrived to sing.

Residents, relatives and staff gathered together to listen as students from St Bede's RC Primary gave a rousing performance of carols, hymns and popular Christmas songs.

‘Silent Night', ‘Jingle Bells' and the ever-popular ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas' got everyone in the festive spirit, with many residents joining in and continuing to sing snatches of the songs well into the evening.

The visit by St Bede's is part of a packed programme of events and activities planned for St Catherine's in the run-up to Christmas.

White Christmas comes early for our residents

4 December 2019

Michaela with one of our residents

Residents at our Holy Cross nursing home in Sunderland have enjoyed a white Christmas without a single snowflake falling.

Singer and entertainer, Michaela, performed her White Christmas show in the cosy comfort of our home's spacious activity room, where she invited everyone to join in with her collection of festive songs.

The mix of classic songs, carols and upbeat tunes made sure everyone had a fantastic time, with some of our residents getting up to perform alongside Michaela – much to everyone's delight.

“We had a fun-filled afternoon of song,” said the home's activities co-ordinator, Vicky, “and some of our residents even got out their dancing shoes to show off their moves. It was a joy to see everyone having so much fun.”

And there'll be plenty more happy times to share with the home's jam-packed Christmas schedule.

All cosy at Holy Cross

21 November 2019

A resident with her bird box

Residents at our Holy Cross Nursing Home in Sunderland have been helping to make sure the local bird population stays cosy this winter.

During a visit from the local branch of Groundwork, our residents were given lots of tips and practical help to make a collection of bird boxes to hang in the grounds of our nursing home.

Camouflaged with leaves and twigs, the new treetop homes provide a perfect place for birds to shelter in the winter and will, hopefully, be visited by birds looking to raise their young once spring returns.

To make sure their feathered friends have enough to eat during the harsh winter months, our residents also made bird feeders packed with grapes and cereal to hang beside the bird boxes.

So, as well as providing a happy, cosy home for our residents, Holy Cross is a perfect place for keeping the local birds feeling fine, too.