Local letter writing initiative brings joy to Somerset Care residents

Local letter writing initiative delivers joy to Frith House residents

Local Somerset Care home, Frith House, played host to the launch of a new writing initiative designed to help people in the community who may be lonely, isolated or vulnerable.

Women Who Write (WWW) is a voluntary organisation, orchestrated by Helen Brodie, which harnesses the power of the written word and the simple joy of receiving a physical letter. Currently operated by a small group of women, but also keen to recruit men and children, the idea is to reach out to those in the local community who might benefit from additional engagement to support their wellbeing and encourage interaction. The delivery and collection service offers the scope to form a pen pal type arrangement, but replies are not required or expected.

The residents of Frith House were visibly thrilled to receive their letters and enjoyed exploring the contents. One of the core aims of the letters is to actively promote discussion, engagement and the opportunity to reminisce. Residents were delighted to share their correspondence with Frith House staff, volunteers from WWW, the Deputy Mayor and the Town Crier, who all enjoyed the morning and were on hand to support the project.

Vicki Mitchell, manager at Frith House, had nothing but praise for the initiative, “the residents’ reaction to receiving something as simple as a handwritten letter was tangible. For writing to have that impact; the ability to bring happiness into someone’s life, to provide that moment of warmth, acceptance and sense of belonging is evidence enough that this is a truly powerful tool.”

Somerset Care looks to embrace initiatives that further enhance the wellbeing of residents, which can be particularly prevalent for those living with dementia. Rekindling previous memories and experiences is a great way to help residents maintain a positive outlook and enjoy daily life.

Photograph: Group photo of the Women Who Write launch at Frith House care home.

Borough Care Homes celebrate being rated Good by CQC

All Borough Care Homes Rated Good By CQC

All of Borough Care’s homes for older people are rated as ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England. This follows inspections at Bamford Close, Bruce Lodge and Cawood House, which all recently received a ‘good’ rating. Borough Care is the largest not-for-profit provider of care for older people in Stockport and has eleven homes in the borough.

The CQC said of Bamford Close in Cale Green that: “The service had an open and supportive culture.” The CQC noted that: “People were supported to have maximum choice and control of their own lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests.” In its report for Bruce Lodge in Offerton, the CQC states: “Staff talked to residents with respect and attention. People’s dignity and privacy was respected by staff.” At Cawood House in Brinnington, the CQC observed that: “Staff displayed caring values; they treated people with kindness, dignity and respect during care delivery. People were cared for by staff who knew them well.”

Dr Mark Ward, CEO at Borough Care, says: “It’s great that the hard work and dedication of all our teams has resulted in each of our homes now being rated as good by the Care Quality Commission. We have been working hard to achieve a good rating across all of our homes and I’m pleased everyone’s effort and commitment has been rewarded. We will continue to strive to deliver the very best care for every resident. We understand choosing a care home is a big decision and it’s important to make the best choice for a loved one. At Borough Care we recognise that every resident is unique and should be treated as such. Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all option, our staff take time to find out what each and every person loves so they can deliver the care and support residents need to continue to live fulfilled and valuable lives.”

Kate Silver named Director of People at The Royal Star & Garter Homes

The Royal Star & Garter Homes has appointed Kate Silver as its Director of People.

Kate will start in her new role on 19 August, replacing Director of Human Resources Siobhan Creighton, who is retiring after almost two decades with the Charity.

The Royal Star & Garter Homes cares for ex-Servicemen and women and their partners living with disability or dementia, from three homes in Surbiton, Solihull and High Wycombe. Its administrative office is in Hampton, Middlesex. In total the Charity has over 340 staff which includes nurses, carers, housekeepers and dedicated multi-disciplinary teams in each of the Homes. This will increase to nearly 400 once the High Wycombe Home, which opened in April, is fully occupied.

Her new role will ensure that Kate continues to work closely with the military. She joins The Royal Star & Garter Homes from the Ministry of Defence, where she has worked for four years – most recently as HR Deputy Director and HR Chief Operating Officer. Prior to that Kate worked for the Cabinet Office as Programme Director, where she was responsible for all work on collective leadership.

Away from work, Kate has been involved in the RAF Air Cadets for 20 years. She was a Commissioned Officer for 18 years and is Chair of Trustees of her local squadron. Her parents are still active in the Air Cadets, and her husband runs the 615 Volunteer Gliding Squadron at Kenley Aerodrome.

She said: “I’m very excited about working for The Royal Star & Garter Homes. Their values resonate with me and I am looking forward to working with a team which strives to live by these every day.

“I’m eager to visit all the Homes and I’m ready to get started working with people across the organisation to maintain a great environment. I have visited the Surbiton Home already and found it humbling yet very uplifting, particularly seeing the passion and dedication of the staff and volunteers.

“I share a sense of duty and pride in service with my Military colleagues present and former and I look forward to maintaining that connection.

“I am excited about the challenge and am looking forward to being part of the team as, together, we take the next step on the journey.”

Andy Cole, Chief Executive at The Royal Star & Garter Homes, said:

Vic's summer reading list part two...

Heading off for a summer break? I thought I would share with you some of my top summer reading – just in case you find yourself drifting away from a daily dose of social care!

Focus on the future

Having spent the last two years plus waiting for the government to provide the elusive green paper, many of us feel cheated of the opportunity to properly discuss the future of social care – however, this has not stopped the growing body of work that we hope will inform any future plans. Here is just a brief snap shot of some perspectives – enjoy!

We have been waiting a long time to hear more about how the Industrial Strategy will take forward its focus on Ageing and The Healthy Ageing Grand Challenge fund has finally launched this week. Alongside this we have a new document from the Centre for Ageing Better which give some further insight into the direction of travel. Their new report Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF): Healthy ageing innovation and investment in the UK provides a discussion of the current ageing innovation and investment landscape and the current market opportunities and challenges. It offers reflections on where further investment and innovation is necessary and proposes how the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund can fill identified gaps and complement existing initiatives.

Social care future – These are an excellent series of blogs that have stemmed from work led by Martin Routledge and colleagues at In Control, amongst others. I think that the blogs give such a fresh perspective on how the social care of the future should be co-produced and co-delivered. Work your way through some real treats over the summer to give both fresh perspective and fresh hope around the level of commitment to really shift the narrative around care.

For those of you with real space in your suitcase – there is a bonanza of information from the Kings Fund. They have provided us with a fascinating webinar with Sally Warren (Kings Fund), Sir Andrew Dilnot and Emily Holzhausen (Carers UK) who debate the history of social care reform, and why successive governments have struggled to put new systems in place. There is then a blog by Sally Warren where she calls for the new PM to apply more haste, and less speed to his commitment to ‘fix’ social care, and a potted history of all previous reform undertaken.

On top of the overview from the Kings Fund about the possible response to social care policy – there are a couple of other documents that have come out in the last six months that give some potential insight into government thinking. The first of these was released in April this year, entitled Fixing the Care Crisis by Damian Green. Here he seeks to develop an approach to social care funding that aligns it with an insurance based approach, a model mooted to be favoured by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

The second is the report by IPPR, There is an alternative: ending austerity in the UK which came out in July this year, offering a perspective on the need for a range of universal public services, including the introduction of free personal care for all over 65’s. This approach is said to be favoured by the new leader of commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Released in paperback form in 2011, Intelligent Kindness: reforming the culture of healthcare; is a powerful approach to healthcare reform. John Ballatt and Penelope Campling argue that the NHS is a system that invites society to value and attend to its deepest common interests. It has been described as a vital expression of compassionate practise, and one that can improve if society, patients and staff can reconnect to these deeper values. To do so will improve quality and patient experience, as well as morale, effectiveness, efficiency and value for money.

And last but by no means least; The Missing Peace by Ian Donaghy. We were delighted to have Ian join us at our Managers Conference last year, his inspiring blend of experience, knowledge and sharing of people’s stories was a winner. He has brought these attributes together in his book on death and dying.

So – with that – I shall dust off my flip flops – and head to the beach – towing my reading trolley behind me…


Vic's summer reading list part one...

Heading off for a summer break? I thought I would share with you some of my top summer reading – just in case you find yourself drifting away from a daily dose of social care!

Digital Diaries

The fast paced shift around digital transformation means that there is no time to spare in keeping on top of that digital shift. Some useful documents that will be making their way into my holiday luggage include:

Evidencing the need for better data in care is a subject close to my heart. We know there is excellent practice out there, but we really struggle to evidence this in a coherent way. Dot Everyone has produced a new overview paper entitled Better Evidence for Care – which provides a useful overview. In addition, Future Care Capital have produced Unleashing the power of health and care data looking at the need to support data driven service change and improvement.

A window into the potential of technology to transform lives was provided recently by HfT who launched Improving Outcomes, enhancing care; assistive technologies and case for a sector deal for Learning Disability sector. In this they argue that by unlocking the potential of assistive technologies, we believe we can stimulate investment in future services and enhance the care and support that providers are able to offer.

There is a new trade body on the block, CASPA, who have come together as care software suppliers. At the recent Health Plus Care trade show they launched their new White Paper offering guidance on the adoption of Electronic Care Management Systems – more details can be found here.

Finally – for those with a look to the future around the workforce – whilst not care specific – there is some useful insight from Eric Topol. His publication earlier in the year, ‘Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future’ has some gems which can enable read across to the requirements for the care sector. I know that one of my colleagues, Claire Sutton, is itching to get her hands on his latest publication, Deep Medicine, which will look at the role that Artificial Intelligence can play in the transformation of healthcare.

Learning from experience

In the last few months we have been getting to know the new Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni. She has been outlining her priorities for care, and we really welcome her strong focus and commitment to co-production. With that in mind – some thoughts on reading around this area:

The voices of older people are often not as strong in co-production debates, and therefore this latest publication promoted by the Housing Lin is very welcome. The report is entitled Championing the Voices of Older People in Greater Manchester – a Guide to Participation and reflects on wide-ranging discussions and makes recommendations to ensure good participation for older people in relation to attitude, process and practicalities.

I am a sucker for a great title, and this one has really piqued my interest. Social Work, Cats and Rocket Science tells stories of just how powerful social work can be and includes stories drawn from front line practice, ranging from first interviews through to complex decision-making.

It has been great to see both the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Care Minister make reference to the refreshed edition of Making it Real. This vital set of resources from Think Local Act Personal provides an invaluable framework of how to do personalised care and support. Great chance to refresh your own understanding of this publication and way of life over the coming weeks.

So – with that – I shall dust off my flip flops – and head to the beach – towing my reading trolley behind me…


Lights, Camera, Action at Avante Care & Support

Lights Camera Action!

Residents and staff at Parkview care home enjoyed a morning of ‘lights camera and action’ when a BBC film crew visited the home.

Residents at the home have recently been enjoying visits from Denise Russell and her reborn doll collection. Denise has been taking the dolls into the home for residents to hold. It has been observed by staff on a
number of occasions the positive impacts the dolls have on people living with dementia and the calmness it can bring just by holding a reborn doll.
BBC film crew visited Parkview care home to follow Denise Russell, her reborn baby dolls and collection of refurbished Silver cross prams.

The BBC crew captured the residents with the dolls and interviewed Annette, Denise and family members who offered to share their observations of the positive impact these dolls have had with their loved ones.

A reborn doll is a manufactured doll that has been transformed by an artist to resemble a human infant with as much realism as possible. Reborn dolls are also known as lifelike dolls or reborn baby dolls.

Denise and Annette Kelly, Activities Coordinator, plan regular visits with the dolls as they have proved a popular activity with some of the residents at the home. Annette said, “Since the very first visit some residents have
taken a shine towards them and look forward to holding the dolls and pushing the prams. We always explain the dolls are not real but as
soon as we hand the dolls over, residents cradle the doll in their arms as if it’s real. One lady called Mary will often sing to the dolls whilst another lady enjoys pushing a doll in a pram around the grounds of the home.”

Avante Care & Support
De Gelsey House
1 Jubilee Way
Kent, ME13 8GD

You will be able to watch the series on Inside Out during October 2019. For more information please email Lyndsay Hopper, Marketing Manager

To find out more about Parkview care home and the care services it provides please call Home Manager on 0208 3037889.
Parkview, 105 Woolwich road, Bexleyheath, DA7 4LP

NCF welcomes new PM focus on Adult Social Care

NCF were delighted to hear that in his opening address, the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, took personal responsibility for fixing the social care crisis. His acknowledgement that this is a key domestic priority is encouraging, alongside the recognition that the solution to addressing this needs to be found now.

Reporting on the welcome focus on Adult Social Care from the Prime Minister, Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum, said;

“It is great news that Boris Johnson recognises the importance of social care and the need for immediate action. We have waited over two years for this government to produce a reform document, and these were not two years we had to spare. ”

She continued;

“The PM says he has a detailed plan to address social care – and we look forward to understanding as soon as possible what that looks like – and how it will address immediate requirements – as well as looking towards a long term solution for future funding for all adults. It is critical that the plan put forward addresses the agenda of people – not just that of political expediency.”


Notes for Editors:

The National Care Forum (NCF) represents the interests of not-for-profit health and social care providers in the United Kingdom. The NCF has been promoting quality care through the not-for-profit care sector for over 25 years and is a leading voice in the sector.

The NCF is governed by our Board of Directors and assisted by the NCF staff team, headed by our Executive Director, Vic Rayner. We keep our members up-to-date with news and developments in the care sector and provide opportunities to meet and share ideas and best practice through our regular forum meetings, annual conferences and events, membership benchmarking surveys plus our highly valued weekly newsletter.

NCF is dedicated to representing members, having their voices heard by the decision-makers. We ensure member interests are represented at all levels and are in constant contact with government departments, politicians and the media to ensure their message gets across. Together we have a stronger voice!

Contact us

National Care Forum
4th Floor
Friars House
Manor House Drive

Tel: 02475 185524
Find out more about the National Care Forum
@NCFCareForum | @vicrayner | @NCF_Liz

New management team announced for new WCS Care care village

New management team announced for WCS Care’s Woodside Care Village in Warwick

WCS Care’s pleased to announce the new management team who’ll be responsible for running its £7.5 million care home in Warwick, when it opens in the Autumn.

Samantha Stuart has become Home Manager at Woodside Care Village – a care home community village for 72 residents including older people and people with dementia – on Spinney Hill, while Lorraine Herbert has taken up the post of Deputy Home Manager.

Starting her career in care at 18, Samantha began a degree in nursing before switching to domiciliary care. Following a spell working nights at a care home before returning to home care, Samantha moved to WCS Care two years ago to manage Fairfield in Bedworth, where she’s worked since.
Lorraine joined WCS Care in 2012 with similar roles at Drovers House in Rugby and Four Ways in Leamington Spa.

More recently, Lorraine was the operational lead during the set up of Castle Brook’s successful partnership with South Warwickshire Foundation NHS Trust before becoming a Care Manager at the Kenilworth home.

When it’s finished, Woodside Care Village will feature small, family-sized households for six or seven people with similar interests and backgrounds.
Designed by Warwick architects Robothams and built by Coventry-based Deeley Construction with support from local contractors, the new home will encourage people to spend more time outdoors, which has benefits to health and wellbeing.

External walkways will replace internal corridors and an open-air plaza will provide easy access to central shops and outdoors features; all designed to help people maintain a familiar life.

Samantha said: “I’m delighted to be leading the team at Woodside Care Village as it develops into a bustling community, full of life and purpose. People will be able to carry on enjoying what they’ve always done like pop to the shops, watch a film at the cinema, do their laundry, look after the garden, or simply sit in the café to watch the world go by – all within a safe, secure environment where residents have access to the care they want.”

She continued; “With features like mini golf, our side-by-side bike-for-two and an outdoor gym, there will also be plenty of opportunities to try something new.’ And technology that integrates into daily life without being intrusive will have a place too, as Lorraine added: ‘We’re installing a host of new and existing technology at Woodside Care Village including circadian lighting and acoustic night-time monitoring, which can help improve sleep and have a positive impact on health and wellbeing. Smart phone apps connected to mobile care monitoring will mean carers spend more time with residents. It’s linked to a Relatives’ Gateway, where people can check and interact with their loved one’s care 24-hours-a-day, wherever they are with an internet connection.”

Christine Asbury, WCS Care’s Chief Executive, said: “Samantha and Lorraine are very experienced WCS Care Managers who are passionate about our ambition of making every day well lived for residents, so we’re pleased by their appointment to Woodside Care Village.”

She continued; “They’ll be the face of the new home, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to meet them before our doors open, at our Marketing Suite in the coming weeks and elsewhere in the community.”

To find out more about WCS Care, visit www.wcs-care.co.uk find us on Facebook or add us on Twitter – @WCS_Care

Greensleeves Care opens its 25th care home!

Greensleeves Care opens its 25th care home

Greensleeves Care is proud to announce it has reached its “silver goal” with the opening of its 25th care home in the historic town of Ely in Cambridgeshire. The Orchards, a state-of-the-art care home, will provide the highest quality residential and dementia care to the local community in Ely and the surrounding villages.

The 66-bed brand new care home features a number of facilities including a resident’s cinema, a physiotherapy room, several comfortable lounges, a library, family room, coffee bar, sky bar, landscaped gardens and generous parking. Residential care and specialist dementia care will be provided in separate parts of the home for the benefit of residents.

Greensleeves Care is one of the most respected care charities in the United Kingdom. The charity has been providing award-winning, 24-hour care and support to older people across England for over 20 years.

Greensleeves Care has maintained a number of principles over its history, from which it has never wavered. The staff never forget they are guests in the residents’ home and they consider ourselves privileged to share those homes with them. Everyone at Greensleeves lives by this ethos. It empowers the residents to influence and drive the decisions that impact their lives.

Paul Newman, Chief Executive at Greensleeves Care, said: “Greensleeves Care is already active in Cambridgeshire and the East of England area. We look forward to introducing our award-winning care and support for older people in the Ely area. As well as caring for 66 residents, we plan to play an active role in the local economy, creating over 100 new jobs, welcoming a variety of local volunteer groups and charities to the home and supporting the local community with dementia cafes“.

NCF Rising Stars meet with Care Minister

On the 16th July 2019 the latest cohort of NCF Rising Stars were invited to attend a roundtable with Care Minister Caroline Dinenage MP. This group of leaders within the care sector had been selected to be Rising Stars by their organisations. New to management within their organisation, they had been identified as real movers within their teams who are committed to creating change and leadership.

The Minister was very interested to hear about the managers’ career to date – with many sharing their story of having joined the organisations as care workers, bank staff or cleaners – and having moved their way up through the career ladder in care. In addition, there were opportunities to talk about the innovations that managers had in place to support the delivery of great care and the challenges that they faced in their day to day work. They were able to provide her with a true picture of their day to day experience as a manager – sharing their ambitions for their services and the sector as a whole.

The Care Minister reflected on the recent recruitment campaign #everydayisdifferent and how strongly she felt about the central role of care in supporting people to live as independently as they can, with a personal approach sitting right at the core. She complimented the managers on their infectious passion and drive for delivering care. She noted how delighted she had been to spend time with the leaders of the future.

Rising Stars were drawn from the following organisations:
Abbeyfield Society, Amica Care Trust, Avante Care and Support, The Fremantle Trust, Friends of the Elderly, GuildCare, NorseCare, Optalis, Pilgrims’ Friends Society, The Salvation Army and St Monica Trust.

If you have any questions relating to the NCF Rising Stars programme, please contact [email protected]