29

Jul

Anna’s 89 mile charity ‘memory walk’ to celebrate beloved dad

Our friend Anna Milton Lewis has completed an 89 mile walk in memory of her dad.

Douglas, who spent 18 months living with us, loved the countryside of Staffordshire and Derbyshire.  He spent many happy years in the area, exploring with his wife, Mary.

Douglas passed away at the age of 89 in February of this year.

Anna planned the walk to raise £890 for The Alzheimer’s Society and to revisit the local spots her dad loved so much.

“As a young couple, Dad and Mum used to cycle all over,” remembered Anna. “He found this area very beautiful and has such lovely memories of particularly Dimmingsdale and Alton where he lived for a while.

Following memories

“I wanted this walk to connect the places in which he lived, loved, laughed and ultimately died.  I followed memories and stories told before vascular dementia took its toll.”

Anna with three staff members at Barrowhill Hall
Anna with some of our staff at Barrowhill Hall

Anna’s first stop was at Barrowhill Hall, 15 miles into her walk.  It was wonderful to see her and offer her a well-earned rest before she set off again.

“He loved the view from the home,” said Anna.  “He would sit with his binoculars and watch the birds, animals and admire the countryside.”

Anna’s route then took her through Alton, Oakamoor, Waterhouses, Bakewell, Chatsworth, Matlock and Carsington.

She completed her walk at the top of Thorpe Cloud with her mother and members of her family down below at Dovedale.

“I then decided to walk home from Dovedale as a personal challenge for myself,” said Anna.  “This was very very hard going (23miles!) but I walked in my kitchen door 120 miles after I had left it!”

Fabulous fundraising

She smashed her fundraising target by raising almost £2,500.

“My father loved being out in the countryside.  My hope is the money I raise will help people like him to continue to enjoy the benefits of the wonderful outdoors, where lost memories don’t matter because the distractions of the ‘here and now’ are just too great.”

29

Jul

Barrowhill Hall serves up tennis treat in time for Wimbledon

We ‘served up’ a treat of tennis on the lawn for our residents, in celebration of Wimbledon.

The grass court at the front of Barrowhill Hall was put to good use by members of Denstone Tennis Club.  Our residents enjoyed Pimms and strawberries while they watched the action.

Play is restored

The court, which hadn’t been used for a number of years, was made playable again thanks in part to Old Denstonian, Max Barker.

Max was a senior school boarder and a member of Woodard House at the College.  He stayed on in boarding after his A-Levels and spent time each weekday volunteering with us.

He gained valuable experience in support of his ambitions to study medicine.  And he also spent time working with the maintenance staff to re-instate the tennis court.

Head of Senior School at Denstone College, Nic Horan, was part of the Denstone Tennis Club’s men’s team.

“It’s been a great deal of fun to play up here,” he said, “especially knowing that one of our students had a role to play in making this possible.

“I don’t think we were able to offer the same quality of tennis as the professionals at Wimbledon but we were certainly entertaining!”

Two tennis players on the grass court in fron of Barrowhill Hall care and nursing home
Denstone Tennis Club get play underway on the newly restored court

New balls please!

Barrowhill Hall has had a tennis court since it was a private family home in the nineteenth century.

Because it has been little used in recent years it was in poor condition.  But now we want to see more clubs using it.

“We want to thank Denstone Tennis Club for coming to play,” said home manager, Matthew Whitfield.

“Now that the court is in good condition, we want to invite clubs in the community to come and use it.

“It’s a stunning spot to play a match and our residents love being so close to the action – it’s quite a different experience to sitting inside watching tennis on the television!”

04

Jun

Manager Matthew ‘chats’ over coffee

Readers of the Ashbourne News Telegraph will know a lot more about our manager, Matthew, after he appeared in the paper’s ‘Coffee Break’ section.

Matthew, who’s originally from Stafford, shared a little bit about his background and the legend behind Muddy Shoe day!

We learned about his extremely varied taste in music, from Bluegrass and folk to classical and heavy metal, and his love of food.

“The one thing I can never refuse is roast lamb!” he said.

Cutting from the Ashbourne News Telegraph featuring home manager, Matthew Whitfield
Manager Matthew shares a little about himself in the Ashbourne News Telegraph

He also shared how he came to work in the care sector.

“I went into this profession mainly because of Mum and how she always helped others,” Matthew said.  “She was a healthcare assistant at St George’s hospital in Stafford and she later cared for my dad.”

Matthew went on to train as a nurse, specialising in mental health.  He brings those skills to his role here and his passion now is to provide high quality care for people with dementia.

But he says he could do none of this without the support of his family.  As the youngest of four he is used to a busy household – and it’s a good job!

“I’ve been married to my wonderful wife, Kelly, for nearly two years now,” he said.  “I’ve got five children – Stephanie who’s 24, Isaac, 21, Lily is 11, Grace who’s three and one year old Ron.

“Plus I’ve got a two year old grand-daughter, Ivy.  They are my world.”

Look out for more of our team in the coming weeks.

07

May

Staff share their love of caring as they celebrate more than 60 years’ service

Staff have shared their love of the care profession as they celebrate a combined total of more than 60 years’ service.

Five of our 78 strong team at Barrowhill Hall have worked here for more than 10 years, with housekeeper Christine Rigby chalking up 18 years of dedication and loyalty.

We are bucking the national trend which has seen care homes struggle to recruit and retain staff.

“I started in the laundry team here in 2001 after I was made redundant from Staffordshire Tableware,” remembered Christine.

“The management joked that I was ‘too chatty’ to work in laundry – they saw it as a talent that should be used to the benefit of the residents – so I became a cleaner where I could have more contact with the people living here.

“I’ve since taken qualifications in care and as head of housekeeping I know all the residents. You’ll often find me having a dance with someone when a singer is in, or stopping for a chat. I just love coming every day.”

Senior night care assistant, Sheila Thornley, have reached her 15th anniversary with us and senior care assistant, Andrew Docherty, has made 12 years.

“Care started out as a job for me but it’s become a career,” said Andrew. “I’ve had the opportunity to progress since I’ve been here, and that’s ongoing.

“It’s rewarding, the residents always make my day, and it’s a beautiful place to work – nothing compares to the view from up here!”

Head of Laundry, Rosie Naylor, is close behind them with 11 years’ service as is Christine’s daughter, Lucy Dale, a cleaner.

More than 10% of the staff at Barrowhill Hall have worked at the home for five years or more.

“We are extremely proud of our team and their dedication,” said Dion Meechan, Director of MOP Healthcare which owns Barrowhill Hall.

“The staff turnover rate for the adult residential care sector currently stands at around 27% so to be celebrating 13% of our staff being here for more than five years is quite something.

“We offer training and development opportunities to all of our staff, and everyone has a role in our residents’ care whether they work in the kitchens or as a registered nurse.”

The home also recognises effort and achievements in monthly staff awards.

“We hope those things help to make this a great place to work,” said Ashley, “but we also have a beautiful grade II listed home, as well as a modern unit for those in the earlier stages of dementia.  And we have the best view in Staffordshire.”

“It’s never boring here, every day is different,” said Christine. “I’m part of people’s lives and I love it. I plan to stay – I’ve already picked out my room!”