22 December 2016
Thank you to everyone who supported the Alan Shearer Centre's Christmas cake raffle, which raised over £100 towards the Centre's funds.
The bespoke cake, which was made and donated by recreation assistant, Heather McLaren, was first prize, but there were also three runners-up prizes kindly donated by LA Taxis and Columbia Grange School.
Kate Cullen from Thomas Bewick School was nominated to make the draw and the lucky winner, with ticket number 91, was Centre member Lisa Kenney.
Second prize (ticket 106), a bottle of Jack Daniels, was won by Ian Clarke. Third prize (ticket 26), another Jack Daniels, went to Susan Chan and the final prize (ticket 126), a royal jelly gift set, was won by Julie Anderson.
Thank you again for all your support and a very merry Christmas from everyone at the Alan Shearer Centre.
21 December 2016
Demi Gray was a surprise visitor when she popped in to St Catherine's Nursing Home bearing greetings cards and gifts, leaving a trail of smiling faces in her wake.
When Demi decided she really wanted to do something special and spread some Christmas joy this year, she chose to treat St Catherine's residents to an early taste of Christmas.
Demi joined residents in the lounge and visited many others in their rooms to hand out beautifully wrapped treats of sweets and biscuits and handwritten Christmas cards for every resident.
"I simply felt I wanted to do something nice," said Demi, "and as Christmas is around the time I lost my Nan, Rose, a few years ago, I felt visiting older people was a perfect way to do something lovely in her name. I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone and spreading some Christmas joy."
Grateful residents were overwhelmed by her generosity and were delighted to learn that Demi will be returning in the future to continue her good deeds.
A huge thank you goes to Demi from everyone at St Cuthberts Care and we look forward to welcoming her again soon.
16 December 2016
Once again, staff from the Department of Work and Pensions have been delivering some Christmas cheer to the Alan Shearer Centre.
Short Break Centre Manager, Jackie Dunn, and long-standing Activity Centre member, Alan Cuthbertson, were on hand to receive over 120 chocolate oranges donated by the department's Benton office.
DWP's Caroline Bullivant may have an explanation for the success of their tempting haul.
“We started our appeal for oranges back in October and managed to collect 600 for distribution to local charities.” She said. “ We introduced a rule in our office though: Eat an orange – replace it with two! I've bought six replacements! ”
On behalf of all our members and guests, many thanks to Caroline and her colleagues for their generosity.
15 December 2016
Memories came flooding back for our residents at Holy Cross Nursing Home in Sunderland when they were treated to a festive sing-along in their activity room.
Dozens of Christmassy toe-tappers were performed by Michaela Marshall from Musical Memories as she mingled with the residents and encouraged everyone to join in with the songs.
Dressed in a fur-trimmed red dress that added to the festive atmosphere, her catalogue of songs included White Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Winter Wonderland and a selection of Christmas hymns.
"Everyone loves this time of year and Michaela certainly brought Christmas joy to everyone with her songs," said Holy Cross Manager, Julie Thompson.
12 December 2016
A group of residents from our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle thoroughly enjoyed raising a glass to toast the festivities when staff and volunteers took them out for a drink to their local pub.
Friendly staff at the Fox and Hounds pub, just across the road from St Catherine's, kindly set aside a reserved area in the lounge so everyone had the space they needed to feel happy and comfortable.
Our staff provided Christmas crackers, nibbles and a few festive quizzes to add to the party atmosphere.
As everyone headed back to the home after a fun-filled afternoon, the positive comments were flowing.
"It's great to enjoy a pub atmosphere," said St Catherine's resident, Alan. "There's nothing quite like it at this time of year." Fellow resident, Rose, agreed: "It feels really Christmassy," she said, "and I've thoroughly enjoyed the company, too."
9 December 2016
Residents living in our two nursing homes have been enjoying lending a helping hand with all the Christmas preparations to make sure their homes are looking their best for the festive season.
Our Holy Cross residents in Sunderland were invited to help decorate the large Christmas tree that gives such a warm welcome to visitors as they arrive in reception, and many have taken the opportunity to place their own colourful bauble on the tree.
Meanwhile, our residents at St Catherine's in Newcastle, have been busy with their own tree decorating as well as baking their very own Christmas cake.
"We had an enthusiastic group of people involved in making the cake and everyone had to have the traditional stir for luck," said Nicola Milne, our charity's volunteer co-ordinator. "We're now letting it mature for as long as our residents can resist the urge to eat it. It looks delicious!"
7 December 2016
Huge congratulations to Julie Thompson, Manager of our Holy Cross Nursing Home, who has just been presented with an award for Special Achievement in Care Leadership and Management Higher Apprentice.
The award recognised Julie's outstanding accomplishment in gaining her qualification and was presented by Derwentside College where she had completed her course.
Julie was one of only six people in her category to be selected to attend the award ceremony and had been shortlisted from a total of 6,000 entries. As well as feeling immensely proud to receive the award, Julie was delighted to share the stage at the ceremony with guest of honour, Falklands veteran Simon Weston.
"It was a really lovely evening," said Julie. "I felt really proud to receive the award and it was such an honour to meet Simon Weston."
5 December 2016
Residents of our home for adults with learning disabilities in Bailiffgate, Alnwick, have big plans for their garden next year, so Christmas seemed the perfect time to start raising some money for all the little extras they would like to buy themselves.
Everyone took part in baking a special Christmas cake, which they iced and decorated. Joanne Dixon, who manages the home, called the charity's Head Office to offer everyone the chance to buy raffle tickets to win the cake - and found all her residents invited down to Newcastle for an impromptu party.
In no time at all, the charity's minibus was booked for the trip, party food and drinks arranged and Fostering North East's resident guitarist, Peter Meek, agreed to lead everyone in some seasonal singing. All the staff at Head Office bought raffle tickets, as did staff in the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese office, which shares St Cuthbert's House with us.
In the end, the cake made its way back to Alnwick; the lucky winner being Gwen Simms, one of the Bailiffgate carers. £50 was raised on the day and will be added to the kitty for a summerhouse they hope to buy next year.
2 December 2016
You could be in with a chance of winning a unique novelty cake in time for Christmas.
Heather McLaren, one of the talented team at our Alan Shearer Centre, is well known for her delicious and unusual cakes. Now she's raffling her latest creation to raise funds for the centre.
The perfectly iced and decorated fruit cake, which features three acrobatic penguins placing a star on the top of a tree, is large enough to keep an entire family satisfied right through the Christmas holidays!
Tickets for the raffle are £1 per strip and will be available from Monday, 5 December from reception at the Alan Shearer Centre and from St Cuthberts Care's reception in St Cuthbert's House on Newcastle's West Road. The draw will take place on Monday, 19 December to give the lucky winner time to collect it before Christmas.
The cake will be on display in reception at the Activity Centre, where staff will be guarding it from potential nibblers – we're not sure who's keeping a watch on the staff though!
1 December 2016
An autumn walk along the beach has provided the perfect artistic inspiration for one of our service users from our home for adults with learning disabilities in Bailiffgate, Alnwick.
This beautiful seahorse picture started life in the imagination of our service user, Val, after she took a walk along Alnmouth beach with staff member, Heather Robinson.
"When we got back from our walk, Val wanted to find out about seahorses," said Heather, "so we looked up some information on the website and found a gorgeous picture for her to colour in. We then transferred her artwork onto special paper and Val ironed it onto canvas and framed it for her room. She is delighted with the result and takes every opportunity to proudly show off her picture."
30 November 2016
Last Sunday saw the start of Advent; the season in which Christians prepare to celebrate the Nativity of Jesus, and at the regular Sunday Masses in our nursing homes in Newcastle and Sunderland, the first of the Advent candles were lit in their chapels.
Regular churchgoers will be very familiar with the five candles – traditionally, three purple, one pink and one white, one of which is lit each week in the lead up to Christmas. Not everyone though knows that each candle symbolises a different aspect of the Nativity story.
The first candle is known as the Prophesy Candle; the second as The Bethlehem Candle; the third is The Shepherd Candle; the fourth, The Angel Candle and the fifth, the white candle, is the Candle of Christ.
The final candles will be lit on Christmas Eve, when both nursing homes will be holding a special evening Mass again this year, bringing together families and friends of all their residents.
28 November 2016
The aromatic experiences available in our Activity Centre sensory garden extended to the kitchen when some of our adults with learning disabilities got together to try out a new recipe.
Fragrant parsley, thyme, marjoram and chives were gathered from the sensory garden and used to transform the humble cheese scone into something extra special by regular cookery group members at our Live & Learn skills session.
Word soon spread about how good the scones turned out so the recipe was then put to the test by service users from our home in Bailiffgate, Alnwick who recently turned out an equally delicious batch of soda bread, too.
"We knew it wouldn't be long before winter took its toll on the herbs in our sensory garden, so what better way to use that last bit of summer fragrance than in our cooking," said Recreation Assistant, Heather McLaren, who helped to support everyone with their cooking. "We had great fun choosing and picking the herbs and then cooking the scones, which were absolutely gorgeous!"
23 November 2016
It was a night to remember for Judith when she made the trip from our Bailiffgate home in Alnwick to Whitley Bay Playhouse to see her lifelong hero, Elvis.
After Judith sent a note backstage to Elvis (alias Mario Kombou, who has been described as “the best Elvis since Elvis”) he made sure she had a fabulous night.
He serenaded her with ‘Are you lonesome tonight', which ended with a kiss on the cheek, then gave her his scarf as he sang ‘In the ghetto'. He even dedicated ‘American trilogy' to Judith at the end of his show.
Afterwards, he posed for photographs with her – and gave her his baseball cap as a keepsake.
Bailiffgate carer, Heather Robson, who went with Judith to the show said, “Judith was so happy on the drive home – she kept saying she was very lucky. So thank you, Elvis, for making a girl's dreams come true!”
21 November 2016
What everyone needs at this time of year is someone to help ease the stress of Christmas shopping. That's exactly what two of our St Catherine's Nursing home residents found when they took a trip to Gateshead's Metrocentre with their ‘personal shoppers'.
Family Liaison Manager, Joanne Bulford, and Volunteer Co-ordinator, Nicola Milne, accompanied residents Rose and Helen on a special day out to stock up on Christmas cards and a few personal items.
The tour of the shops was also an opportunity for lunch in Debenhams and, later, a quick break for a cuppa and a cake in M&S.
“Rose had only been to the Metrocentre once,” said Nicola, ”so she noticed a lot of changes since her last visit, and Helen had forgotten just how big it is. Fortunately, we'd arranged with the centre for a couple of wheelchairs to be provided, so they were able to have a good tour of the shops without tiring themselves out.”
“Initially this personal shopper service will be available to our nursing home residents in the run up to Christmas, but it is something we are keen to continue. Supporting older people to maintain as much independence as possible is a perfect example of the volunteering opportunities we offer with the charity.”
If you would like to find out more about volunteering with St Cuthberts Care, you can contact Nicola on 0191 228 0111 or by email at email@example.com.
17 November 2016
A group of adults with learning disabilities living in our specialist home at Bailiffgate in Alnwick were happy to put some of their life skills to the test in a regular baking session.
There was no need to pop to the shops for the daily loaf when the group turned their hand to bread making, supported by the mum of one of our residents and members of our staff.
After weighing, measuring and careful mixing, the no-knead bread was ready to pop in the oven and everyone waited excitedly to see how it turned out.
The traditional Irish bread was baked to perfection, of course, and everyone enjoyed sampling the fruits of their labours, with lots of delighted comments from our residents:
"The bread was tasty," said Hughie; "It was good" said Margery; "I enjoyed baking it and the bread was good," added Kate.
"The results were so good, in fact, that they can't wait to try their hand at another bread recipe soon," said manager, Joanne Dixon.
14 November 2016
It was a proud moment for our Senior Finance Officer, Lesley Roberts on Remembrance Sunday when she took part in the commemorations at the Cenotaph in London to honour all those who died in conflict.
Lesley, who is a member of the Women's Royal Army Corps (WRAC), joined fellow members, other military personnel and more than 4,500 veterans as they marched before the Queen, other members of the Royal Family, leading politicians and dignitaries.
"It was certainly one of my proudest moments," said Lesley. "I was honoured to take part and was so moved by the whole, incredible experience."
Lesley is pictured on the day with Betty from her branch of the WRAC.
10 November 2016
It's been full speed ahead at the Alan Shearer Centre's Live and Learn craft sessions with preparations for Remembrance Sunday.
Recreation Assistant, Heather McLaren, had all the necessary materials ready to make poppy wreaths for the weekend's commemorations and members set to work with a will.
“We had a really efficient production line going,” said Heather “with everyone cutting and pasting and in no time at all there were dozens of poppies ready to work with. Naturally, we made wreaths with most of them, but I'd also found some instructions online on how to make poppy windmills – something we'd never come across before.”
The Centre isn't open on Sundays, but the wreaths are on display in reception now and the windmills will be whirling in the garden, outside the front door, over the weekend.
9 November 2016
The well-known phrase 'ready, steady, cook!' marked the start of our very own 'bake off' when young people from our Auton Newcastle residential children's homes took on the legendary baking challenge.
The Great Auton Bake Off was as professional as the show made famous by the BBC, with cakes whisked up to perfection ready to be judged for flavour, texture and presentation.
The selection of baked goodies were served up to cake 'experts' - Director of Care, Sheila Errington and Safeguarding Lead, Sarah Croft – who happily assumed the fictitious names of Sheila Berry and Sarah Hollywood for the contest.
"Our expertise in baking leans heavily towards the taste factor," said Sheila, "and we were incredibly impressed by the quality of the cakes." "Everything was perfect," added Sarah. "It showed off the team's baking talents and left us in no doubt about the winner – all of them!"
The tempting teatime treats included lemon drizzle cake, chocolate brownies, Victoria sponge and Devil food cake and certificates for master baker, star baker and expert baker were duly awarded to the participants.
5 November 2016The firework explosions at Parkhead – our resource centre for adults with learning disabilities in Ashington – were confined to paper this year, with artistic interpretations being created of the pops, bangs and fizzles normally associated with November 5th.
4 November 2016
An adventuring resident from our home for people with learning disabilities in Bailiffgate, Alnwick combined a scenic railway journey with her Halloween celebrations.
Taking a trip from Alnwick to Alnmouth on the historic Aln Valley railway, our resident, Janet, thoroughly enjoyed the journey despite having to brave skeletons, ghouls, spiders and a visit from a witch!
It certainly was a journey with a difference but the Halloween treat gave Janet lots to tell her fellow residents about once she returned home!
4 November 2016
It was back to Kingston Park for Alan Shearer this Thursday, a few weeks after playing at the ground in the Legends charity football match in aid of his Foundation.
Alan was meeting Newcastle Falcons chairman, Semore Kurdi, and members of the team to collect a cheque for £53,000. That was the tremendous total raised by the 6,000 spectators who paid to see famous names from Newcastle United's past take on the ‘Entertainers' from Manchester United.
Although Newcastle could not repeat their famous 5–0 victory over Manchester of 20 years ago, everyone agreed that the 2-2 draw was a fair enough result.
Alan said, “Kingston Park Stadium was a brilliant venue in which to stage the event. Newcastle Falcons were outstanding hosts and the money raised will help ensure the Foundation's good work can carry on.”
The £53,000 is a fantastic boost to the Alan Shearer Foundation, which needs to raise at least £250,000 each year to fund the Alan Shearer Centre's specialist facilities for disabled people from across the region.
“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who came out and supported the game,” said Alan. “ The money raised is so important - and I even managed to sneak my goal onto Match of the Day!”
You can read more about the cheque presentation on the Premiership Rugby website at:
3 November 2016
The Alan Shearer Foundation has received a tremendous £33,000 boost from this year's fundraising golf tournament at Close House.
The annual event, which is organized by Alan along with friends like Close House's Graham Wylie, hosts teams of local business owners and famous names from the football world such as Steve Harper and John Beresford.
Competition was friendly but fierce for the prize for the longest drive and four “nearest the pin” prizes of a year's free car insurance. Nobody went home empty handed though as there were goody bags for everyone containing a polo shirt, sleeve of golf balls and some consolation sweets.
Thanks to everyone who sponsored and supported the event and to photographer, Chris Lishman, who came along to record the day. You can see some of Chris' pictures in our Gallery.
1 November 2016
We've had ghosts and ghouls galore haunting our services for the past few nights as Halloween parties popped up everywhere.
The regulars at our Parkhead Resource Centre in Ashington avoided any real spooks and vampires by holding their party long before the witching hour, to make sure everyone was home before sunset.
They were joined by all the residents of our Bailiffgate home in Alnwick for a disco with party games and a buffet. Parkhead manager, Claire Graham, said, “We had a fantastic day, there were lots of prizes to be won on the dance floor and a raffle, so no one left empty handed! It was great to welcome everyone from Bailiffgate and we're looking forward to seeing them all again soon, at one of our Christmas events.”
The Alan Shearer Activity Centre got into the spooky spirit too with an afternoon of creepy cake decorating for younger members, followed by their popular after-dark Halloween disco for the adults. There was a special “horrific” buffet and the centre was decked out with cobwebs and spiders for the night.
31 October 2016
October has been a bumper month for birthdays in our St Catherine's Nursing Home with no fewer than eight birthday celebrations taking place.
The end of the month saw our oldest resident, Mrs Mc, marking her 105th birthday with her daughter, Pat, and a few 'girls from the Co-op' – women who worked with Mrs Mc back in the 50's at the retail store in Newcastle.
Sharing an enjoyable time together in the Family Room, everyone couldn't help but admire the beautiful birthday cake which had been made especially for the occasion by a family friend. Incredibly, the talented baker was 90 years old and made the cake for Mrs Mc as his farewell to the baking profession.
Among the many cards received, Mrs Mc's second birthday card and telegram from The Queen have pride of place.
Other special birthday occasions this month have been celebrated for Margaret Turnbull, who marked her 100th year; Joan McEnaney; Jean Royal; Jessie Bradley; Margaret Jackson; Mary Neilson and Vera Flisher.
Happy birthday to you all!
27 October 2016
The arts and crafts session at our Alan Shearer Activity Centre took a particularly spooky turn this week when our members packed in to prepare for Halloween.
Tables were filled with paper plates, sticky eyes, glow-in-the-dark stickers, Frankenstein masks and all the sticky tape needed to create a truly spooktacular look for trick or treating.
Thanks to the creative imagination of those who attended and a little help where needed from our fiendishly clever recreation assistants, everyone was able to take home a creepy creation to add to their Halloween costume or hang on their wall.
"It was great to see so many people turn up for our special craft session," said Recreation Assistant, Jan Rootham. "The care and patience that went into making everything just the way they wanted them was incredible and there were some quite horrifying creations at the end of the day!"
If you missed your chance to come along, don't worry, there's still time to book your free place on our next few Halloween activities. So, if you fancy a spell at making some beastly biscuits or creating a ghastly ghoul or even doing the 'Monster Mash' at our Halloween Disco, give our Centre a ring on 0191 2678118.
25 October 2016
There's tea and biscuits on demand at any time for our St Catherine's Nursing Home residents - but sometimes only homemade will do.
Family Liaison Manager, Joanne Bulford, has been rolling her sleeves up and getting stuck-in to help some of her ladies bake their own shortbread biscuits. The home's chef provided the recipe and measured out all the ingredients, so all that was needed was a bit of mixing, rolling and cutting.
St Catherine's star baker, Helen (whose cheese scones made our news a while ago) said she would have liked some lemon to add to the mixture, but necessity being the mother of invention, she improvised by using a little drop of her cloudy lemonade.
Joanne said, “Baking is featuring more and more often in our activity sessions – by popular demand. It really helps to make everyone feel “at home” in St Catherine's.”
21 October 2016
Half term week gets off to a futuristic start at the Alan Shearer Activity Centre with a free 'masterclass' in how to turn unwanted scraps into magnificent robots.
Come and join us on Monday, 24 October when our friendly staff will be sharing their creative talents to help you make your very own robot.
Everything you need to construct your adorable android will be waiting for you in our jam-packed craft box, so all you need to bring is your imagination.
"We've had some amazing creations in the past," said Recreation Assistant, Jan Rootham, "so there'll be a bit of healthy competition to top previous robots. Everyone has tons of fun making them, though and it's always exciting to see how they all turn out."
If you'd like to come along to make a robot, ring our friendly Activity Centre staff to book your free place on 0191 2678118.
18 October 2016
Bonds were quickly made at St Catherine's when Jessie came to stay for a few days, so when her birthday fell just weeks after returning home, she couldn't wait to return and spend a little time celebrating with a visit to her new friends, Helen and Rose.
Our staff helped to make the occasion really special, setting up a table for lunch in the conservatory room which overlooks the sheltered courtyard garden. There, the three friends could spend time chatting and catching up while enjoying a delicious meal together.
"I've had lots of lovely presents for my birthday and this is certainly one of them," said Jessie. "To have someone to talk to is the best medicine you can have, so I'm feeling just fine!"
14 October 2016
There wasn't a Muggle to be found at our Parkhead Resource Centre in Ashington when all things Harry Potter gripped the imagination of our regular service users.
Everyone at our specialist resource centre for adults with learning disabilities spent the entire day thinking up creative ways to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the first ever Harry Potter movie hitting the big screen.
Once the typically friendly group at Parkhead had transformed themselves into wizards for the day they separated into the four Hogwart's school houses to hone their competitive skills.
The fun started with seeing who could make the best family crest for their respective houses of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin; then wands were drawn to decide who most deserved to be the winner of the House Cup with a quiz that tested even the most avid Harry Potter fan.
When lunch was served, the Harry Potter theme continued and everyone enjoyed a delicious meal of Hogwarts Hotpot followed by Sunken Broomstick Butterbeer desert – a secret recipe closely guarded by its creator and Parkhead regular, Christina.
A wand-making workshop rounded off the day and everyone hit the headlines as archvillain, Sirrius Black in their very own version of the film's famous moving newspaper, 'The Daily Prophet'.
"The day was a great success," said Senior Carer at Parkhead, Hannah Chappell, "especially our own photo booth that we made to create pages of the magical moving newspaper 'The Daily Prophet'. Everyone agreed our recreations were pretty accurate!"
13 October 2016
The latest baking session at our St Joseph's Day Centre for people with dementia produced some very tasty treats for afternoon tea, but one of our clients has a rather unusual house guest waiting to enjoy the fruits of her labours.
Elsie, who is a keen regular at St Joseph's in Gateshead, loves taking part in all the activities on offer at the day centre, but she particularly enjoys baking and sharing her signature scones with the VIP in her life.
The VIP in this case stands for 'very important pussycat', as Elsie's generous nature means she even shares her baking with her cat, Trixie.
"I'm reliably informed that Trixie was very pleased with her baked treat," said St Joseph's manager, Flavia Myers. "The little cat is often waiting to meet Elsie when she comes home from spending time with us – and now we know why!"
11 October 2016
It's time for a new look in our Alan Shearer Centre's craft room. Members of the Live & Learn group have taken down the decorations they made for their dedicated crafts and cookery room and have chosen a new theme for autumn.
Underneath a decorative “Newcastle” heading, they have created a colourful mural - a combination of real and imagined buildings, with a flock of birds ‘flying' over the letters. On the other side of the room, a large tree has appeared, covered with handmade leaves. The leaves may have started out as the golds and russets of autumn but soon bloomed into a riot of colour.
Recreation assistant, Jan Rootham, who helped with the artwork said, “Everyone has worked very hard and the result is fantastic. It really makes our regulars feel that the room is their own.”
Our Live & Learn skills sessions for adults with learning disabilities are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Sessions are completely free and can you can join at any time simply by contacting reception to book your place. Call in or ring 0191 267 8118.
10 October 2016
We would just like to take this opportunity to offer our congratulations and best wishes to our Finance Director and Trustee, Nic Gilbert, on his wedding to Adele.
We all wish the happy couple many wonderful years together.
6 October 2016
Adults with learning disabilities attending our Parkhead Resource Centre in Ashington are improving their fitness and having fun – Bollywood style!
Each fortnight, a professional instructor from a local dance centre arrives at Parkhead to lead a creative Just Jhoom dance class, and friends invited from other disability centres around the area can't wait to join in, too!
Just Jhoom – which means 'just dance' - is an intriguing blend of Bollywood dance and aerobics which offers a great way to exercise the whole body and mind.
With imaginatively named moves, such as 'waterfall lunge' and beautiful hand movements like 'bee' and 'lotus' everyone loves listening to the instructions as much as taking part.
Ellen and Steven from Parkhead sum up their feelings about the class perfectly: "It's great!" said Ellen; "I think it's fantastic!" added Steven.
29 September 2016
An invitation to afternoon tea has helped new friendships to form and become a new, regular event to look forward to for some of the people who benefit from our services.
The free afternoon tea parties at Newton Village Hall near Corbridge are organised by Companions from the local Order of Malta who made our group of service users feel welcome from the minute they arrived.
Some of our nursing home residents and a group of adults from our learning disability services were among the first to enjoy a visit, which left everyone feeling extra special and looking forward to a return visit.
Carolyn Lawson, one of our charity's volunteers and a member of our Alan Shearer Centre, was delighted to be invited along on the first visit and couldn't wait to let the volunteers know how much she appreciated their hospitality.
Supported by our volunteer co-ordinator, Nicola Milne, Carolyn wrote and sent off a beautiful letter of thanks to Alice Murphy, one of the volunteer organisers, and was thrilled to find out her letter and photo had been circulated to everyone involved in the Companions tea parties.
"It was so kind of them to invite us," said Carolyn, "so I thought it would be nice to let them know how much we enjoyed it. Of course, I'll thank them in person when I see them again."
Carolyn's letter reads:
Dear Alice and Friends
I am writing to thank you for inviting me and my friends to share afternoon tea at Newton Village Hall.
We all enjoyed it very much and are looking forward to seeing you again next time.
Lots of love
Carolyn Lawson x
27 September 2016
Activity Centre member, three-year-old, Jessica Robertson, was a little girl with a big task when she joined Alan Shearer CBE to officially open our exciting new hydrotherapy suite yesterday.
After cutting the ribbon with Alan, Jessica couldn't wait to be the first person to try out the new pool with her mum, Pam.
The Activity Centre's new hydrotherapy pool offers all the grandeur of a top quality spa, but it also has a serious role to play in providing therapeutic benefits to disabled people of all ages from around the region.
The low impact exercise offered in the warmth of the pool can ease joint pain and increase freedom of movement to strengthen weakened muscles. The pool is also packed with stunning lighting, music and water features which benefit people with sensory impairments.
Paid for by the remarkable fundraising efforts of the Alan Shearer Foundation, the hydrotherapy suite is twice the size of the original pool, offering more space and a wealth of fun and therapeutic features.
At the opening, Alan Shearer said, "I hope that everyone, when they see the pool, is as happy as I am. The generosity of so many people helps us to give this away for free and I want to continue to do that because it's very important."
Our Chief Executive, Moira Ashman added, "Alan's ongoing fundraising efforts have helped to make our Centre the only one in our region to offer such quality, specialist facilities entirely free of charge for disabled people. We couldn't have achieved this without Alan and I can't thank him enough."
View the gallery of photos from the event: http://alanshearerfoundation.org.uk/gallery/
To find out more about the facilities at the Alan Shearer Activity Centre, including the new hydrotherapy suite, contact Centre Manager, Amanda Head on 0191 2678118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
26 September 2016
Today sees the opening of our Alan Shearer Centre's brand new hydrotherapy suite.
Alan himself will be on hand to cut the ribbon at his namesake project, then three-year-old Jessica Robertson, who joined the Centre when just a few weeks old, will be the first guest to try out the new pool with her adopted family.
The new £500,000 state-of-the-art facility was six months in design, with construction taking a further six months to complete. Twice the size of the original hydrotherapy pool, it offers a mix of fun and relaxation with interactive mood lighting and water and music features. A distinctive full length window looks out onto the beautiful grounds and turns opaque at a flick of a switch.
The entire cost of the work has been paid for by the Alan Shearer Foundation, the dedicated fundraising arm of the Alan Shearer Centre.
Watch this space for more about the opening and pictures of this fabulous new facility.
19 September 2016
Our Parkhead Resource Centre members found themselves on something of a mercy mission last week. When Centre manager, Claire Graham, stopped to pick up an injured hedgehog on her way to work, her activities group whisked it off to the Northumberland hedgehog rescue centre in Longframlington.
At first, the hedgehog wouldn't uncurl and they couldn't establish if it was a boy or a girl (it's a boy!) so one of the group, Shane, decided on the name ‘Bon-bon' after his favourite sweets.
The group saw the hedgehog being weighed – he was over 900 gms which is a good healthy weight for an adult hog, and receiving some treatment. Then they were introduced to some of the other hedgehogs in residence there and learned some interesting facts from the staff.
Claire said, “We learned the importance of being vigilant for hedgehogs that are out during daylight hours or appear injured. They will need urgent treatment and care. Most vets will treat them and contact rescue centres.”
“They are fascinating to watch and leaving food and water in your garden will attract them. Both wet and dry cat food are ideal, but never bread and milk because they can't digest it.”
The latest bulletin on Bon-bon is that he is doing well, receiving steroids and enjoying his cosy heat pad. When he has recovered, he will be given back to Claire so she can release him into the wild where she originally found him.
13 September 2016
St Catherine's Nursing Home resident, Roma, revealed a hidden talent when she decided to join in the home's art sessions recently.
Her colourful freeform shapes obviously set her grandchildren thinking when they visited her and decided that one of her pictures looked like an angel.
Her grandson took a photo of it to share with her family and the original has been framed and put on display in St Catherine's lounge.
Activities co-ordinator, Kathleen Brennan, said “The painting sessions are always a popular pastime and we encourage everyone to just have a go – whether they are artistic or not. Colouring books for adults are really popular these days, so we make sure we have a selection of those for anyone who doesn't feel confident enough to do a picture of their own.”
Roma certainly shouldn't be short of confidence – she used to enjoy painting pottery when she was younger. Maybe she will try her hand at model making too, when Kathleen begins that soon.
12 September 2016
The latest stop for our fostering team, as they travel the region searching for foster carers, will be at Byron Place Shopping Centre in Seaham on Tuesday, 13 September.
Members of our Fostering North East team will be in the shopping centre between 11am and 2pm and are looking forward to meeting anyone who feels they could foster a child or who would like to know more about fostering.
"There are so many children around our region who would dearly love to be placed with a foster family," said our Fostering North East Manager, Joann Gibson. "If you've thought about fostering but never quite got round to doing anything about it or if you're just curious and have questions you'd like us to answer, come and see us for a friendly chat.
We need foster carers from around the region, so if you can't get along to the Seaham event but would still like to find out more, ring Joann on 0191 228 0111, email fostering@fosteringnortheast or you can make an enquiry by visiting our website: www.fosteringnortheast.org.uk
8 September 2016
There was no shortage of fun and laughter when the ever-popular Puppets returned to our Holy Cross Nursing Home in Sunderland recently.
The puppet characters are so charismatic they are treated like old friends whenever they visit to entertain our residents and, this time, a new puppet companion joined the throng.
The Country and Western-styled puppet soon had everyone joining in with much-loved songs, including a fascinating performance of 'I Was Born Under a Wandering Star'.
The talented Clare Cooper has her puppets cover a range of popular songs which never fail to leave our residents wanting more.
"The performance covered everything from popular Elvis songs – sung by the Elvis puppet, of course – to old time music hall favourites like 'Any Old Iron'," said Holy Cross activity co-ordinator, Clare Quinn. "Our residents love the Puppets and were asking me to book them for a return visit before they even left the building!"
6 September 2016
A group attending our Parkhead Resource Centre for adults with learning disabilities are much wiser about caterpillars and butterflies thanks to their latest project.
It all started when some of our Parkhead regulars expressed their fascination with caterpillars turning into butterflies. A specialist kit was purchased and the wait for the tiny caterpillars to transform began.
The young caterpillars had no shortage of pampering and attention as they grew and, after several weeks of watching and waiting, our patient service users and staff were rewarded with the magic of seeing the butterflies emerge.
"It was so exciting!" said Parkhead Manager, Claire Graham. "Everyone enjoyed feeding them fruit and watching them eat and when the time came to set them free we felt we'd really made a small contribution to the natural world."
Service users at Parkhead have worked hard during the summer to transform their garden, so there are plenty of butterfly-friendly plants to encourage future generations, too!
2 September 2016
The recent long spells of warm sunshine provided the perfect excuse for a small group of our St Catherine's residents to enjoy another summer trip out.
Ann, Agnes and Pat were accompanied by activity co-ordinator, Kat, and volunteer, Ellen, to explore the historic market town of Hexham and, of course, visit the famous Abbey.
Everyone was impressed by the stunning architecture of the Abbey and fascinated by its rich history. After a good look around and a little bask in the sunshine, it was time to head to the café for refreshments.
"Our residents definitely enjoyed being 'ladies who lunch'," said Kat. "They loved the posh sandwiches and the pots of tea were served just the way they like it. On the journey home, we agreed it had been a perfect day all round."
31 August 2016
The tall ships may have left Blyth now, but members of our Parkhead Resource Centre for adults with learning disabilities have a very special souvenir of their visit.
They were among a number of groups invited to create models for a special exhibition called “Fantasy Tall Ships” at the Maritime Museum in Newbiggin. The groups are participating in a Northumberland County Council course, “Communication Through Art and Design”, which is held in four centres in the county, including Parkhead in Ashington.
Taking the long-running Radio 4 programme “Desert Island Discs” as their inspiration, the Parkhead ship features palm tree masts, vinyl records and an old fashioned gramophone in its rigging and a large tropical sun as a backdrop.
Parkhead Support Worker, Louise Emery, said “It looks fantastic! The group are very proud of all their hard work and were delighted that so many people were able to see it over the Tall Ships weekend.”
The ship's maiden voyage may be down the coast to Newcastle, to be put on display for visitors to the charity's head office and the offices of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle in St Cuthbert's House.
26 August 2016
As the Tall Ships sailed into Blyth for their four-day regatta, one special tall ship went on display at the Maritime Centre in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.
Service users at our resource centre for adults with learning disabilities, Parkhead in Ashington, have been busily crafting their own miniature tall ship for months and it's now sharing the limelight with its giant counterparts as part of the Tall Ships Race celebrations.
Created from a variety of unused and unwanted items, the 'desert island' tall ship stands just 70cms high by 1 meter in length, but the ship is enjoying its own few days of fame on display at the Maritime Centre on Newbiggin's sea front.
"We had our own exclusive viewing when our ship first went on display," said Louise Emery, Support Worker at Parkhead. "Everyone worked so hard to design and make the ship and we're all so proud to see it on display for everyone to see."
Parkhead's desert island tall ship is part of an exhibition called 'An Exhibition of Fantasy Tall Ships' in the Latimer Room at the Maritime Centre on Church Point from 26th to 29th August.
22 August 2016
Our St Catherine's Nursing Home residents enjoyed taking part in a very special celebration at their home on Saturday.
Friends, family, staff and volunteers joined our residents for the 'Strawberry Tea' event which began with a thanksgiving Mass for St Cuthberts Care's 70th anniversary, celebrated by Fr Ligouri in the home's chapel.
Visitors then had the opportunity to view displays of some of our residents' handiwork, including produce from the gardening group, poetry, reminiscence stories, paintings and crafts.
A beautiful knitted blanket took pride of place at the display, made from squares knitted by residents as well as many of their family and friends. "The blanket is a real symbol of togetherness," said Fundraising Manager, Nicola Milne "and echoes the community spirit of the home."
A raffle, tombola and delicious high tea were followed by entertainment from Hildy Harland who rounded off the event with popular jazz and swing songs that had everyone clapping along and joining in.
19 August 2016
Our packed programme of free events for disabled people and their families at the Alan Shearer Activity Centre means there's no room for boredom during the school holidays.
Whether you're creative, adventurous or just want to have fun with others, our Centre has plenty on offer right up to the time school starts again in September.
Our next fab event takes place on Tuesday, 23 August when you can join us for a real indulgent treat with lots of scrummy things to dip into our gorgeous chocolate fountain – there'll be fruit, too, for those who don't want to be too indulgent!
Our choccy extravaganza is one of many free events taking place this summer – and there's a whole Centre to explore for free, too - so, why not check out what else is on offer when you visit the Centre or give our friendly staff a call. You can book your place for the chocolate fountain or make a room booking by ringing the Centre on 0191 2678118.
17 August 2016
Our home for adults with learning disabilities in Bailiffgate, Alnwick, was placed firmly on the map for fun when residents held a BBQ summer fair in their garden.
Family, friends and neighbours were all invited along to the sunny Saturday get-together where everyone played their part in making the whole event a success.
"If there was a job to be done, there was no shortage of people wanting to lend a hand," said manager, Joanne Dixon. "One of our colleagues from Parkhead cut the lawn, our staff prepared and cooked the food and made bunting to decorate the garden, my husband erected the gazebo … it all looked fabulous!"
At the end of a hard morning's preparations, everyone thoroughly enjoyed a well-deserved rest and joined guests for a cuppa, some delicious food and lots of lively conversation. Residents even organised an impromptu raffle with all proceeds going towards their garden fund.
"Everyone had such a fantastic time we may make this an annual event!" added Joanne.
11 August 2016
Something amazing has been growing amongst the lovingly tended flowers and shrubs in the garden courtyard at our St Catherine's nursing home in Newcastle.
As harvest time approaches, one of our residents has already shared the benefits of an early crop of courgettes with home manager, Anne.
A prize winning standard courgette - grown by our green-fingered resident and talented cook, Helen - was the talk of St Catherine's when it was picked and carefully transported to the manager's office.
"I've never seen such a perfectly green and healthy looking courgette!" said Anne when the vibrant veggie was donated to her. "I'll have to make sure to cook something really special with it," she added.
And that's exactly what she did. The secret ingredient was added to Anne's own ratatouille recipe and photos taken of the delicious meal to share with Helen. Anne's culinary expertise couldn't match the perfection of Helen's banter, however. When shown the photo, Helen simply responded with a wry smile and a mischievous: "that's not ratatouille, that's soup!"
10 August 2016
When another entertainer stepped in at the last minute to cover for a last minute cancellation at Holy Cross, disappointment soon turned to delight for our residents.
Lisa Laidler gave a sparkling performance in our large lounge with a selection of songs that brought back happy memories and had everyone swaying, singing or even on their feet dancing!
Singing along to songs like Que Sera Sera, Penny Arcade, Going to the Chapel and Delilah brightened everyone's day, but it was resident, Bob Clayton, who thoroughly enjoyed a twirl around the dance floor with Lisa.
"For the rest of the afternoon, Bob told everyone who would listen that he'd spent the afternoon dancing with a beautiful lady," said Activity Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn. "I think it's safe to say he had the time of his life!"
5 August 2016
Our Fostering North East team are continuing their search for foster carers around the region and will be calling at Hartlepool on Monday, 8 August.
If you've ever considered fostering or would like to know more, pop in to meet our friendly team for an informal chat at their stand at Tesco Extra on Burn Road Hartlepool between 10.30am and 2.30pm on Monday, 8 August.
"Whether you've thought long and hard about fostering and are ready to make that commitment or are simply curious about what it entails, the team would be more than happy to have a chat with you," said Fostering North East Operations Manager, Joann Gibson.
The team will be happy to answer your questions and there will be plenty of information to take away, too.
If you can't make it to Durham to find out more about fostering, ring Joann on 0191 2280111, email fostering@fosteringnortheast or you can even make an enquiry via our website, visit www.fosteringnortheast.org.uk
4 August 2016
It was all aboard the bus again this week for another trip to the seaside. Holy Cross residents Brian, Belle and the ”Chuckle Brothers”, Mick and Bob, were joined by Brian's wife Marie this time for the short trip to South Shields.
Activities co-ordinator, Claire Quinn, said, “Marie comes into the home every day to see Brian and is a great help to me when we do activities. She knows most of the residents and they look forward to seeing her for a chat each day.”
“Belle absolutely loves being out and about and was delighted that we got such good weather for our outing, while Mick and Bob were over the moon to go to Minchella's on the seafront for ice creams. They said it brought back great memories of days out in Shields when they were younger. Bob reckons that Minchella's sells the best ice-cream in the North East, and he could be right! The queues in the café were evidence of that.”
If you are interested in joining our team of volunteers and lending a hand at Holy Cross in Sunderland, or its sister home, St Catherine's in Newcastle, we'd be delighted to hear from you.
You can find out more by contacting our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Nicola Milne on 0191 228 0111 or by emailing Nicola at email@example.com
2 August 2016
The Alan Shearer Centre's Summer Ball was a great hit again this year, with members, staff and carers all letting their hair down for a night of disco and games.
Hot dogs and hamburgers fuelled the fun, followed by a choice of delicious desserts – chocolate gateau, white chocolate profiteroles and tiramisu cake. The cakes were all provided by Jimmy McLaren, husband of Heather, who works at the Activity Centre. Jimmy also generously donated a £20 gift voucher for a meal at Francesco's restaurant in Jesmond. The voucher was raffled to raise funds to buy items for the Centre's Live and Learn skills sessions for adults with learning disabilities, which Heather often leads.
There was also a free raffle for a variety of prizes including jewellery, toiletries, perfume and a watch.
Guests staying at our Short Break facility, which occupies the top floor of the Centre, came down to join the party and to pose in a special photo booth that had been set up in the music room, with a selection of masks and dressing-up items.
1 August 2016
Just to be sure everyone knew the subject of the celebrations taking place at our Parkhead Resource Centre in Ashington, staff and service users spelled it out with bright red balloons on the side of their building.
The eye-catching '20' display had been made to mark the Centre's 20th anniversary and, as family, friends and carers joined regular staff and service users, the event became one of the biggest celebrations in its history.
Visitors enjoyed all the fun of the fair with hook-a-duck and the coconut shy, climbed aboard the visiting fire engine, tried their hand at the tombola and enjoyed a trip down memory lane with a display of photos taken at the Centre over the years. Stealing the show, however, was Nelly the donkey who was too cute to resist stroking!
"We had a great day!" said Parkhead manager, Claire Graham. "The weather was lovely and everyone had so much fun. I'd like to thank everyone who supported the Centre by donating prizes or who helped out on the day. It wouldn't have been the same without you."
Parkhead Resource Centre opened in 1996 and provides stimulating activities and learning opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.
29 July 2016
Looking for something to do now the holidays are here and summer has (hopefuly) arrived?
The Alan Shearer Activity Centre is offering some not-quite-olympic sporting events next Monday when they hold their garden games competitions. There will be lots of traditional silly outdoor fun such as an egg and spoon race, a bean bag race, frizbees and much more.
Recreation assistant, Heather McLaren, says, “If the forecast for Monday is right, everything is set for a crazy time in our lovely gardens. If not, we do have a ‘plan B', with everything moved indoors. Either way it's going to be great fun.”
The games will be held between 12 noon and 2pm and everyone is welcome, but please give the Centre a ring on 0191 267 8118 to let us know you're coming – we wouldn't want to run out of juice for everyone.
28 July 2016
After checking out their own courtyard garden in the early morning sunshine, a group of residents from our St Catherine's Nursing Home headed off to visit a garden on a slightly larger scale.
Our five residents thoroughly enjoyed their scenic journey to Alnwick Garden where the good weather continued as they spent the day looking around the stunning flower displays and water features.
"It was a lovely day out, we really enjoyed ourselves," said Helen, who has her own garden patch at St Catherine's. "Of course, we had to have fish and chips for lunch – it's become a bit of a traditional meal for us when we go on outings now!"
The trip was such a great success that Helen and fellow resident, Rose, were still discussing it well into the evening.
27 July 2016
One of our regular Short Break Centre guests had packed a ton of activities into his day before most people were even out of bed!
Taylor doesn't enjoy being around a lot of people, so when he woke early and the picturesque grounds at the Alan Shearer Centre were still quiet, Short Break Manager, Jackie Dunn took him out to explore.
His mini safari included spotting pigeons and rabbits enjoying an early morning feast and examining the variety of flowers basking in the early sunshine. Taylor chose lavender as his favourite plant in the sensory garden and couldn't resist picking a few colourful blossoms to take back to his room.
Before going back inside, Taylor found time for a ride on the specially adapted roundabout with Jackie.
"Taylor had the run of the grounds this morning and couldn't have been happier," said Jackie. "He was so excited about his adventure that he wanted to carry on having fun when he got back."
Latest reports are that Taylor stopped off at the Activity Centre for a game of giant Connect Four, enjoyed a visit to the music room and sensory cave before settling down in his room to draw some of the flowers he'd picked.
That's quite a day so far, Taylor!
26 July 2016
25 July 2016
Service users at our Parkhead Resource Centre in Ashington have been making the most of the glorious weather to bring a splash of colour to their building and grounds.
Earlier in the year, they put in lots of hard work planting out the garden and the hanging baskets. Now they have been giving everything a good tidy-up, making sure everything is looking its best for their 20th anniversary celebration this Friday. Weeds have been uprooted, paths swept, and wood chip put down.
The Parkhead centre, which is a partnership between St Cuthberts Care and Northumberland Care Trust, provides stimulating leisure and educational activities for adults with learning disabilities. Their annual Summer Fair is always well supported by families, friends and neighbours, but this year it's just that extra bit special.
Centre Manager, Claire Graham, said, “The grounds are looking great and we hope everyone will join us on Friday 29 July for our 20th anniversary celebration. There will be all the usual stalls with cakes and crafts. We will have games and a raffle - and the local fire brigade will be there with one of their tenders. The star of the show though will probably be Nelly the donkey, who will be on hand to prune our trees again!”
19 July 2016
If you'd like to find out more about being a foster carer, come and meet our friendly Fostering North East team at Durham Farmers' Market this Thursday, 21 July between 10.30am and 2pm.
Whether you've considered fostering before and just haven't got round to doing anything about it or simply want to find out what it would mean to be a foster carer, you would be very welcome to come along for a chat.
"If you're over 21, have a spare room and a genuine wish to provide a child with a loving home, that's a great start on your journey to becoming a foster carer," said Joann Gibson, Fostering North East's Operations Manager. "We always need new carers for the growing number of children in our region who need foster homes, so why not pop along to meet the team, have a chat and pick up some information."
If you can't make it to Durham to find out more about fostering, ring Joann on 0191 2280111, email fostering@fosteringnortheast or visit our website: www.fosteringnortheast.org.uk
14 July 2016
Something is being made in the arts and crafts sessions at the Activity Centre that nobody will talk about.
Rumour has it that there's a surprise to be revealed soon, but one or two special arrangements have yet to be made for the great unveiling. Members of the Live & Learn group have been furiously working away to finish – well, whatever it is, before their sessions wind up for the summer holiday this Friday.
Recreation Assistant, Heather McLaren, said, “ All I can say is that it's something to mark a special event and someone is going to get a lovely surprise. Everyone is sworn to secrecy until everything is ready.”
Live & Learn, our fun, skills sessions for adults with learning disabilities, is taking a summer break from Friday 15 July, restarting on Tuesday 6 September. Why not come along and join us then? It's all free and it's a great way to make new friends.
Contact the Activity Centre's reception on 0191 267 8118 for more information.
12 July 2016
Holy Cross resident, Bob Clayton, has made his first return visit in 67 years to the church where he and his childhood sweetheart, Marguerite, were married.
He was one of a small group who made the short trip from the nursing home to St Peter's church in Monkwearmouth. St Peter's, the oldest surviving church still in use in the country, is one of the residents' favourite trips out – mainly for the tea and scones in its little café, Bede's Bakehouse.
Bob told everyone how he was married there on 26 March, 1949, at 9.30am - joking that he had asked for the wedding to be early so he could ‘get it over with'. Then he asked a member of staff, “Do you think the vicar remembers me?” Bob was informed that the vicar who married him had left St Peter's over 50 years ago!
Time certainly flies, doesn't it?
11 July 2016
When bad weather scuppered Holy Cross residents' plans for a trip to Roker they were determined not to abandon their day out.
Instead of a stroll along the sea front, they headed to Washington to take in a bit of culture at the Arts Centre. Unfortunately, several small studios that make bespoke items like personalised pottery and wedding hats were closed, so it was into the café for tea and biscuits.
Activities Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn, said, “Residents, Mike and Bob, would have spent all afternoon in the café given the choice. We all call them the Chuckle Brothers because they are as thick as thieves and always game for a laugh. Belle, on the other hand, really enjoyed the exhibition by the people from Shelter, which she thought was very ‘thought provoking'.”
“I think we'll have to look at going back on a Saturday morning when they have their ‘Art Mart' selling local art and crafts.”
6 July 2016
She can't sing or dance and she hasn't got the X Factor, but Holy Cross visitor, Blondie, certainly proved she has the R Factor – as in “Aaah!”
Blondie, a miniature pony, who is just a couple of feet tall, was invited into the home's activities room to meet residents. She belongs to KL Therapy Ponies who have visited our Sunderland home several times, to allow residents to pet ponies from the comfort of their armchairs.
"It was a wonderful treat for everyone," said the home's activities coordinator, Clare Quinn. "One of our residents, Eileen (pictured with Blondie), said it reminded her of when she was growing up in her home in the country. She often rode horses when she was younger and loves all animals. It really brightened up her afternoon.”
The Darlington based pony therapy company regularly makes visits to care homes, where it can have a remarkable effect on residents, particularly for those who have poor mobility or co-ordination, and people who suffer from depression, anxiety or have learning difficulties.
4 July 2016
It was stars and stripes and all things American at our Parkhead Resource Centre in Ashington today, as service users marked American Independence Day.
The morning was spent decorating the centre in red, white and blue and learning a little about the story behind the 4th of July celebration. Then everyone enjoyed an American themed lunch, with hot dogs and fries, followed by waffles with syrup.
“A waffly good lunch!”, said Parkhead member, Ellen.
This year sees the 20th anniversary of the Parkhead centre, which offers a wide range of social and educational activities for adults with learning disabilities. Preparations are well under way for a special celebration on Friday, 29 July, with lots of stalls and games - and a guest appearance by Nelly the donkey, who will be very happy to pose for selfies!
Look out for more information closer to the day.
1 July 2016
St Catherine's resident, Helen Thompson, plans to enjoy the freshest salad vegetables possible this summer.
Not content with helping to choose flowers for the nursing home's courtyard recently, green-fingered Helen has now set up her own ‘allotment' of planters outside her door. Her tomatoes are flowering and her onions and courgettes are thriving on all the attention she gives them, so Helen is hoping for more sunny weather to ripen her crop.
“ I'm just so pleased they encouraged me do this,” said Helen. “My son-in law provided the young plants for growing on and now I'm going to get some seeds to sow a planter full of herbs.”
So everything will be coming up salad, not roses, soon.
29 June 2016
Residents of our St Catherine's Nursing Home held the first of their story telling get-togethers yesterday morning over tea and biscuits.
The ‘My Story' session is part of a new programme of bespoke activities at the home and encourages residents to share their life stories, reminiscences and interests together. It has already helped 94-year–old resident Kathleen McGowan to rediscover her love of creative writing.
Kathleen has been a prolific poet and writer for most of her life and has even had some of her work published. Although she hasn't written for a number of years now, the new 'My Story' sessions have inspired her to pick up her pen again.
"I think sharing stories about our lives will be really interesting,” said Kathleen, pictured with a book of her poems, “and I'm making copies of some of my poetry to share as well.”
St Catherine's Activities Co-ordinator, Kat Brennan, said “Chatting to our residents, I hear some fascinating stories about their experiences when they were younger. I know that sharing those stories will help bring back long-forgotten memories and I'm looking forward to hearing them myself.”
24 June 2016
Don't be shy! Come and take centre stage at our Activity Centre tomorrow when we launch our Karaoke in the Café.
We'll have hundreds of backing tracks for you to choose from, helping you give the performance of a lifetime, so there's bound to be at least one song you know! You could be The Voice and not even know it.
The karaoke starts at 12 noon and is free, but please ring reception on 0191 267 8118 to book your place. The Centre is open from 9am till 5pm, so all the free facilities are there to enjoy as usual – and the café will still be serving meals and snacks to fuel the fun.
Be warned. If you don't sing, the staff will … and nobody wants that!
23 June 2016
Our clever service users at Parkhead Resource Centre in Ashington are all on board with a special project to mark the arrival of the Tall Ships Regatta in Blyth this summer.
Regulars at our specialist centre for adults with learning disabilities have plundered discarded items like jar lids, cardboard and CDs to craft their very own tall ship after being inspired by the famous nautical event.
Although their ship is more suited to dry land, everyone at the Centre is hoping it will still receive its fair share of attention when the real ships arrive in August.
"We're hoping our ship can be displayed in Blyth's tourist information centre or the local library," said Parkhead Manager, Claire Graham. "Everyone has worked really hard to make our ship and I know they'd be so proud to see it on show for others to see. It looks fantastic!"
Watch our news page for updates on where you'll be able to see our Parkhead ship.
20 June 2016
A love of cooking at our Activity Centre Live and Learn skills sessions for adults with learning disabilities hasn't stopped one of our regulars taking his fitness very seriously indeed.
Six-feet-tall Alan regularly attends the Activity Centre to brush up his cooking skills, but decided in January that it was time to become a little leaner. Helped by staff at the Centre, Alan soon agreed that healthy eating and exercise was the best way forward.
Swapping sugar for sweeteners, choosing healthy jacket potato or salad for lunch then walking home from the Centre has helped the weight melt away and Alan has now lost over three stones in weight.
"We encourage and support Alan, but he's really dedicated and his health has definitely improved," said Jan Rootham, one of the Centre's Recreation Assistants. "We're all really proud of his achievement."
16 June 2016
If you live in the Redcar area and are interested in fostering a child, you can find out more from members of our Fostering North East team when they visit the local Morrisons store on Monday, 20 June.
Pop along to the Morrisons store on Lord Street in Redcar any time between 11am and 2pm and members of our fostering team will be happy to chat to you about becoming a foster carer and answer any questions you may have.
"Sometimes people hesitate about enquiring about fostering because they have many questions before they feel comfortable to take that first step," said Fostering North East's Operations Manager, Joann Gibson. "This is an ideal opportunity to meet members of the team in person and ask those questions without feeling you have to make a commitment to becoming a carer."
Fostering North East is part of St Cuthberts Care and their small, friendly team offer carers all the support and training they need to confidently take on the role of foster carer. The team need foster carers from all over the North East region, so if you can't get to our Redcar event, you can enquire online at www.fosteringnortheast.org.uk or ring Joann on 0191 2280111.
15 June 2016
Staff and residents at our care homes for older people in Sunderland and Newcastle are hoping to welcome lots of new visitors this Friday, 17 June as they mark National Care Home Open Day.
Between 10.30am and 3.30pm, our homes will be rolling out the red carpet for anyone who would like to take a look around and meet our staff and residents - there'll be plenty of treats and entertainment available, too.
Our Holy Cross Nursing Home in Sunderland has a special Mass in the beautiful St Jeanne Jugan Chapel in the morning, and coffee, cream scones, hand massages, music and entertainment will be available throughout the day.
At St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle, singer, Steady Eddie will be entertaining everyone in the spacious lounge during the afternoon with his special mix of songs from the 50's and 60's. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and cream scones will be on offer for everyone attending.
If you'd like to come along to either of our special Care Home Open Day events or would like more information, please contact our home managers: Cynthia Agbo at Holy Cross in Sunderland on 0191 5670862 or Anne Tonge at St Catherine's in Newcastle on 0191 2452400.
We look forward to seeing you!
14 June 2016
Holy Cross resident Norma Johnson was among a select group of local nonagenarians to mark the Queen's official birthday at the weekend.
Her special invitation to Sunderland Council's official celebration event at the city's Museum and Winter Gardens came after her sister, Rita, nominated her for one of the limited number of places available. Returning the surprise, Norma shared the occasion with her sister as her guest of honour.
The typically English event centred around a traditional afternoon tea and entertainment was provided by a children's choir – which also held a surprise for Norma. Accompanying the choir on piano was no other than Ken Jolly who had played the organ at Holy Cross on many occasions, including at their regular Songs of Praise services.
To commemorate her historic involvement in marking the Queen's 90th birthday, Norma had her photo taken next to a very life-like figure of the Queen and was presented with a special flag and commemorative coin, which she enjoyed sharing with fellow residents and staff on her return to Holy Cross.
"I'm delighted Norma was chosen to attend the special event," said Holy Cross Activity Co-ordinator Clare Quinn. "She always makes an effort to make our new residents feel welcome and is generous to a fault. She truly is a special lady."
13 June 2016
Congratulations to our charity Patrons, Ant and Dec and Alan Shearer on receiving their awards in the Queen's 90th birthday honours list.
Ant and Dec each received an OBE for their services to broadcasting and entertainment and Alan Shearer was awarded a CBE for charitable services to the community in the North East.
Everyone at St Cuthberts Care sends their very best wishes.
13 June 2016
With celebrations across the country for the queen's 90th birthday, it was only natural that residents of both our nursing homes were looking forward to marking the occasion.
We couldn't organise street parties for them, but we did lay on a weekend of festivities, with the lounges at both St Catherine's and Holy Cross decked out with flags, bunting and pictures of the queen looking back across the whole 90 years.
The birthday parade in London on Saturday was watched on the big screens at both homes, with family and friends invited along for a buffet lunch and to raise a glass. Party-goers at Holy Cross were also treated to live music from Lisa Laidler, who closed her show by leading everyone in a rousing rendition of "God save the queen".
Everyone was welcomed back on Sunday to watch the party in The Mall and enjoy afternoon refreshments.
Many of our residents are of the same generation as the queen so there was plenty of reminiscing about growing up in the early years of the last century and wartime experiences.
10 June 2016
Green fingered residents at our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle have been taking advantage of the good weather to plan and plant their garden courtyard.
The small group are members of a new gardening club at the home and spent time carefully considering plant varieties, colour schemes and positioning before any planting took place.
But there was no beating around the bush once the selected seedlings arrived. With the sun shining in the sheltered courtyard garden, it was trowels and watering cans at the ready! Marigolds, Bacopa, Lobelia and Geraniums were among the blooms given pride of place.
"We've added a splash of colour to our garden with some cheerful bedding plants - and had great fun in the process," said Community Services Manager, Joanne Bulford. "The names of the plants have tested everyone's memory and they've proven to be a real talking point, too."
Because the courtyard can be viewed from the comfort of the home's large, glazed lounge, residents unable to get outside are still able to enjoy watching them flourish.
"I'm sure they'll be admired and discussed many times throughout the summer months," added Joanne.
8 June 2016
Tension may be mounting ahead of the Euro 2016 Championships in France, but there was plenty of football fun a little closer to home for some of our service users.
A group of regular clients at our Parkhead Day Centre for adults with learning disabilities in Ashington have just taken part in a few friendly football matches and even took some silverware home for their troubles!
Going head to head with other local teams, goals were scored and dozens of friends and family came along to lend their support and see them presented with medals.
Parkhead Support Worker, Michael Hornsby, who also doubles up as coach and manager to the team, had little time to work with his squad before the match, but was delighted with their performance.
"The team played extremely well with little pre-match training and I felt so proud seeing them represent Parkhead," said Michael. "They really gave their all and demonstrated excellent sportsmanship. They thoroughly enjoyed every minute and that's what counts the most."
Well done to players Michael, Stephen, Thomas, Christine, Simon and Mark and an extra shout-out to Laura who led the team supporters with such enthusiasm.
The matches were part of a special Ability 2 Play event held in Blyth which gave adults with disabilities the opportunity to try a range of activities and sports.
"We'd love to be part of the new league, which is still being set up," added Michael. "Who knows where we'll be with a little more practice!"
6 June 2016
Our charity has a huge variety of volunteer opportunities and, as we're in the midst of Volunteer Week, why not get in touch and sign up to give your time to help others.
Our rewarding volunteer opportunities range from taking time for a chat with some of our elderly nursing home residents or accompanying them on outings, to more active pursuits like gardening in our grounds – we even have a shop run by volunteers in our Holy Cross Nursing Home in Sunderland.
There are many things you can try your hand at and we always do our best to match your location and interests to the opportunities we have available.
Volunteer Week is also a time for thanking our current volunteers who give their time so generously; you really do make a difference to people's lives.
If you would like to see some examples of the kinds of volunteering opportunities available with St Cuthberts Care, you can visit our website: www.stcuthbertscare.org.uk/volunteer or give us a ring on 0191 228 0111. Thank you.
3 June 2016
Everyone's had a fantastic time at the Activity Centre during half term week with tons of interesting things to do and lots of people joining in.
The miserable weather hasn't spoiled a thing and we even built our own indoor beach to give people a taste of what summer should really be like!
Our creative members packed into the Centre to make their own robots and Joseph is pictured here with his incredible android invention! We've shook up milk shakes, topped cake pops and trekked in a treasure hunt – and there's still time to join us for more free fun.
Why not give us a call to book your place at our Family Fun Day this Saturday, 4 June. We'll have outdoor fun if the weather is good, or we've got plenty of space indoors if summer still hasn't arrived! The fun takes place between 12 noon and 2pm and our friendly reception staff will be happy to make sure you have a place if you ring them on 0191 2678118.
2 June 2016
Residents at our Sunderland-based Holy Cross Nursing Home and many of their relatives packed into the home's large lounge to enjoy a memorable evening of entertainment and nostalgia recently.
Travelling theatre company, Northeast Producers, wowed everyone at the home with their latest show, 'Mother Knows Best', which focuses on all the trials and tribulations of a mother/daughter relationship.
Set in the 50's and 60's, everyone enjoyed sharing in the nostalgia and there were more than a few wry smiles at some of the motherly quips in the show.
Songs such as 'You Can't Hurry Love', 'How Do You Like Your Eggs In the Morning' and 'Que Sera Sera' added to the feel-good atmosphere and many people couldn't help but sing along.
"Everyone really enjoyed the show and we had lots of positive comments," said Holy Cross Activity Coordinator, Clare Quinn. "In fact, people loved it so much that we've booked them to come back at Christmas when I'm sure there'll be more fun to be had!"
31 May 2016
With all their years of experience of the north east weather, our St Catherine's Nursing Home residents know you should never miss the chance to catch a bit of sunshine when you can.
When they heard that there was a bus trip along the coast planned, several couldn't wait to set off. Once clear of the city it was a pleasant run to take in the views from Whitley Bay to Blyth, where they found a comfy café for a coffee break. Then it was on to Dobbies Garden Centre in Ponteland for lunch and a potter around the plants.
The real highlight though turned out to be the tropical fish at Dobbies. Our Community Services Manager, Joanne Bulford, who helped to arrange the trip said, “The colourful fish in the aquarium were a great hit. We spent ages watching them and people were still talking about them the next day. Everyone is looking forward to another visit soon.”
24 May 2016
20 May 2016
Excitement is building for one of our Holy Cross residents as the date of the Queen's official birthday draws closer.
Nonagenarian, Norma Johnson, who lives in our Sunderland nursing home, has received a very special invitation to mark the Queen's official birthday after her sister, Rita, put her name forward for a very exclusive event.
Organised by Sunderland City Council, the invitation-only tea party will be held on June 10th at Sunderland's Museum and Winter Gardens.
"Nominations were open to anyone born in Sunderland in 1926," said Holy Cross manager, Cynthia Agbo, "so you can imagine how excited we all were when we found out Norma had received one of the invitations!"
Norma will be accompanied by Rita at the once-in-a-lifetime event and both are already making the most of the occasion by spending time together browsing and shopping for exactly the right outfit.
18 May 2016
The first glimpse of summer has been too much to resist for guests at the Alan Shearer Short Break Centre this week.
First it was lunch on the lawn in the shade of the Centre's impressive beech tree, then a quick kick-about with a football in the garden. Not wanting to waste a scrap of the elusive sunshine, our minibus was laid on for a quick trip to the coast and a stroll along the seafront from Whitley Bay to St Mary's lighthouse.
Short Break Manager, Jackie Dunn, said, “We have planned regular outings for our guests throughout the year as part of their breaks, but it's always nice to enjoy our fabulous grounds in the good weather. It was extra special to be able to arrange a trip out at short notice like this, too. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their unexpected seaside jaunt.”
16 May 2016
As Foster Care Fortnight gets underway, our Fostering North East team is stepping up their search for more foster carers at their latest event in Newcastle.
Come and meet the team at their stand inside the portico at Newcastle Central Station this Tuesday, 17 May between 12noon and 4pm to find out how you could foster a child.
And, if you would like to hear from a foster carer first hand, visit our stand between 12 noon and 1pm when one of our visiting carers will be on hand to share her experiences and answer any questions.
"Nationally, more than 9,000 fostering families will be needed this year and the numbers are growing," said Fostering North East Operations Manager, Joann Gibson. "If you want to make a difference to a child's life, are over 21 and have a spare room, that's all you need to start enquiring about becoming a foster carer with us."
13 May 2016
News and updates from our Fostering North East team can all be found at their very own Facebook page from today.
As next week's Foster Care Fortnight brings the need for more foster carers into even sharper focus, our Fostering North East team is launching its very own Facebook page to make it even easier to find out more about fostering.
The page will be used to post information, encourage comment and, hopefully, find even more foster carers for children and young people around our region who are desperately in need of loving homes.
"Our website enquiry form is well used and we regularly travel the region to find local foster carers," said Fostering North East Operations Manager, Joann Gibson. "By adding a dedicated Facebook page to the variety of ways people can get in touch, we hope to attract even more interest."
For all the latest news from Fostering North East and to find out where you can next meet the team in person, check out their new Facebook page. Information is also available on their website www.fosteringnortheast.org.uk or you can ring Joann and her team on 0191 2280111.
11 May 2016
Creative residents in our St Catherine's Nursing home have transformed the humble paper plate into a work of art.
Using a selection of primary colour paints and sponges, individual dollops of colour were mixed, blended and turned into various designs including abstract patterns, trees and flowers.
St Catherine's activity co-ordinator, Kat Brennan said, "It's such a simple idea, but everyone loved seeing the colours change as they mixed the blues, reds and yellows and there were some pretty eye-catching results."
Everyone found the painting session really relaxing and their works of art will be put on show for visitors and other residents to enjoy, too.
10 May 2016
When Star Wars gets into your blood, you just have to go with the flow and service users from our Parkhead Day Centre for adults with learning disabilities in Ashington have done exactly that!
When it came to celebrating Star Wars Day on May 4th, our Parkhead service users took their intergalactic passion to the (outer) limits, turning everyday items into cosmic specialties.
Setting the lunch table with star-patterned table runners, the scene was set for a scrumptious meal of 'Han burgers' and 'Tie Fighter Fries' followed by 'Jabba Jelly' and 'Wookie Cookies' with a good helping of 'Yoda Soda', too!
"Everyone had a great day and really got into the Star Wars mood," said Parkhead Manager, Claire Graham. "After watching 'The Phantom Menace' everyone was ready to try their hand at some lightsabre battles, but, thankfully, our Jedi Knights were much friendlier than their Hollywood counterparts!"
6 May 2016
A whopping 30 large bags of donations have been delivered at our head office for our 5p Bus, coming all the way from the most northerly first school in our diocese.
The donation drive was arranged by the Mini Vinnies group at St Cuthberts First School in Berwick and all 85 of the school's pupils couldn't wait to get involved.
As well as lots of practical children's clothing the pupils also collected a number of toys – including buckets and spades for some summertime fun.
Delivered by the school's head teacher, Clare McGregor and Teaching Assistant, Linda Moffat, everything will be distributed on the 5p Bus to needy families and individuals around the region.
5p Bus Manager, Iris Boyd said, "I would like to say a really big thank you to all the pupils, who have worked very hard to collect as many items, and to Clare and Linda for delivering everything. Their thoughtful good deed will make so much difference to those who are finding it hard to make ends meet."
5 May 2016
Football league games may be drawing to a close but for some regular visitors to our Parkhead Day Centre for adults with learning disabilities in Ashington, the season is just about to begin!
Staff at Parkhead are busy recruiting new team members for the Centre's very own football team after the last players hung up their boots around 10 years ago.
Nine team members are already signed up - including two ladies and five original members – and they are taking their training seriously as they head towards their first competition in June.
"When we found out there used to be a team that played against similar teams from other day centres, we thought it was time to revive the tradition," said manager, Claire Graham. "There's already been a tremendous amount of interest, not just in joining the team, but being a travelling supporter, too. I think our days out will be pretty memorable and hopefully we'll bring back the odd trophy, too!"
Watch this space for updates …
4 May 2016
A packed house greeted popular performer, Sadie, when she returned once more to entertain our Holy Cross residents – and many family members couldn't resist coming along, too.
Much-loved songs, such as 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling', 'Tulips from Amsterdam' and 'Molly Malone', had everyone singing along and her stunning costume changes made the event a real spectacle.
"Our residents love the impressive costumes as much as the singing," said the home's Activities Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn. "This time, when Sadie entered wearing a gorgeous, pink ball gown there was an audible gasp from one of our ladies! The whole show was a real pick-me-up for everyone."
29 April 2016
If you're tired of the snow and freezing temperatures we've had this week, come and join in with our free craft event at the Alan Shearer Activity Centre this Saturday for a reminder of spring.
Our talented, friendly staff will be waiting to welcome you and give you all the help you need to make your own creative, home-made daffodils. We'll supply all the materials and, whatever you make, you can take home with you at the end of your visit.
"No matter what the weather is doing, our daffodil designs will be bright and cheerful and we'll have great fun making them, too!" said Activity Centre Recreation Assistant, Heather McLaren.
To book your free place on our Spring Arts & Crafts event, give our reception staff a ring on 0191 2678118.
28 April 2016
Guests staying at our Short Break Centre had a great time showcasing their vocal talents alongside some famous singers during a recent karaoke session.
With all the sparkle of celebrity, guests, Rebecca and Rachel, took to the mic to join in with popular songs like 'Wake Me Up' by Avicii, 'Don't Stop Believing' by Journey and 'Sweet Caroline' by Neil Diamond.
"Our karaoke machine is always popular and there's no holding back when the singing starts," said Short Break Senior Residential Care Officer, Steph Carlington. "Rebecca loved her time so much, she enjoyed another session when she stayed with us a few days later!"
25 April 2016
Our St Catherine's residents enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of music when local singer/songwriter, Christine Rosemond, came to entertain them in the home's spacious lounge.
After a rousing performance of Land and Hope and Glory, the selection of songs included wartime favourite, 'We're Going to Hang Out the Washing on the Siegfried Line'; popular hymn, 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' and fun sing-alongs like 'How Much is that Doggy in the Window."
"Everyone had a great time listening, singing or clapping along to the songs," said St Catherine's activity co-ordinator, Kat Brennan. "Music is such a therapeutic experience and a tonic for our residents. Christine's songs really brightened everyone's day."
22 April 2016
Come and share in all the fun at the Alan Shearer Activity Centre this Saturday, 23 April as we celebrate St George's Day.
We'll have a face painter between 12 noon and 1.30pm and places are still available for some of our sensory rooms. If the weather is good, you can also make the most of our gorgeous, accessible gardens and grounds, too.
The Centre's facilities and the face painting session are free of charge to our members, so give our friendly recreation assistants a ring to book your place or ask about becoming a member – that's free, too!
Ring the Centre on 0191 2678118.
21 April 2016
Adults with learning disabilities attending our recent Live and Learn skills session at the Alan Shearer Centre couldn't wait to use their artistic talents to mark the Queen's birthday.
The group of regular visitors surrounded themselves with a selection of jewel stickers, coloured pencils, crayons, brushes and paint which were all used to create magnificent pictures of crowns, Beefeaters and all things royal. There were even foam crowns to bejewel and wear!
At the end of the session, the regal creations were displayed alongside impressive hand-made cards, wishing Her Majesty a very happy 90th birthday.
"Everyone had a great time preparing for the Queen's birthday celebrations," said Activity Centre Recreation Assistant, Jan Rootham. "We're all looking forward to another special celebration in June."
18 April 2016
The drab weather certainly didn't dampen the spirits of our Holy Cross Nursing Home residents when they took one of their regular trips out to St Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth.
The church is a favourite place to visit and our residents have struck up quite a friendship with many of the volunteers who help out at the church.
"We always get a lovely, warm welcome when we visit," said Holy Cross activity co-ordinator, Clare Quinn, "so it never matters what the weather is doing!"
After spending time in prayer in the heart of the church, our residents, staff and volunteer rounded off their trip by enjoying tea and scones in the café.
"Everyone in our group was so pleased to make this one last trip before the church closes for some restoration work," added Clare. "I'm sure we'll all be returning as soon as it re-opens."
14 April 2016
New St Catherine's Nursing Home resident, Lily Ross, enjoyed a taste of the Chinese healing art of Tai Chi for the first time when instructor Wendy Chan paid one of her regular visits to the home.
The gentle yet challenging movements are enjoyed by residents in the home every month and, as well as helping them to stay as mobile as possible, give everyone taking part a real boost to their sense of well-being.
During the sessions, residents are given careful, individual instruction and are then able to practise the movements together as a group.
"I really enjoy exercise and I felt lovely and relaxed afterwards," said Lily. "I'll definitely go back next time."
13 April 2016
Parkhead, our day centre for people with learning disabilities in Ashington, is about to burst into bloom after an impressive garden makeover.
People attending the centre have already worked with our staff to put their ideas on paper, creating some imaginative and colourful garden designs.
With funding raised at Christmas and at their Easter fair, they've shopped for plants, bulbs and garden furniture and are now starting to see their project take shape.
Service user, Sharon Briggs, couldn't have been more excited when the bird bath she hoped would be included in the plans actually arrived at Parkhead and was given pride of place.
"As soon as the bird bath was placed outside, Sharon was out there with her jug of water to make sure it was filled and ready to attract some feathered friends," said Parkhead Manager, Claire Graham. "She was so excited!"
With the new benches in place and planting complete, everyone is now waiting for the bulbs to bloom and the plants to spring up – and some fine weather so they can enjoy it all!
8 April 2016
Back by popular demand, puppeteer, Clare Cooper, has once again had the crowd singing and laughing at the Alan Shearer Activity Centre.
Her whacky, colourful characters performed to a soundtrack of sing-along tunes - most familiar, others chosen for their easy-to-learn choruses. With her stage set up in the reception area, her audience quickly grew as even members who had come to use the ballpool and other facilities couldn't resist stopping to watch the show.
It was a perfect way to keep kids of all ages entertained during the holidays, as this comment in the visitors' book shows: “Fabulous resources and great fun activities where children can be themselves. A great relief and a lifesaver for parents.”
A list of forthcoming events and activities is always available on the Alan Shearer Centre website. Simply visit www.alanshearercentre.org.uk to view or download a leaflet.
7 April 2016
Holy Cross resident, Audrey Foster, has admitted to being ‘flabbergasted' after a stunning performance by the girls from The Worx dance and stage school in Sunderland.
The visit was arranged by the niece of another resident, Norma Johnson, who is a friend of Worx dance teacher Beth Greener.
For a full hour, the girls demonstrated their versatility through a variety of dance styles including jazz, acrobatic, classical ballet and street dance. Many of the girls delighted our residents with their vocal talents too, as well as costume changes and a stunning chorus line for a special seaside-themed routine.
Resident, Dorothy Clark, who was herself a dance teacher for nearly 60 years, said that she couldn't believe how professional they were and how much she loved the costumes.
Activity Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn, said ”The Worx girls were a massive success! Everyone has been asking me when they are coming back.”
5 April 2016
If you've ever thought about fostering a child, you can find out more by visiting our Fostering North East team for an informal chat at their stand in Washington Galleries this Friday, 8 April.
Many children and young people in the region are unable to live with their own families and foster carers play a vital role in providing them with loving homes where they are cherished and receive the care and guidance they need to grow and realise their potential.
Even if you have never fostered before, our Fostering North East team provides all the support you need to be confident in the role of foster carer, including first-class training and a 24 hour support line.
"This is the latest stop in our search for foster carers around the region for some of the many children who urgently need loving homes," said Fostering North East Operations Manager, Joann Gibson. "Visiting our stand gives an ideal opportunity for people to ask any questions, take away some information or just have a chat to see if becoming a foster carer is for them."
Look out for our colourful banners outside the Sainsbury store in the Galleries Mall between 9am and 2pm.
1 April 2016
The first signs of spring are appearing in the garden of our Holy Cross Nursing Home in Sunderland, which gave Activities Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn, an idea for a day out for some of the residents.
She booked the charity's minibus to take them on a trip to Clay's Garden Centre in Washington, which is just a short ride from the home - unless driver, Michael, chooses a scenic route as he did this time.
After a good look round the new season's bedding plants and shrubs, it was into the café to round off the trip with tea and scones.
Clare said, “This is our most popular trip out, with a lovely drive taking the scenic route. Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. We can only take a small group each time, so we are having several similar trips over the next few months so no one misses out. “
31 March 2016
The Alan Shearer Centre's social, leisure and short break facilities for people with disabilities have been known and appreciated across our region for a number of years. Now the Centre's much valued services are attracting attention from further afield.
A delegation from the Isle of Man have been taken on a tour by Centre Manager, Amanda Head, after seeking help with their plans for a similar facility on the island.
Andrea Rycroft, the Manx government's Service Lead for Learning Disabilities, saw the Centre's website and contacted Amanda to arrange the visit, along with two disability service commissioners and her Project Manager.
As well as taking the opportunity to quiz Amanda about the day-to-day practicalities of running and developing the centre, the visitors were able to see for themselves how much our members enjoy and benefit from having such specialist facilities available free of charge.
Speaking after the visit, Amanda said, “The commissioners were very impressed with everything we have achieved here and with the new developments we have under way. We have obviously given them plenty to think about and I'm looking forward to seeing how closely their new centre on the Isle of Man mirrors what they saw here today.”
30 March 2016
There's nothing the members of our Parkhead Day Centre in Ashington enjoy more than inviting everyone to join them for a day of fun and games.
This year's Easter Fair was as popular as ever with huge support from family, friends and neighbours. As well as attractions such as the Easter egg tombola, ‘hook-a-duck' and the ‘Spin-a-Prize' wheel, there was a range of arts and crafts for sale - all made by members themselves.
The centre's own music group, whose version of Michael Jackson's “Thriller” was a huge hit recently, entertained guests with “So long, farewell” from The Sound of Music.
All the money raised on the day will be added to the centre's funds for outings and entertainment.
Support Worker, Hannah Chappel, said, “It was a lovely day and another opportunity for us to connect with our wonderful support network. We look forward to our next event, which will be our Parkhead 20th Anniversary in June. We hope it will be an event to remember!”
If you would like more information about Parkhead Day Centre, please call 01670 855 561, or email our Operational Support Manager, Amanda Head at; firstname.lastname@example.org.
29 March 2016
Staff at the Alan Shearer Activity Centre have decided to invite some of the members to put their artistic talents to good use.
Work on the new hydrotherapy suite is now cracking-on apace, behind a temporary wall erected in Browne's Café and it seemed a shame not to make use of the large blank “canvas” it offered.
So regulars from the Centre's Live and Learn group set to work on a special mural, inspired by the garden and grounds. The centrepiece is the huge beech tree that stands outside the front door. Surrounded by spring flowers, it is being visited by a couple of the squirrels that are often to be seen running around the garden.
Catering Manager, Fiona Nisbet, said, “ They have done a fantastic job. It really is a feature of the café now and it's just a pity that it's only temporary.”
Live and Learn skills sessions for adults with learning disabilities are held from Tuesday to Friday every week – find out more.
24 March 2016
Ribbons and bows, chicks and rabbits, flowers and feathers – nothing was out of bounds for our Holy Cross residents when it came to decorating their Easter bonnets.
The seasonal craft session attracted a record crowd to the nursing home's activity room where everyone indulged in some friendly competition for the prizes on offer.
This was one of the first activities for new resident, Rita Render who was delighted to be presented with a runner-up prize and told staff she hadn't laughed so much in years. Studious attention to detail paid off for resident, Maureen Walton who also won a runner-up prize, but the top prize of a delicious, large Easter egg went to fellow resident, Brian Jackson for his feather-topped creation.
"I can't imagine any of the hats being worn at Ascot," said the home's Activity Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn, "but it wasn't the finished items that mattered. Everyone set out to have a really lovely time together and they definitely achieved that!"
21 March 2016
All this week we're marking Down's Syndrome Awareness Week at the Alan Shearer Activity Centre.
We have lots of information on display, provided by the Down's Syndrome Association, and leaflets are available to take away, too.
Our Activity Centre is free for disabled children and adults, their family and carers. With our range of sensory rooms, a giant ball pool, creative music room, new play area and our beautiful, accessible grounds and gardens why not book a visit today. Give our friendly staff a ring on 0191 2678118.
18 March 2016
A group of ukulele players put on a fabulous performance for our St Catherine's Nursing Home residents to help them celebrate St Patrick's Day.
The Dam Jammers, brightened everyone's day with their brilliant music, featuring songs by The Kinks, George Formby and lots of popular toe-tappers.
The St Patrick's Day celebrations at St Catherine's started after breakfast with an Irish quiz and some Irish music cds to get everyone in the mood. Then, after lunch, the lounge was packed with residents, eager to give a warm welcome to the band members.
"We all had a wonderful day," said St Catherine's Activity Co-ordinator, Kat Brennan. "There were smiling faces everywhere and people couldn't resist clapping along to the catchy tunes!"
16 March 2016
The Puppets have been back by popular demand to delight and cheer our Holy Cross residents.
The cuddly characters never disappoint and their latest visit soon had everyone tapping their feet or singing along to a selection of popular and memorable tunes.
"I'm always amazed at how much our residents enjoy the show, but they love it!" said Holy Cross Activity Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn. "The puppeteer always seems to know exactly what the residents will enjoy."
14 March 2016
Test tubes, petri dishes and microscopes gave one of our short break guests a taste of what it's like to work as a scientist when he visited Newcastle's Centre for Life recently.
With the help of staff, Owen had chosen the place he wanted to visit most and planned the entire visit - including how to get there by public transport.
Heading straight for the lab when he arrived, Owen looked every inch the expert as he was supported by staff to follow a computer programme which enabled him to learn about the discovery of human DNA. But it wasn't all work and no play!
Owen couldn't wait to hang up his lab coat and head for the 4D motion ride which took him on an exciting virtual journey with SpongeBob SquarePants in The Great Jelly Rescue.
Even after the watery escapade, Owen still had the energy to investigate more and spent time with staff in the Robots exhibition, too.
"I had a great day!" said Owen. "I think the 4D ride was my favourite."
10 March 2016
Saturday, March 12 is Disabled Access Day – as good a day as any to discover all the free, accessible benefits of our Alan Shearer Activity Centre.
What's more, we'll be holding our Dino Day craft event between 12 noon and 2pm when you can come along and make your very own dinosaur. We have everything you need, just bring your imagination!
Our Activity Centre is ideal for disabled children and adults of all ages, with free access to a range of sensory rooms, a creative music room, giant ball pool and accessible grounds and gardens – including our brand new specialist outdoor play area. Our extended and improved hydro pool will also be available from the end of May.
"Everything is on one level and we have full sized changing beds, wide doors and corridors and hoists in each room," said the Centre's Recreation Assistant, Yvonne Leonard. "We're fairly busy this Saturday, but why not give us a ring and see what's available or come along to our Dino Day event."
Membership of the Activity Centre is free and gives free access to all the specialist facilities available. Ring Yvonne or one of her colleagues at the Centre on 0191 2678118 for more information or to book your place at our Dino Day craft event.
9 March 2016
The egg-straordinary talents of our St Catherine's residents have transformed an everyday breakfast food into something very special for Easter.
Our creative residents got together with the home's activity co-ordinator, Kat, to magically change the humble hard-boiled egg into some pretty special works of art.
Their painting skills were given free reign (or should that be free range!) to brighten up the dowdy eggs and the colourful results are now decorating the home's lounge for everyone to enjoy.
"Everyone worked really hard on their own design and we're all really proud of our creations," said Kat.
8 March 2016
If you like chocolate, you'll love our Easter baskets filled with indulgent chocolate treats – and you've got two chances to win one in our Chocolate Bonanza Raffle!
Two tempting picnic hampers, bursting with chocolate in all shapes and sizes – including a gorgeous Easter egg – are up for grabs in our irresistible raffle.
If you're visiting St Cuthberts House or St Catherine's Nursing Home in the coming weeks, make sure you get your tickets from the main reception desk, priced at just £1 per strip.
The winning ticket will be drawn on Holy Thursday, March 24 and proceeds from the raffle will benefit St Catherine's residents by providing extra funding for events, outings, entertainment and other special treats.
Watch this space for news of the enviable winners!
7 March 2016
It may be early in the year for seaside outings, but a group of residents from our Holy Cross Nursing Home found much to enjoy on their trip to Roker recently.
After a pleasant journey by minibus, the group arrived at the cozy Cliff pub and restaurant, where everyone was given a very warm welcome and an unexpected surprise.
When staff greeted the group to settle them at their tables, they learned that their two course meal and drinks were all to be on the house! Their delicious lunch of fish and chips or curry and rice was followed by sponge pudding and custard and everything was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
"It was such a lovely surprise to be told we were being treated to a free meal because of our valued custom," said Holy Cross Activity Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn. "Eating at the Cliff is always a favourite with our residents and the staff couldn't be nicer. We'd all like to say a massive thank you to them."
1 March 2016
'May the Force be with you' took on a more earthly meaning for some of our Short Break guests recently.
As part of the Centre's links with the local community, a special visit was arranged by members of the local police, which was both educational and fun.
After an interesting and informative presentation on the role of the police and being offered some general advice about staying safe and being aware, it was time for a fashion show with a difference.
Helmets, hats, jackets and waistcoats were tried on for size and everyone enjoyed posing for photos.
"The regular visits are always popular and we've got a great relationship with our community officers," said Short Break Centre manager, Jackie Dunn. "Our guests have a whale of a time and benefit from some very helpful advice, too."
29 February 2016
It may be called the Alan Shearer Activity Centre, but that doesn't mean you have to be too active every time you visit.
When the chocolate fountain appeared this weekend, the most energetic thing our guests had to do was dip and enjoy. Marshmallows, biscuits and cake were laid out ready to be coated in the lovely, runny milk chocolate – plus some fruit of course, to help you feel a little less guilty.
Most of the chocaholics were young enough to have no worries about the calories, but burned them off anyway making the most of their visit to the Centre.
If you missed this weekend's treat, come along to the cake baking session next Saturday, when you can make something special for Mother's Day on Sunday.
The Alan Shearer Activity Centre has special events planned throughout March – download a leaflet to find out more.
26 February 2016
The wraps are off the Alan Shearer Centre's new, wheelchair accessible playground - part of a major revamp at the Centre.
The playground now features a new swinging platform, specifically designed for wheelchair users, which enables them to swing themselves by simply pulling a rope. The new roundabout has a special section for chairs but can also be used standing or sitting; and there's a sit and spin “bowl” if you're not too giddy to try it.
Centre Manager, Amanda Head said, ”The playground has always been popular with our members and with Short Break Centre guests, who have full access to our facilities during their stay. I'm sure they will love the extra measure of independence the new equipment offers them.”
Work is well under way inside the Centre too, with the Hydrotherapy Suite now demolished to make way for an exciting new facility. It's scheduled to open at the end of May so we'll keep you posted on progress!
25 February 2016
If you haven't chosen to give up chocolate for Lent, pop along to our chocolate event at the Activity Centre this Saturday, 27 February between 12 noon and 2pm.
We'll have a delicious chocolate fountain and bowls brimming with fruit and other goodies to dip.
Everything is free for our members, so all you need to do is give us a ring to book your place, come along and enjoy!
Ring our friendly reception staff on 0191 2678118 to make your booking or to find out more.
24 February 2016
This week is student volunteering week, so, if you're a student looking for a volunteering opportunity, we'd love to hear from you.
We have a wide variety of roles across our services – from helping out in our extensive gardens or visiting our nursing home residents to lending a hand on our 5p Bus clothes distribution service.
"We always try to match people with the best volunteering roles for them, so they can have the best volunteering experience possible", says Volunteer Co-ordinator, Nicola Milne. "Even if people aren't sure what they'd like to do, I can talk through what's available and work with them to find the best match. We'd particularly like to welcome any young people who are working towards their JPII Award."
You can see the range of roles on offer with St Cuthberts Care by visiting our volunteer page and, if there's anything you'd like to do, give Nicola a ring on 0191 2280111 or email email@example.com
23 February 2016
A woman attending our special day centre in Gateshead for people with dementia – St Joseph's Day Centre – surprised everyone with an incredible impromptu performance recently.
As staff and clients gathered to enjoy time together in the centre's lounge, regular attendee, Muriel Heslop, offered to entertain the group and took to the floor to give a perfect rendition of the hauntingly beautiful Irish ballad, Danny Boy.
Muriel used to be a member of a group called the Silver Divas and was thrilled to have the chance to sing to others once more.
"Muriel is an amazing singer," said St Joseph's Day Centre manager, Flavia Myers. "She obviously enjoys singing so much and we thoroughly enjoy listening. After her time with the Silver Divas it's lovely that she'll be able to continue her singing here."
22 February 2016
Popular songs from days gone by had our Holy Cross residents singing along when entertainer, Gilly, performed for them recently.
Everyone had a great time as Gilly sang a selection of well-remembered songs from the 50's 60's and 70's. Toes were tapping to Summer Holiday and Great Balls of Fire; romance was in the air with Something Stupid and Pretty Woman and people couldn't help but sing along to Delilah, These Boots Are Made for Walking and My Way.
"Our residents recognised all the songs and had a wonderful time joining in," said the home's Activity Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn. "Everyone agreed the whole afternoon was a massive hit!"
19 February 2016
Our Alan Shearer Short Break Centre has been likened to one of the most iconic brands for quality.
The description of the centre as the 'Rolls Royce service' came from the parent of a young service user and the comment was included in the latest inspection report by Ofsted – the regulatory standards organisation for children and young people's services.
The report also states that the Centre has 'excellent resources on site' and notes that 'the inspector observed children and young people arriving happily at the centre and clearly looking forward to their stay.'
The interim inspection determines that the Short Break Centre has improved effectiveness following its full inspection rating of 'good' last summer and no requirements or recommendations were made as a result of the inspection.
Our charity's Director of Care Services, Sheila Errington said, "We have invested heavily in our Alan Shearer Centre and continue to plan and deliver further improvements year-on-year. As with all of our services, we strive to achieve excellence as standard."
19 February 2016
Former St Thomas More pupil, Liam Read will take part in one of the Foundation's most daring fundraising feats on Saturday when he takes part in a skydive to raise money for the Alan Shearer Centre.
This is Liam's second fundraising effort on behalf of the Foundation, having already raised money as part of St Thomas More's winning team in St Cuthberts Care's Young Social Entrepreneur challenge.
The 21 year old, who is now in his second year studying Neuroscience at Leeds University, said; "After taking part in the Young Social Entrepreneur challenge raising money for the Foundation was a natural choice as I have direct knowledge of the good work it does".
Liam's skydive will take place Saturday, 20 February at Hibaldstow Airfield. If you would like to help support Liam and the Alan Shearer Foundation, please visit his fundraising page: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/liamread1
16 February 2016
Disabled youngsters staying at our Alan Shearer Short Break Centre were able to find out what it's like to look after a variety of animals when they took a trip around Kirkley Hall Zoo recently.
During their stay, our Short Break guests meet to choose their favourite places to visit and, on this occasion, Kirkley Hall Zoo came top of the list.
Rabbits, a peacock and an aquarium full of fish made for lots of smiles and laughter and a few brave youngsters even got up close and personal with one of the zoo's snakes.
After their mini safari hands were thoroughly washed before everyone piled into the zoo café for lunch.
"I really enjoyed my day out!" said Short Break guest, Owen.
15 February 2016
Our Fostering North East team often travels around the region in search of new foster carers and this Thursday, 18 February, they'll be in Middlesbrough.
If you've ever thought about fostering and would like to know more, members of our fostering team will be holding an information session at Asda Parkend on Ormesby Road, Middlesbrough.
The team will be in store between 11am and 2pm and anyone is welcome to pop in for an informal chat.
"There are children all over the region desperately in need of foster families," said Fostering North East Operations Manager, Joann Gibson, "but this is an ideal opportunity for anyone in the Middlesbrough area who has ever thought about fostering to chat with us in person. We'll be happy to answer any questions and there will be information packs available to take away, too."
If you can't get along to our latest event but would still like to know more about fostering you can contact Joann and the Fostering North East team by ringing 0191 228 0111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
12 February 2016
They're certainly a romantic lot at the Alan Shearer Centre. With St Valentine's Day falling on a Sunday this year ( the only day of the week that the Centre isn't open), they decided to bring the celebration forward not one, but two days!
The first thing you need, of course, is a card. So, this afternoon, out came the glitter and glue along with plenty of ideas to get everyone started. In true Valentine's tradition nobody would say who they were making their card for, but all may be revealed tonight at a special Valentine's Disco.
The Disco, for adult members, starts at 5.30pm with music, competitions, prizes and a delicious buffet until 8.30pm. The party is free and if you want to come, but you're not a member of the Centre yet, don't worry. Membership is free too and you can join on the night! (But please give us a ring first on 0191 267 8118 to book your place.)
If you have any energy left after all that partying you can come back tomorrow for a special Valentine's bake-off, between 12 noon and 2pm, when you can make some “love-themed” cakes.
10 February 2016
Taking a trip down memory lane is one of our Holy Cross residents' favourite things to do - especially when it's helped along with a few nostalgic songs.
Local entertainer, Sadie, was a massive hit with residents when she made a return visit to the home with her 'Once Upon A Memory' show. Her colourful outfits and popular songs were enough to brighten the dullest of February days and she soon had everyone singing along to hits by Doris Day, Connie Francis, Frank Sinatra and the Everly Brothers - to name a few.
"Sadie is a proper ray of sunshine when she visits us," said Holy Cross Activities Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn. "Our residents love her and we've already booked her for the spring."
9 February 2016
There was plenty of monkeying around at our Activity Centre when it came to celebrating Chinese New Year.
The Year of the Monkey was welcomed by guests of all ages who had great fun colouring monkey pictures, making Chinese drums and enjoying the odd fortune cookie, too.
Alan Shearer Centre regular, Madiha, was thrilled with her fortune cookie message which read: 'you are always welcome at any gathering'.
"I couldn't agree more," said Recreation Assistant, Jan Rootham. "Madiha is always a pleasure to have at our events."
The fun continues today with pancake making to mark Shrove Tuesday, then, on Wednesday, it's time to celebrate the humble Bramley apple with a recipe or two.
Our events are all free and it's as easy as apple pie to book yourself a place. Just ring our helpful reception staff on 0191 2678118 and come along to join in the fun!
8 February 2016
A young man with disabilities living in our Alan Shearer Specialist Residential home met a very cheeky General on a trip out recently.
General the sea lion is one of the star attractions at Tynemouth's Blue Reef Aquarium and Alan Shearer Centre resident, Matthew, couldn't wait to meet him.
Matthew is fascinated with everything aquatic and enjoyed exploring every nook and cranny of the aquarium before posing with General for a photo.
"Matthew was delighted to spend time with General and we knew he would love being surrounded by so many sea creatures," said Specialist Residential home manager, Jaime Deltrice. "In fact, he loved it so much, we took him round twice!"
… We wonder if Matthew knew General was sticking out his tongue in the photo!
5 February 2016
This is the news from your local BBC … presented by some of our Parkhead Day Centre regulars.
People attending our centre in Ashington for adults with learning disabilities have tried their hand at many things, but a behind-the-scenes tour of BBC Newcastle recently gave them a host of brand new experiences.
The lucky visitors got the chance to sample lots of broadcasting techniques, including reading from an autocue, presenting the weather and even recording a radio jingle!
During the visit, the group also travelled through a BBC timeline to learn about its history, had fun with the station's green screens - which placed them in different locations around the world - and met popular presenter, Colin Briggs, for a question and answer session.
"It was all very exciting," said Parkhead Support Worker, Hannah Chappell, who attended with the group. "We really felt the part with our headphones and microphones! It was hard work, too, but so much fun once we got the hang of it all. We had such a great time and would love to go back!"
4 February 2016
Although the popular hydro pool at our Activity Centre is set to close from the end of the day on Saturday, 6 February, we'll be back soon - bigger and better than ever!
Work to the hydro pool will start immediately following the closure and, on completion, is set to double the size of the pool and offer our members a luxury spa experience.
The new hydro suite is expected to take until the end of May to complete and we'll keep you informed of our opening date nearer the time.
Meanwhile, members can continue to enjoy the rest of the Centre's amazing specialist facilities for free. To book a session, ring our friendly team on 0191 2678118.
3 February 2016
Residents and staff at or nursing homes in Sunderland and Newcastle marked Dignity Action Day on February 1st by taking part in a range of activities and interests.
At Holy Cross, a 'Songs of Praise' gathering included hymns chosen by residents themselves and featured readings and poems about dignity and respect - including one read by resident, Maureen Walton and another by regular visitor, Margaret Trotter.
Tea and home-made cake, baked by Activity Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn, rounded off the occasion.
Over at St Catherine's, residents enjoyed exploring their inner calm and creativity with a session of Tai Chi followed by time enjoying a variety of arts and crafts.
The aim of Dignity Action Day is to highlight the importance of treating everyone using care services as individuals with a right to make choices and enjoy a sense of purpose in their lives.
2 February 2016
St Catherine's resident, Helen Thompson, couldn't wait to show off her baking skills after a chat with a staff member highlighted the declining quality of shop-bought cheese scones!
John Burns, who works in the home as a Domestic, always finds time to chat to residents as he goes about his work and when the conversation turned to cheese scones, John was quick to point out his disappointment with a recent purchase.
Helen, however, was just as quick to respond with a solution. After a word with the home's Activity Co-ordinator, Kat, ingredients were gathered and the great St Catherine's bake-off began, with some of the other residents joining in, too.
When the scones were still warm from the oven, Helen waited proudly for John to arrive to put them to the taste test.
"Absolutely gorgeous!" said John. "I couldn't believe it when Helen said she was going to make some of her scones, but she certainly seemed to enjoy making them and I definitely enjoyed eating them!"
And, like all good home baking, the rest of the tasty pastries disappeared super quick with fellow residents enjoying the extra tea-time treats.
1 February 2016
Work is well underway to build a brand new specialist play area in the stunning grounds of our Alan Shearer Activity Centre.
A wheelchair accessible roundabout and swing is already in place and will enable more of our visitors to enjoy outdoor fun when the area is completed in February.
A new seating area and picnic bench has also been added so that parents and carers can relax close by with refreshments and tasty treats from Browne's cafe.
Supported by funding from the Alan Shearer Foundation, further improvements at the Centre include extending and upgrading the hydrotherapy pool. Watch this space for more details!
28 January 2016
Arm raises and leg lifts are just some of the gentle exercises being enjoyed by our St Catherine's residents in a new class held in the home's spacious lounge.
Residents carefully followed all the actions of the 'move it or lose it' class on the home's big screen projector, with Activity Co-ordinator, Kat Brennan on hand to give lots of support and encouragement, too.
"We'll be following the routines each week," said Kat, "which are all specially designed to improve strength and mobility in older people."
The chair-based exercises - set to inspirational and memorable music - attracted a full house, with many residents in their 80's and 90's giving them a try for the first time. "This just proves you're never too old to exercise!" added Kat.
26 January 2016
It's that time again! The one day of the year when the Sassenachs (that's the name the Scots give to Englishmen!) will eat haggis.
The Alan Shearer Centre celebrated Burns Day in the time honoured way, with haggis, neeps and tatties - and of course a piper to lead the haggis into Browne's Café, while everyone clapped in time to the tunes.
Recreation Assistants, Heather McLaren and Jan Rootham joined piper, Ian Nelson in the procession before Jan read Burns' “Address to the Haggis” (in her best Scots accent) and plunged a knife into it to begin the meal.
It was piper, Ian Nelson's, second visit to the Centre to lead the proceedings. He offered his services free of charge, fitting it into a busy schedule of 14 Burns events and a flight to Portugal to play at a wedding!
Everyone had a great time at the Centre celebrations and would like to pass on their grateful thanks to Ian.
22 January 2016
An early-bird Easter bunny has found a home at our Short Break Centre after it proved to be a bit too big for a teenager's room.
Helen Bullard, who lives in Winlaton, needed to find a home for the giant rabbit after her dad won the snuggly toy in a raffle. With no space for the gift in her own room, staff from the Short Break Centre were delighted to give it the warmest of welcomes.
"It's lovely that Helen thought of us when looking for a home for the toy," said Short Break Manager, Jackie Dunn. "I know many of our guests will thoroughly enjoy giving it lots of cuddles."
21 January 2016
Every Sunday morning, members of Hirst Progressive Social Club in Ashington collect their spare change for St Cuthberts Care.
This year, the club raised £700 and our Fundraising Manager, Nicola Milne went to meet club members and club Secretary, John Wrightson, to say thank you.
“For over 40 years the members of Hirst Progressive Club have supported our work in the community, raising in excess of £30,000 said Nicola. “We can't thank them enough; support like this is vital if we wish to continue to making a genuine difference to those in most need throughout our region.”
John added, “Every Sunday morning, we pass the plate around and everyone puts in their spare change. We can get as little as £10 and as much as £30, but every penny counts! The club is very pleased to help such a worthwhile cause."
To find out more about St Cuthberts Care's Community Work and how you can help, contact Nicola direct on 0191 242 4809 or email, email@example.com and she will be delighted to help.
19 January 2016
St Catherine's Nursing home resident, Alan Mathieson, was delighted when two special visitors turned up to mark his 67th wedding anniversary.
Of course, there couldn't be an anniversary without Alan's wife, Eileen, but he was delighted to share the celebration with another special family member, too.
Granddaughter, Sarah, had travelled from Australia to stay with the family throughout the festive season and just had time to fit in an anniversary visit before having to return home the next day.
The couple were all smiles as they posed for their photo with Sarah. Asked what he thought of the special occasion, Alan summed it up in two words, "It's fantastic!"
19 January 2016
The fourth Alan Shearer Foundation Ball in support of our Alan Shearer Centre took place on Saturday at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, raising an incredible £210,000.
Hosted by Alan Shearer and his wife, Lainya, guests enjoyed an exclusive set by four-time Brit Award winner, Ed Sheeran as well as a performance by specialist dance troupe, the Black Fire Girls and a stunning solo piece by Hollie Shearer.
Guests from the local business community, including many of the Foundation's corporate supporters, took part in special auctions and raffles and made personal pledges to raise the amazing sum, which will contribute to the cost of running the Alan Shearer Centre.
Speaking at the Ball, St Cuthberts Care Chief Executive, Moira Ashman said, "Our Centre is unique; comprising three distinct disability facilities all under one roof, with our specialist Activity Centre being free to all. Funding from the Foundation has enabled us to transform people's lives and I really can't thank Lainya and Alan enough for their unwavering support. I'm deeply grateful to them both for everything that they do for us."
Alan added: "I'd like to thank everyone that has given their support to my Foundation and helped raise such an incredible sum."
Funding raised by the Foundation has already paid for a number of improvements at the Centre and work to develop a new specialist play area and to extend the hydro pool is currently underway.
14 January 2016
Clothes, toys and toiletries were among the dozens of bags of donations collected by students at Newcastle College for people who depend on our 5p Bus.
The Health and Social Care students had researched a number of local charities before choosing to support the work of the 5p Bus, encouraging fellow students, tutors and college staff to donate their unwanted clothing and extra Christmas gifts.
Within a matter of weeks, piles of donations had been gathered and a group of students were given the opportunity to visit the 5p Bus when it came to collect the items from the college.
As well as organising the donations, students took time to look into the work of the 5p Bus and produced their own artwork to display around the college to help encourage others to lend their support.
"The enthusiasm shown by the students for our work is a credit to the college and we are really grateful to have their support," said 5p Bus Manager, Iris Boyd. "So many people in need around the region rely on our service that our stocks are always in need of replenishing. I'd like to thank everyone at Newcastle College who contributed so generously."
College tutor, Erica Hanson said, "Our aim was to collect 1000 items over Christmas and I think we've achieved that. Everyone enjoyed taking part so much that we'd now like to make our collections a regular event and encourage even more of our college campus to get involved."
13 January 2016
After a three week festive break, some of our Holy Cross volunteers returned to find their 'polished' skills were as popular as ever with residents.
Armed with their emery boards, hand creams and nail varnishes, our friendly volunteers transformed tired hands and dull nails in no time at all with their special brand of tlc.
"Our ladies love the pamper sessions and they're always so well attended," said Activity Co-ordinator, Clare Quinn who loaned her own talents to help volunteers meet demand. "I think we can safely say we had lots of satisfied customers who can't wait for the next session!"
12 January 2016
Winter may be lingering, but the dull days and frosty mornings were a distant memory when our St Catherine's residents got colourful and creative with their latest activity.
Choosing from a rainbow of pens and pencils and exercising their finest colouring skills, our residents made pictures of spring flowers burst into life, brightening everyone's day in the process.
Supported by the home's Activity Co-ordinator, Kat Brennan and regular volunteers from Sacred Heart School, there were some very proud smiles at the end of the craft session.
"I didn't know if I could do it," said one of the budding artists, Alan Mathieson, who was happy to show off his gorgeous picture of a flower bouquet.
"I love the colours so much I'm going to have this framed for my room," added fellow resident, Dorothy Barrow.
Craft sessions are just one of a number of regular activities on offer for our St Catherine's residents.
8 January 2016
A youngster from one of our Auton children's homes has been a valuable asset to our 5p Bus team, giving up his own time to help out.
When generous members of the public donated a record amount of clothing and toys for our 5p Bus in the run-up to Christmas, extra help was needed and 13-year-old Tyler jumped at the chance to get involved.
Spending hours with our regular sorting assistant, Kelly Singh, Tyler helped out with quality checks before sorting and hanging the clothing and organising the toys ready for distribution to families and individuals struggling to make ends meet.
"We had a great response to our toy appeal and the clothing donations just kept coming, too," said Kelly. "Tyler was a great help and we managed to get much more ready for distribution than I would have managed on my own. He can come back any time!"
Although a great number of donations were received before Christmas, our 5p Bus distributes around 4000 items every month and stocks are quickly reduced. Find out how you can donate to our 5p Bus by visiting our website or ring 5p Bus Manager, Iris Boyd on 0191 228 0111.
7 January 2016
Our Auton Residential Children's Home in Sunderland has secured its place among the best children's homes in the country.
Following its latest Ofsted inspection, Auton Sunderland is now one of no more than 12 homes nationally to retain the overall rating of 'outstanding' for the third consecutive year.
Director of Care Services, Sheila Errington said, "We consistently aim to achieve the highest of standards across all of our services and are thrilled with this result. Out of more than 2000 homes inspected by Ofsted, this result underlines our reputation as a leading provider."
5 January 2016
Christmas Day in our St Catherine's Nursing Home was made extra special for each and every resident thanks to a group of very organised volunteers!
The early-bird volunteers had their turkey prepared and their Brussels sprouts peeled well in time to fit in a visit to St Catherine's where they turned on the Christmas music and gave out gifts to everyone.
Festive drinks, warm wishes and some yuletide conversation were shared as the volunteers spent time with each resident and helped unwrap the Christmas presents.
The occasion was made even more special when staff and residents surprised duty RGN, Abby, with a cake to mark her Christmas Day birthday.
"Everyone had a lovely time – I'm not sure who enjoyed themselves more, the residents or the volunteers!" said Volunteer Co-ordinator, Nicola Milne.
4 January 2016
Members of our Alan Shearer Activity Centre have a packed programme of free events to look forward to in the New Year.
This month we'll be celebrating Chinese New Year, enjoying a traditional Robbie Burns supper and making our very own robots! Everything is provided, so all you have to do is come along and have fun!
There are new events and activities being added to our calendar all the time, so check out the Centre's latest events leaflet on our website or ring the Centre for more information. And, of course, the Centre's fantastic sensory rooms, ball pool, creative music room and hydro pool are all free of charge, too.
To book your place for any of our events or activities, or to become a member of the Centre, give our friendly reception team a ring on 0191 2678118.