To read our latest Annual Review please click here to download

We always have so many great things to showcase in our annual review that it’s impossible to include everything. However, we’ve had another dip into our photo files and hope you enjoy a few of the extra pictures and stories we’ve chosen from our year.

We made sure birthdays continued to be special

Footy fan, Chris, from our Sherringham House Independent Supported Living apartments, enjoyed a football-themed 60th birthday. The piles of presents took a while to open, but he’s well stocked with all things black and white to support his favourite team.

Emily, who lives in our Alan Shearer Specialist Residential Home, loved the chocolatey surprise she received for her 21st birthday. Home manager, Gareth, took time out to bake a very special cake for Emily which combined all her favourite flavours. The chocolate, strawberry and Nutella cake made a grand centrepiece for her birthday buffet with fellow residents.

Our staff at St Catherine’s Nursing Home, made sure resident, Margaret, was well and truly pampered throughout the day of her 91st birthday. Her usual room service was served with flowers, cards and balloons and there were plenty of rounds of ‘Happy Birthday’ sung, too.

A special birthday calls for special celebrations, so staff at our Auton Children’s Residential Home in Sunderland made sure their sweet 16 princess, Abbie, was treated like royalty all day. As well as turning her wish for a slumber party into reality and laying on a posh buffet, they presented her with her very own bike, too.

Diane, our very own party princess at our Sherringham House Independent Supported Living apartments, loved being spoilt on her birthday by staff and housemates. With a cosy afternoon tea and lots of presents to open, Diane’s gorgeous smile was bigger than ever.

When it came to marking her latest birthday, June, who lives in our Holy Cross Nursing Home, wore her birthday cake – complete with candles! The funky hat didn’t replace her tasty baked cake, though, which she thoroughly enjoyed with fellow residents.

Nancy, who lives in our Holy Cross Nursing Home, loves to look her best and we think she may have a handbag to match every outfit. Thanks to her talented granddaughter, Nancy even had a special handbag to match the occasion of her birthday!

Staff at our St Catherine’s Nursing Home know a thing or two about their residents, so when it came to celebrating Susan’s birthday, they knew a cake with lots of cream would make her day. Topped with a candle, Susan was over-the-moon with her birthday surprise.

We enjoyed some fabulous VIP visits

During these unprecedented times, families were the VIPs most of our residents missed the most, and there were some incredibly emotional reunions when face-to-face visiting returned to our nursing homes.

Residents at our St Catherine’s Nursing Home are never without a visit from possibly the most famous Christmas VIP. As well as delivering presents this year, Santa stayed to wait on tables and serve Christmas lunch.

Some Very Important Pets often pop in to visit our animal loving nursing home residents. Staff love nothing more than sharing their special pets, who often accompany them to work. Watching the smiles and comfort they bring with every visit is priceless.

Outdoor performances were a big draw for music lovers across our services who couldn’t resist joining in with songs they knew so well. A visit by Elvis tribute act, James Fox, had to be one of the few times that a little less conversation was a good thing.

When our visiting priests were no longer able to celebrate Mass in person in our St Catherine’s chapel, live link technology made sure our residents’ spiritual wellbeing continued to be supported. One such link provided our residents with an incredibly special experience when Mass from the Vatican in Rome was streamed live to their chapel TV.

Technology really came into its own

Dozens of people with learning disabilities rely on our Parkhead Resource Centre for fun, honing their skills and socialising. Even though our regulars were unable to get together in person, our staff made sure sessions continued via Zoom and that life-long friendships continued
to thrive.

Whether people in our services were 9 or 90-plus, technology helped to entertain, inform and keep people in touch as well as make sure our service operations could be managed remotely wherever possible.

Our staff were on hand to support our older residents with mobile phone calls and video calls. Being able to see, as well as hear their loved ones kept spirits up and became a regular highlight during lockdown.

A good natter was never more important than during lockdown. Buddies, Carolyn and Linda from our Independent Supported Living service, were determined not to miss out on their weekly catch-up, which continued thanks to the wonders of video calling.

Nature and our green spaces were our havens

The extra TLC we gave to our precious gardens paid dividends, boosting our health and wellbeing and providing a burst of cheerful colour right on our doorstep. Even those who had never gardened before were soon developing green fingers.

Every one of our services benefits from having private, green spaces and the charity’s environmental policy made sure wild areas were allowed to grow wherever possible, to give our wildlife a helping hand.

Our nursing home residents loved bringing the outdoors in with their planting projects: painting pots, planting seeds and watching them grow or just enjoying flowers from the garden.

Being able to pop out to their gardens and outside spaces made sure our residents were able to enjoy plenty of fresh air, help with gardening tasks and top up their vitamin D at the same time.

Even the smallest of spaces were a riot of colour, like this outside space at our Sherringham House Independent Supported Living apartments. After all the hard work was done, budding gardeners, Julie and Gail, enjoyed basking among the fruits of their labours.

A recent addition to our St Catherine’s Nursing Home has been this spacious summer house. Once the finishing touches are complete, this will provide a great space to enjoy the home’s pretty kitchen garden all year round.

We found lots of reasons to celebrate

Our Auton Residential Children’s Services in Newcastle, Darlington and Sunderland found plenty of reasons to celebrate national days and awareness days. From International Women’s Day and St George’s Day to fun-packed evenings to mark Italian Day, Mexican Day and a whole host of others, our young people enjoyed experiencing the world without leaving home.

Residents at our home for adults with learning disabilities in Alnwick love everything about Halloween. Despite being in lockdown, they were still able to put their pumpkin carving skills to good use and enjoy a spooky house party together.

British Pie Week gave our very own master baker, Carolyn – who lives in our Independent Supported Living service – free reign to make the most delicious apple pie to share with her fellow housemate. Tea times don’t come much tastier.

Shrove Tuesday spread lots of smiles for regulars at our Parkhead Resource Centre. With everyone excited to show off their flipping talents, there were certainly plenty of pancakes to go round.

Residents at our St Catherine’s Nursing Home were overjoyed when they were visited by a children’s choir at Christmas. Dozens of students from English Martyrs’ Primary School donned Santa hats and lined up outside our home to sing a seasonal collection of hymns and carols. Wrapped up warmly, our residents opened windows and doors to make sure no-one missed a note of the performance.

Union Jacks, war-time songs and a traditional afternoon tea took our residents on a trip back in time to mark VE Day. Still in the midst of lockdown, our residents agree that the wartime message of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ is right on point once more.

We made sure there was plenty of time for pampers and relaxation

What better time to choose for a good old pamper than Dignity Day, when the focus was firmly on helping our residents at Holy Cross look and feel their very best. As well as continuing with their day-to-day care, our staff turned their hand to manicures and foot spas – all accompanied by tea and tasty treats.

When our visiting hairdresser was able to return to Holy Cross, our residents couldn’t wait to have their hair cut and styled. Nothing quite beats the feeling of a fresh-from-the-salon look.

Whenever support worker, Robyn, brings her pet dog into work at our Independent Living Service, tenant, Helen, loves nothing more than taking her for a relaxing walk in her local park. Helen obviously finds the occasional cuddle therapeutic, too.

When our visiting hairdresser was unable to visit our Holy Cross Nursing Home, Duty Manager, Sam helped to keep everyone looking tip top – and very stylish, too.

Who needs salons when you have our staff on hand to treat you to a relaxing facial at home. Kate, from our home in Alnwick, said she felt great after her home salon experience. She certainly looks quite relaxed here.

Bill found he really enjoyed some baking therapy when he turned his hand to helping make some sweet mince pies at Christmas time. His fellow residents found enjoying them with a nice cuppa quite relaxing, too.

We showcased our creative talents

Jackie, who is a member of our Alan Shearer Activity Centre, enjoyed the gorgeous grounds and gardens at our Centre whilst making a surprise for Fathers’ Day. Her creative talents obviously extend to her beautifully painted nails, too.

Our very own craft queen, Rachel, who lives in our Alan Shearer Specialist Residential Home, turned her hand to making some amazing creations, including this very cosy bug hotel. Wildlife at our Centre never had it so good.

Looked after young people living in our Auton Children’s Residential Home in Newcastle created this emotional artwork to mark Children in Care Day. The heart featured in the mural was made up from templates of their own hands.

For Sarah, who lives in our home for adults with learning disabilities in Alnwick, being able to concentrate long enough to complete this painting was a massive achievement. Our staff were so proud of her – and she looks pretty pleased with the result, too.

Creativity often comes in the shape of music, too, at our Holy Cross Nursing Home. Resident, Edna, had a great time trying out a few percussion instruments to celebrate World Music Day. And a little glass of fizz made the whole experience a real treat.

There was no stopping Selma, when our activities co-ordinator at St Catherine’s Nursing Home set out some Easter bunnies for our residents to make. The results of Selma’s crafting look almost as stylish as she does.

But most of all we kept smiling!

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