The Friends of Acorn Lodge Care Home support the work of the home situated within Nuneaton. Acorn Lodge is a purpose built care home offering Dementia, Nursing, Residential, Respite and End of Life care. Acorn Lodge Care Home also provides specialist care for young people with physical disabilities.
The Friends aim to improve the quality of life of the residents of the care home by working with staff, residents and relatives.
The Friends of Acorn Lodge Care Home are looking to looking to develop services on the site. We have found that this is particularly valued by some residents who through deteriorating health do not have the confidence to come out of their rooms. Alongside this we support the care homes’ activities’ coordinators by providing extra pairs of hands during organised activity sessions and outings.
Garden Project - Acorn Lodge
On 17th August 2017 Friends of Acorn Lodge received a grant of £9370 from Awards for All for a Garden Project.
Friends of Acorn Lodge are a group of enthusiastic volunteers who aim to improve the well-being of the residents of Acorn Lodge Care Home. Together with Garden Organic, Friends of Acorn Lodge have developed a project to support residents in gardening activities to help them stay healthy and socially engaged.
Garden Organic is the UK’s leading organic growing charity which develops programmes promoting organic methods amongst growers in the country and overseas. Not only does Garden Organic tackle socio-economic issues by promoting organic growth amongst families who are at risk of food poverty (Southwark), but also offer a range of horticultural activities for people with learning disabilities (Ryton) and prisoners (Rugby) in a supportive environment. The organisation’s projects help service users bolster their physical and mental health, reduce stress as well as build confidence and learn new skills. The liaison of Friends of Acorn Lodge and Garden Organic facilitates an opportunity for the residents to live life more joyously.
The benefits of gardening are endless but most importantly it is an excellent exercise. Moving around in the garden and looking after the plants means the residents will be able to increase physical strength, mobility and hand grip without putting excessive strain on their bodies.
Another aim of the Garden Project is to help the residents improve their mental well-being. The ability to harvest one’s own plants will also be a boost of confidence and a perfect topic to discuss with others over a cup of tea. Additionally, gardening outdoors means spending more time in the sun. Thanks to this residents will notice a positive change in their mood as well as find themselves more stress-relieved.
Gardening in a care home is a way for residents to get together. With this project, specially-trained volunteers will engage with the residents to cultivate and enjoy the gardening hobby together. A responsibility shared between the residents will give more opportunities to socialise, build new friendships, and eventually bond with other residents or volunteers.
This project will also be an exciting learning process. By tending to plants and occasionally being supported by a Garden Organic team member, residents will have the ability to gain new skills and spark an interest in something that they might not have had an interest in before. This means that regular garden-tending will keep the residents’ mind active which is a helpful technique in Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
With the combined efforts of Friends of Acorn Lodge, Garden Organic as well as the staff and volunteers at Acorn Lodge Care Home, the residents will be given a therapeutic chance to make the most out of their garden and health, and as a result, age gracefully.
Princes Trust Garden Project
A group of volunteers from the Prince’s Trust generously decided to volunteer at Acorn Lodge Care Home between Monday 12th June 2017 and Friday 23rd June 2017 and give the Home’s garden a makeover which would encourage more wildlife to visit garden.
They did this by planting new plants and flowers around the garden which added colour to the outside of the home and made the space more inviting to animals and residents alike. Additionally, the group of volunteers created a ‘Bug Hotel’ which would mean more little critter would be seen roaming the garden of the home, which was very much appreciated by the Home’s residents.
What this means is that the residents make greater use of the garden, as now when they go outside they are welcomed by beautiful flowers and can behold all the wildlife that now resides in the garden, amidst the plants and flowers.
Friends of Care Homes – Volunteer Interview Liz Reilly
Liz is a Sixth Form student currently studying History, Maths, English Literature and Philosophy. As a part of an Enrichment campaign at her Sixth Form, Liz had two periods per week available to do an extracurricular activity. Therefore, following a presentation by David Wood, the chairman of the Friends, regarding volunteering with The Friends of Acorn Lodge, she decided to volunteer with the elderly.
Liz is sporty and is planning to go to university to study History, so while volunteering isn’t directly related to her goals, she enjoys the sense of community that volunteering gives her. Acorn Lodge is a care home for the elderly and Liz has encountered people who just like a bit of company as well as those with dementia who need a bit more care. The volunteering role that Liz provides is to have a chat with people, and she and her friends run a ‘coffee shop’ within the home to encourage residents to enjoy some tea and cake and have some interaction with them. She sometimes checks that they have everything in their rooms stocked up such as shampoo and other supplies. It is important to the care home that the residents have independence and so Liz spends time with residents who have chosen to come and see the volunteers.
Liz has always liked the idea of volunteering, and when David gave his presentation at her sixth form she felt it was a great opportunity to give it a go. Liz feels that it’s important as if it were a member of her family in a care home, she would want someone to take the time to do even the little things to improve their day. When Liz first started volunteering, she found it a bit unnerving and wasn’t sure what to expect; however she has surprised herself with her adaptability and her efficacy in dealing with new situations. She said that she would recommend volunteering to others and advise them to stick with it. Liz described the first day as the “biggest hurdle” but afterwards said she was able to learn and develop her skills, and to learn that a person’s mental capacity may affect how they respond. She volunteers with some people with extreme memory loss and she has learned not to take it personally if they don’t want to chat.
Liz has found the experience to be “the most fulfilling thing” she’s ever done! She advises others that to volunteer you need to “expect the unexpected”, be confident and outgoing, and ensure that you are able to liaise with the care home if you have any issues or concerns. Liz explained that volunteering has given her a new perspective and increased her empathy, as she’s learned more about dementia and spent time with elderly people. She has developed a huge respect for care workers as she has seen the nice side of volunteering, and yet knows the hard work that care workers do on a daily basis. While she has a different career goal in mind, she said a friend of hers has been inspired to go into the medical field due to volunteering at Acorn Lodge. Liz’s Enrichment course has now finished but she has decided to continue volunteering at Acorn Lodge over the summer, as she found it “amazing!”
Guess the weight of the Dachshund
The Friends were delighted to join the Homes 1950's themed Day
As part of it the Chairman brought his two family pets Milly and Herbie along, so that residents, family, staff and visitors could have a cuddle, and guess the weight of the Dachhund.
We are delighted to announce:
Allison Wright as the winner of the Moet and Chandon, Magnum with the closet weight for Milly and Carl Fleetwood with the closest weight for Herbie. Won the large Jar of Easter Eggs.
A big thank you to the staff at Acorn for organising such a lovely Afternoon.
Friends of Acorn Lodge Committee meeting
The Friends group held their Committee meeting on Monday 23rd January 2017
The Friends are currently speaking to local churches and schools to see if there might be interest in becoming involved. They have also submitted bids to raise funds to improve the garden and to purchase mobile multi sensory equipment for residents with dementia
Visit of the Duke of York
On Tuesday 11th October 2016, the Duke of York visited Attends offices to be updated on our work.
As part of his role, he is patron of each of the friends groups in care homes.
Pictured here, he is talking to Nichole, project manager, and Kahlil who is newly appointed to the team. He was delighted to hear of the progress to date.
Friends of Acorn Lodge Committee meeting
The Friends held their Committee meeting on the 7th September 2016
The Friends are currently discussing a potential gardening project with a local organisation and hope to have this in place in the near future
Friends of Acorn Lodge inaugural meeting
On the 21st June 2016 The Friends group held their first meeting at the care home
On the 21st June 2016 The Friends group held their first meeting at the care home to formally appoint a Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Committee Members, to agree the constitution, adopt policies and procedure and discuss business related to formation of the group. We were joined by relatives, residents, staff and volunteers.
We know your time is valuable and any time you can spare for us will make a big difference. You could volunteer at a one off event or regularly, it is entirely up to you.
If you don’t see a volunteering opportunity to suit you then please get in touch because we could develop an opportunity just for you. If you would like to volunteer please download the application form and return by email to firstname.lastname@example.org