The Friends of Newcross support the work of the home situated within Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Newcross is a purpose built care home offering Dementia, Nursing, Residential, Respite and End of Life care.
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 Newcross 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
Sandra Ohenewaa Asamoah – Friends of Newcross
The beauty of a voluntary work lies in the time that people put aside from their already busy schedules to contribute to others’ well-being. Volunteers travel miles to be able to make a change in the lives of those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.
Sandra, 18, college student and part-time worker, travels every Thursday for an hour to spend time with the residents of Newcross Care Home in Wolverhampton. Sandra’s volunteering journey with Friends of Newcross is an opportunity to give back to the community as well as gain experience relevant to her interests. Her ultimate goal is to become a midwife – she is doing her best to start a midwifery course at university in the following year. “It can be really hard”, Sandra said, “I wake up 4:30 in the morning to go to work as a part-time cleaner and then I start college at 9am. But it’s just something I love doing.”
Sandra learned about Friends of Newcross from a college friend. “The staff at Newcross were really helpful and the well-being coordinator made me feel welcome and comfortable”, she explained. Sandra also got along with the residents right-away, “they were extremely friendly from the very start, you could tell they were happy to have someone there to hang out with”. Sandra spends time with the residents engaging in activities such as arts and crafts and tai chi exercises. She also takes part in the music project run alongside LiveMusicNow, in which the residents have an opportunity to sing, learn how to play instruments and perform with the staff members and volunteers, “I’m a member of a church where we always sing and dance so during these sessions I can be in my element!”, Sandra explained.
“Having a bit of an artist in you really comes in handy when looking after residents; you can be creative about how you spend time with them as well”, Sandra believes that being creative, energetic and friendly are some of the most important characteristics of a volunteer. “You need to be active, together with other volunteers we keep the residents moving to give them a little boost of energy too”, she advised. “Communication skills are vital too, you want to understand and be understood”, Sandra continued, “good communication builds trust between residents and volunteers”.
Sandra’s experience with Friends of Newcross has only ensured her that a midwife’s career is one that she wants to pursue. “It is a wonderful experience and I would encourage anyone to do it, too. Newcross is a wonderful care home but there are some that lack volunteers and these are key for residents’ well-being.”
Multisensory Equipment project - Newcross
Friends of Newcross Care Home received a £895 grant from Co-Op Community Fund to run a Multisensory Equipment project.
With this project, we will purchase a specialist sensory case for the elderly as a tool to exercise sensory perception. The case will include a variety of equipment for residents with dementia and those who might need some sensory stimulation.
The sensory case contains tools which will give the residents the opportunity to exercise visual, olfactory and auditory perception. Musical gloves will give the residents the opportunity to play music with ease and the fruits card game will allow them to recognise and match fragrances with fruits.
Additionally, cushions and armchair covers of various textures will constitute a tool to explore tactile perception.
The kit will be a chance to build a bridge between trained volunteers and the residents, form new meaningful relationships developed through leisure whilst simultaneously improving their physical health. Our volunteers will contribute to improving the lives of residents by exercising day-to-day tasks which involve sensory stimulation. Thanks to this project, residents will gain confidence in recognising textures, sounds and scents and, consequently, improve their concentration and memory.
The Multisensory Equipment project is one more step forward in making residents’ lives more enjoyable and meaningful.
Aliyah Malik - Case Study
Taking a gap year can do wonders to one’s personal development. Whether it be finding an exciting job, learning a new language or travelling, the opportunities are limitless. During her gap year between sixth form and university, Aliyah chose to volunteer with Friends of Newcross Care Home. “This experience is a way for me to get an insight on work in geriatrics and is relevant to my future career”, Aliyah, a prospective medicine student, explained.
Aliyah’s journey began by researching volunteering opportunities that supplemented her studies best. She came across Friends of Newcross Care Home and got in touch immediately. “I contacted the Newcross Care Home and applied for a volunteering position. The staff were very friendly and helped in ensuring that the process was as smooth as possible”, Aliyah explained.
Aliyah enjoys spending time actively and engages in improving existing activities at Newcross Care Home such as listening to podcasts on how to improve tai chi classes carried out for the residents. Apart from tai chi classes, the staff and volunteers lead morning pampering sessions where residents get their nails painted and make up done. Additionally, Aliyah has got involved in Easter egg and bonnet decorating. Friends of Newcross have also introduced guinea pigs in the life of the residents as a tactic to challenge social isolation, “these activities stimulate conversations and allow them to be more natural and not forced”, Aliyah explained. Aliyah makes sure everything is prepared for the sessions in advance and helps organising them.
Aliyah’s enthusiasm and openness are skills of essence in interactions with residents. “You need to make the first move, start a conversation”, she advised. “Sometimes you will have the same conversation over and over because the residents might not remember what you or they said before”, Aliyah explained. She also emphasised the importance of a proactive approach over waiting to be instructed.
“Volunteering is important because it gives you the chance to give back to the community”, Aliyah said. Aliyah had never thought she would have engaged in a volunteering role with the elderly. The experience has reinforced her growing interest in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease “I was sure I wanted to study medicine but hadn’t chosen what I would specialise in. Working with Friends of Newcross sparked my curiosity in geriatrics”, she explained.
Aliyah found her experience a great opportunity to learn new skills and form beautiful relationships with the residents. “Ideally you would commit long term – the best feeling comes from giving back to residents over a longer period of time”, she advised. “It is an extremely rewarding experience that can prepare you for the future if you seek a career in healthcare and does make the lives of residents more meaningful”.
The Music Project – Friends of Newcross
Music has the power to transcend words and is a substantial tool for people with speech difficulties. Music is a part of our everyday lives. It is associated with memories of places, people and specific events. Music can soothe souls, energise spirits and touch the most resistant hearts.
On 17th August 2017, thanks to a grant received from Awards for All, Friends of Newcross teamed up with Live Music Now and launched a music project for the residents of Newcross Care Home.
The team’s goal is to demonstrate the value of live music in care homes as a tool to improve the quality of life in care homes. With this project, residents can now develop musical skills and bolster their mood. Thanks to music we can tackle the unsweet isolation, uniting all together through the power of rhythm, notes and lyrics.
The local community has worked together to bring this opportunity to the residents. It is a chance for local volunteers to engage with and learn from the elderly. For the residents, it is a chance to see new faces, discover different interests and stories and, as a result, make each day different. Fostering social interaction and commitment to looking after each other is a vital step in growing healthy and strong communities. The music project means that the residents and volunteers will have something to look forward to and a chance to feel the joy that has once been forgotten.
Live Music Now is a UK-wide initiative, created by Yehudi Menuhin and Ian Stoutzker in 1977. Every year, musicians deliver thousands of interactive music programmes in care homes and hospitals, and a range of community and healthcare settings. Find out more at www.livemusicnow.org.uk.
Friends of Newcross Committee meeting
The Friends of Newcross held their committee meeting on the 1st November 2016
The Friends of Newcross currently have 8 volunteers attending regularly. They have bible readings which are being well received by the residents. There are plans to recruit volunteers to help with the chit chat cafe and candy cart. The Friends will also be looking at a potential bid to purchase a reminiscence pod for the residents.
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 above, 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 Newcross inaugural meeting
On the 18th July 2016 The Friends group held their first meeting at the care home
On the 18th July 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