The Friends of Horse Fair support the work of the home situated within Rugeley, Staffordshire. Horse Fair is a purpose built care home offering Dementia, Nursing, Residential, Respite and End of Life care. Horse Fair 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 Horse Fair 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.
Richard Miller - Case Study
Richard leads the Rugeley Community Church based at the Rugeley community centre.
Richard’s involvement with Horse Fair Care Home began when Friends of Care Homes reached out to him and his team at the church to occasionally help out with the staff and spend some quality time with the residents. Richard accepted the offer with no hesitation as he loves to be a helpful member of his community, “we want to be a positive part in the community and it is important that we respect our commitments.”
Prior to his role at the church and the care home, Richard got involved in some college catering until he realised that it was not the right career route for him. He then decided to work at the Tate gallery while he was still living in London, for around eight years before moving to Rugeley with his wife and kids.
While Richard and his team are at Horse Fair around once a fortnight, they do some reading for the residents and sing hymns together every so often, “our time consists of a simple thought for the day, one or two hymns that are chosen by the residents, and the remainder of the time is spent talking with the residents.” Richard added, “our main objective is to spend time with the residents.” While Richard and his church group are at Horse Fair, they spend most of their time chatting with the residents about any stories or memories they want to share, “it is really good because there are so many life experiences and stories, they have some really deep lives they have lived in adventure.”
When starting out in his role at the care home, Richard adapted to the environment with ease. What helped him with this is the diverse age group he has at his church, “it was nothing new to me in that aspect, we exercise the same skills with the residents at Horse Fair as those used at church.” The different age groups have helped Richard and his team to become accustomed to socialising with all generations.
Another thing that helped with the adaptation to the care home environment for Richard was the training he had to partake in before officially starting his role at Horse Fair. “I fully understood and appreciated the training we needed to do because it puts the care home at ease knowing that we have done the training.”
Richard has formed friendships with everyone at the care home, “I do feel a connection with everyone there, we go there as friends not as workers.” The most important part of Richard’s role to him is, “building good friendships and relationships with staff and residents, the blessing we get from that is equally reciprocal.”
In order to be a good volunteer at a care home, Richard believes that it requires good listening skills, awareness and empathy, “respecting others and being interested in others is important.” “Some days the residents are not feeling as good as other times and being sensitive to how they are on that day is important. Sometimes they just want space and being aware of that is important,” he explained.
Richard’s advice to those who are considering volunteering at a care home is to, “go along and see what it is like. Some people think that volunteering is a huge commitment, but just to pop in and have a chat can make a huge difference.” Richard is extremely pleased with his experience at the care home and can definitely see how his teams’ role at Horse Fair benefits everyone, “I think all of us come away more encouraged and blessed, it really is a privilege to go in.”
Shelbie Haynes - Case Study
In a world where the young and the elderly do not interact very often, both parties miss out on the opportunity to build an intergenerational bridge bringing communities together. This is particularly noticed in care homes where the mingling of residents and volunteers is much needed. United communities benefit from each other’s contribution, whether it is by adding interaction to a resident’s life or blessing a younger volunteer with wisdom of an elderly.
To build stronger and happier communities in Rugeley, a group of volunteers formed Friends of Horse Fair Care Home where they can socialise with the residents and add a new aspect into their lives.
Shelbie Haynes was encouraged by her school friend Clotilda to become a volunteer of Friends of Horse Fair Care Home in the beginning of the year. Shelbie started her volunteering journey at Horse Fair whilst undertaking her A-level exams. Despite attending school 5 days a week, Shelbie had some time on her hands which she wanted to make the most of. Volunteering at a care home was an opportunity for her to gain first-hand experience for her Health & Social Care lessons, “you can only read so much in the books and I wanted to learn more than that”, she explained.
During her first days as a volunteer, Shelbie met the residents and particularly got along with the sweetheart of Horse Fair care home – Violet. The relationship they have developed over time is a perfect example of two generations completing and giving to each other. “We have quite a lot in common”, Shelbie explained. Both ladies have visual impairment which sparked conversations from the start and marked the beginning of strong, ongoing mutual support. “Sometimes we just go outside in the garden and listen to the birds”, she said. Shelbie and Violet have bonded over long hours of chatting about life, passions, school, family and friends. Violet enjoys telling Shelbie stories from her childhood about her very first love which has eventually turned into marriage. Violet also feels the responsibility to give Shelbie as much wisdom as she can since girls like her “are the future of this country”.
Shelbie’s experience with Friends of Horse Fair Care Home has given her a boost of confidence. Helping the residents gave her the opportunity to develop strong sense of empathy, especially toward Violet. “She lost her sight suddenly in her 60s because of Multiple Sclerosis”, Shelbie explained. “I wish I had known about Friends of Horse Fair sooner”, Shelbie has committed to volunteering at Horse Fair and cannot wait for the summer when she will be able to visit more often. She persevered for the cause and effectively, has become more patient and learned how to communicate with the residents to give both the best experience. Volunteering has inspired her future plans to work in a similar sector with children and young people.
To anyone considering volunteering, Shelbie would advise to “go for it”. “It gives you a one-of-a-kind experience that you won’t get elsewhere”, she explained. Shelbie will continue bringing generations together and giving to the community in a meaningful way.
Violet Robertson – Case Study of a resident
Her charm and vivacious personality make it hard for anyone not to adore Violet Robertson, the life and soul of Horse Fair Care Home.
Violet, 80, became a resident at Horse Fair in June 2015. She has always been an open and bubbly lady and became comfortable at the care home soon after was admitted and joined the Committee which she has been a member of since July 2016.
Aged only 7, Violet had to leave school and care for her ill father. Despite the hardship she had experienced, with hard work and determination she returned to school 5 years later to graduate with excellent grades. “I used to work as a chemist in Scotland. It is beautiful there, but coming down here meant I could be closer to my family”, she confessed. She has since moved to Rugeley where the care home is based.
In the same care home, a group of volunteers established Friends of Horsefair on 18th July 2016. Volunteers have been engaging with the care home’s residents with the purpose of adding value to their lives ever since.
Violet is always thrilled to welcome volunteers visiting Horsefair Care Home, “I love the volunteers. Every time they come down I never stop talking to them”, she explained. Violet tells volunteers stories from her life including her childhood sweetheart and husband who “was the only boyfriend she has ever had”.
At the home, Violet has become particularly close with one of the Friends, Shelbie. “We clicked the minute we met”, Violet explained. Shelbie and Violet’s bond grew strong since the moment they had learnt that both ladies had lost their vision. Because of this, they get to share special moments like listening to the birds in the garden. Together, they are planning on writing a book about their experiences and the bond that blossomed between the two.
Her relationship with Shelbie strengthens each time she comes to the care home and has become a bond of reciprocated care from both, “I look forward to when Shelbie comes down, she is such a lovely child. I love talking to the youngsters particularly, they are the future of this country”, Violet explained proudly. Just like the volunteers look after their elderly and make sure they put a smile on the residents face, Violet feels the responsibility to take care of the volunteers, “I talk to them about school and how things are. I have the right to teach them a bit about life too. It is so important that the volunteers come and visit us. I couldn’t do without the girls, they are my life”, Violet said.
Friends and staff of Horse Fair do their best to make the residents’ experience delightful. To achieve this, alongside Live Music Now, Friends organise music workshops which Violet gets involved in, “I am a very noisy person and I may not sing as well as I used to, but I love to sing whenever I can!” she explained. Violet also believes that the staff at Horse Fair deserve more credit for their hard work as they are “extremely helpful but don’t get applauded enough”. The Wellbeing Co-ordinators arrange festive events such as Christmas Pantomime, where last year Violet stole the show as the Wicked Witch and was the only resident to star. “We pre-recorded her parts so she could perform as her voice was projected. We pimped her wheelchair and all had a great fun!” Jess, a Wellbeing Co-ordinator, explained. Violet’s grandson, who is an actor himself, saw his grandmother’s performance leaving him in awe.
Thanks to the familial relationships between volunteers, staff and residents, Horse Fair care home truly feels like home, where residents like Violet make it a delight to live in.
Friends of Horse Fair Care Home – Multisensory Equipment Project
Friends of Horse Fair Care Home received a £1000 grant from Tesco’s Bags of Help 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.
Clotilda Rudo Samuriwo - Case Study
Clotilda is an 18-year-old A-level student currently studying for her exams. She found it fascinating how different and new things were in school when she arrived in the UK and started in year 10. She chose media, sociology, and health and social care as her subjects as she plans to pursue a future career in mental health.
As part of her studies she has been given a task to carry out a research on care homes in her local area. During her research she came across Friends of Horsefair Care Home where she immediately applied for a volunteering role.
Clotilda’s drive to volunteer with the elderly derived from her personal experience. When her grandmother had dementia, she looked after her daily by brushing her hair, cooking and being there for her as much as it was possible. Witnessing her grandmother’s life with dementia has prepared Clotilda for her future experience and has given her an insight on how the elderly want to and should be treated. ”They need to be respected, loved, cared for, and treated equally. You should want to make them feel special”, Clotilda explained.
Clotilda always looks forward to her volunteering day. She spends at least two hours in Horsefair Care Home every week. She has bonded with the residents through conversations at the care home. Amongst the activities organised for the residents are bowling and playing music. Clotilda comes from Zimbabwe, where music and dance play a vital role in the culture. When a traditional drum session was organised at Horsefair, Clotilda was thrilled for the opportunity to bond with the residents over the love for her roots, “when the residents played traditional drums, I played them too, it was just brilliant!” Residents have also shared their life stories with Clotilda which has helped her get to know and build relationships with them.
Clotilda’s volunteering experience reinforced her decision to work in mental health in the future. “I have gained so much from volunteering”, she explained, “I have become more confident and communication is a key skill I have learned here too”.
Clotilda believes being a caring and compassionate person is vital when volunteering in a care home. “They need someone to show them that they’re important”, she explained. Making a resident feel better about themselves is one of the most rewarding moments which make Clotilda look forward to coming in each week.
“I would recommend volunteering in a care home to anyone and everyone – for the lessons of patience on humbleness that you would not be taught elsewhere. For the gratifying feeling of accomplishment. You should do it, too!”
The Music Project – Friends of Horse Fair
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, and is associated with memories of places, people and specific events. Music can soothe souls, energise spirits and touch the most resistant hearts.
On 8th August 2017, thanks to a grant received from Awards for All, Friends of Horse Fair teamed up with Live Music Now and launched a music project for the residents of Horse Fair Care Home.
The team’s goal is to demonstrate the value of live music 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.
Spring Fayre for the Friends
On Saturday 6th May, Horse Fair held a spring Fayre in aid of the friends.
There were lots of old fashioned fairground games to play, as well as some lovely hampers being raffled. To win a bottle of champagne, there was a guess the weight of the dachshund which Milly volunteered to do (I thought you weren’t supposed to discuss a lady’s weight).
Lots of residents took an active part in the day, and Milly’s weight was successfully guessed by Joyce Robertson
It was a really great day. Thank you to everyone, Especially Jess for making it such a lovely day.
Horse Fair Christmas Fair
The Friends were delighted to join in the Christmas Fair. It was a real family event with lots of fun and laughter
We held a Christmas present sale, and were delighted to raise £44.50.
Violet, one of the residents on the friends committee made an appearance as Mrs Claus: She looked fantastic.
Friends of Horse Fair committee meeting
The Friends Committee met on Tuesday the 15th November 2016
The Friends Committee met on Tuesday the 15th November to discuss future projects and plan the Christmas table sale.
Friends of Horse Fair 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.
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.
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