Springdene Newsletter 4th January 2024

3 months ago ·

Springdene Newsletter 4th January 2024

HAPPY New Year to all, wherever you may be, and we hope you are looking forward to 2024, following a fantastic festive season at Springdene.  By general agreement, our celebrations in the homes were among the best for many years.

Our party season kicked off at the end of November with the official switch-on of the Christmas lights at Springview by Councillor Suna Hurman, Mayor of Enfield.  Councillor Hurman chatted to the residents and congratulated Springdene on more than 50 years of service to the community.

The local paper, the Enfield Independent, ran a full-page feature about the occasion, featuring pictures of our residents enjoying mince pies and roasted marshmallows, including our snow machine in action!

The decorations across all the homes looked fantastic.  And there were splendid repasts every day, prepared by our new catering manager Mark Gates and his team

High point was Christmas Day lunch in the homes with all the trimmings.  Afterwards the directors served a roast turkey and Christmas pudding lunch to the hard-working staff, a ritual which is very popular every year.

“It was a pleasure to give our folk a chance to put their feet up for a short time,“ said CEO Michael Williams.  “They are lovely people who work so hard for us.  Wonderful for them to have a bit of relaxation and enjoyment for themselves on Christmas Day.

After a hearty New Year celebration, the festive season was still going strong this week with a coach visit by the residents of Spring Grove to the Wallace Collection art gallery near Oxford Street, where everyone marvelled at the lights and were treated to a special show-round by the curators.

One resident went on the record to say, “I believe I speak for everybody in saying we’ve all had a lovely time.  If I’d been at home on my own, Christmas would have been nothing like this.  I’m so grateful to be looked after at Springdene.”

Hard on the heels of the Festive Season came the Annual Employee Appreciation Awards – the “Oscars” of the Springdene year – in which staff nominated their colleagues for 10 special prizes in various categories.

The first of three ceremonies took place at Spring Lane on Wednesday, where care assistant Monika Sas-Jaworska won Carer of the Year.  She was praised for being “polite, kind and caring about everyone – residents and staff alike, – and going the extra mile on every shift”.  Well done, Monika!

Afterwards there was a wonderful singer, great food and dancing into the late afternoon, while winners lined up for the cameras to display their awards (see picture above).  It brought a tear to the eye to observe residents waltzing with carers!

Quite separately our talented artist in residence, Odile Kidd and her team of residents, won a “highly-commended” honour in the North Central London Care System art awards.  Her paper wreaths, everyone agreed, were quite delightful!

On another note, 2024 will bring some important management changes.  Michael Williams, the present CEO is stepping down from his post in March.  He took the helm three years ago after the indisposition of the previous incumbent Jeremy Balcombe, and is returning to his previous occupation as best-selling author and senior journalist in the national media.

However, Michael will not be severing his connection with Springdene entirely – he will continue as Chairman of the Board as well as authoring this acclaimed newsletter and will welcome staying in touch with residents and their families.

The new CEO will be Theodore Powell, currently facilities director with responsibility for project management.  A graduate of Nottingham University, Theodore is a grandson of Dr Arnold and Mrs June Powell, founders of the company – cementing the Springdene tradition as a family business.  He takes up his new job on March 14.

One thing he will be supervising is our new process of charging residents according to their care needs, which began this week.  To explain: each resident will have a six-monthly assessment of their care needs according to a set scale, with their fees adjusted appropriately.  Fees may rise or fall, depending on circumstances but it will be a much more equitable means of charging.

However, don’t worry, there is a built-in safeguard against excessive jumps in fees.  If you are concerned, don’t hesitate to contact our CEO, Michael Williams on mwilliams@springdene.co.uk

Meanwhile we continue the process of modernising the homes.  The programme of upgrading the rooms on the fourth floor of Spring Lane is more than halfway through and we are getting on with transforming the reception area.  Apologies and thanks for forbearance in putting up with the noise and dust.

Next, we’re turning our attention to Spring Grove, where new wetrooms will be created and the lounge areas will get a makeover, establishing a new cinema room in the process.

We are delighted to report that we continue to receive a stream of praise from our residents and their families.  Gill, the cousin of one of our Spring Lane residents, recently wrote:

“As a trained carer myself, I can honestly say that I have never seen a better care home than Spring Lane.  The rooms and common areas are spotlessly clean, well-appointed, and extremely comfortable.  Ongoing activities and entertainment are plentiful.  Residents are encouraged, but not forced, to participate.  Visiting is unrestricted.

“Each and every member of staff seems totally engaged in ensuring that each individual resident is clean, safe, happy, and living life to their utmost potential.  The ratio of carers to residents seems higher than most and there’s a happy atmosphere – lots of smiles!”

Do you have a similar message of praise for us? We’re about to submit our excellent record of care to the judges of the annual National Care Awards and you could help us win a prize.  It’s simple. Just go to www.carehome.co.uk or fill in a simple form in one of our homes’ reception areas.  But don’t delay – nominations close on January 11.  We’ll be grateful for your support!

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Springdene Newsletter November 3rd 2023

5 months ago ·

Springdene Newsletter November 3rd 2023

THE LEAVES are turning golden and, as we write this, there’s the rich fragrance of autumn in the air.  And what a lovely Indian summer we have had, where our residents have delighted in getting outside to savour the late sunshine and the sensuousness of the season.

And it’s been especially memorable since Springview’s gardens, nurtured by green-fingered director, Stacey-Louise Balcombe, have triumphed in the annual Enfield in Bloom competition, winning both a gold and silver award.  In the view of the judges, the floral displays have brought great pleasure to our little corner of Enfield.  Stacey-Louise is (left) in the picture with Kathy Dunn, home administrator.

Now the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in, our activities are centred in the cosy interiors of our homes.  Spring Grove had a delightful day of poetry, shared with the primary age pupils of Devonshire House School in Hampstead, in which young and old read and wrote poetry together.  “It was such a touching occasion,” observed their teacher.

Halloween was a highlight, with some highly decorative and spooky pumpkins carved across the homes.  Folk are looking forward to Guy Fawkes Day at the weekend.  Soon it will be Christmas, which is always magical in our homes, and the activities teams can’t wait to get folk involved in putting up the decorations.

A veritable repast of Christmas fayre will be prepared under the supervision of Mark Gates, our new group catering manager.  We are delighted to welcome Mark , who will be overseeing the catering services across our three homes henceforth.

Mark will be collaborating closely with catering director Stacey-Louise Balcombe, as he assumes full responsibility for our kitchens.  Mark made the move from Sunderland to London a decade ago and, along with his impressive culinary skills, he brings with him a charming cava-poo named Bubbles, who enjoys a life of luxury.

Mark’s career has primarily been dedicated to the care home industry.  In addition to his extensive background in care homes, Mark has also contributed his culinary expertise to various other settings, including restaurants, sports venues, and hospitals.

Mark’s dedication to serving high-quality food in the care home sector is truly commendable.  With his vast experience and knowledge, he is eager to share best practices he has gathered throughout the years to help improve the dining experience for our residents.

A big welcome to Mark, but sadly we have experienced a great loss from our Springdene family in the demise, aged 93, of Pat Arrowsmith.  One of our “celebrity” residents, Pat was a giant of the peace movement, having been a joint founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.  This what the Guardian said in her obituary:

 “Best known for her role in organising the first Aldermaston march against nuclear weapons, at Easter 1958, she put her life and liberty on the line many times.  She was imprisoned a dozen times and twice named a prisoner of conscience of the year by Amnesty International.” 

RIP, Pat – glad you found tranquillity in your final years at Spring Lane

Pat was not the only one of our eminent residents.  Alive and well are Robin Young, the distinguished Times, and Spectator journalist, who resides at Spring Grove.  Jean Soames, also at Spring Grove, was the first woman picture editor of the Sun.  Frank Herrmann, one of the most outstanding photojournalists of the 20th century is ensconced at Spring Lane.

Professor Patricia Jacobs, the world-famous geneticist thrives at Spring Grove, as does Rachel Kidd the distinguished artist and daughter of eminent artists Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson.

You don’t have to be famous to be celebrated at Springdene.  Dorothy Quill at Spring Lane had a lovely 103rd birthday the other day, while her namesake Dorothy Adams was 100.  Happy Birthday, both Dorothies: you are our stars!

One further change, we are delighted to announce that Lori Vela, our hard-working Spring Lane manager is having a baby and will shortly be off for maternity leave.  We know that all our residents will be wishing Lori every joy and we look forward to seeing her back with her new charge!

In the meantime, we continue to receive praise and accolades from those who use our services.  We’d like to share this recent example with you from a daughter about her mother:

“The environment at Spring Grove is gentle and soothing but with a range of activities that all residents can join in with.  Recent renovation works earlier this spring (2023) have meant the addition of a lovely terrace overlooked by trees and plants where residents can relax outside, with friends or family.  Staff have been particularly helpful in facilitating phone calls, and keeping us well-informed about any health updates or concerns.  Thank you.”

Finally, with Christmas approaching, we know our families and residents are usually very generous about offering a gift to the staff.  Just to remind you about our policy; Any gifts must be offered to the home manager on behalf of the staff.  Individuals or teams cannot accept gifts, but we place all gifts into a raffle for the benefit of all the staff.

Compliments (in advance) of the season!

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Springdene Newsletter May 9th 2023

11 months ago ·

Springdene Newsletter May 9th 2023

“IT WAS absolutely magical!”  This was the verdict of our venerable residents at Springdene after all our homes enjoyed three days of celebration for the Coronation of their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla at the weekend.

The homes were splendidly decorated with bunting, union jacks and posters, as residents gathered round the screens to watch events as they unfolded, many with flags in hand.  Menus were royally themed, including such favourites as Coronation Chicken.  Cakes were decorated colourfully, and the food was delicious.

On Bank Holiday Monday there were street-party-style high teas in each home, with folk gathered around long tables to partake of a veritable feast (see above the jolly scene at Springview).  There was music and singing (with some wonderful renderings by Steve at Springview.)  The high point was a toast to the new King and Queen.  From all of us at Springdene, a hearty: “God bless their Majesties!”

Another high point of recent weeks has been a visit and a talk from the local constituency MPs for each home.  At Spring Grove we enjoyed greeting Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn.  Tulip, who is shadow secretary to the Treasury, is a rising star in the Labour Party and gave a fascinating account of her parliamentary work, as well as letting us into the secrets of how she thrives as an MP and a mother of two young children.

Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, paid a fascinating visit to Spring Lane.  Catherine is also a shadow minister, and answered questions on many local issues, from availability of dentistry to the problems for wheelchairs on pavements.

At Springview, we were joined by Feryal Clark, MP for Enfield North and shadow minister for primary care.  Among other subjects, she gave us an insight into her area of special responsibility, the NHS.  If the current polls are correct, all these three bright women will soon have positions in a new government.  It will be very good for Springdene to have friends in high places!

Now that Covid has receded, we are delighted to have been able to organise many more visits from outside entertainers.  These have included professional singers, musicians specialising in dementia and children from local schools.

But the biggest hit of all has been the introduction of young animals into the homes for the residents to pet and handle.  This has been hugely popular, with Samantha and Emily from our activities staff bringing in their cat and guinea pig respectively.

But there was a marvellous moment when two young goats were brought in by an organisation called Performing Pets.  One of our residents, who suffers from dementia and hasn’t been known to talk for years, suddenly started speaking to these sweet animals.  If you don’t believe in miracles, then you may have to now!

Meanwhile we have some new, exciting events on offer to renew our connection to the local communities around the homes.  We are beginning by organising Springdene open days at each home for the very first time, starting this Thursday at Springview.  This will be followed by summer fetes, quiz suppers, cocktail evenings, wine tastings and so on

The open days will be held at each home between 11am and 7pm as follows:

Springview    –  Thursday     11th May

Spring Grove  –  Tuesday      16th May

Spring Lane   –  Wednesday 24th May

All the departments will be coming together on these days to show off the best of the homes.  This will include an activities programme, entertainment, hairdressing, chef demonstrations and more.

We urge you to come along with your friends and neighbours and have a great time with us.  Hopefully this will finally allow us to put Covid behind us and renew our great local reputation.

On a positive financial note, you may recall the government introduced the Energy Bills Support Scheme last year which saw every household receive £400 towards their electricity bill.  Households did not need to do anything to receive this £400 with the discount applied automatically by their energy supplier.

However, not everyone received this automatic discount, including those people who live in a care home.  For this reason, in February this year, the government announced an expanded scheme (“Energy Bills Support Scheme – Alternative Funding”) especially for those people who did not receive the discount automatically.

To be eligible, the person in care needs to pay some or part of their fees privately. (If all fees are paid by the local council or NHS then you are unable to apply).

In short, we encourage you to explore whether you are able to apply for this discount for your loved one.  The scheme closes on 31 May 2023. Please go to the following link: https://www.gov.uk/apply-energy-bill-support-if-not-automatic .  Hurry – don’t miss out on free money!

At the same time, if you are not already aware of it, we also encourage you to explore whether you or your loved ones are able to apply for an Attendance Allowance.  This is a benefit that you might be able to claim if you are over State Pension age and if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you.

Care home residents who pay for all their care home costs on their own are eligible to apply.  There are two different rates of Attendance Allowance.  For 2023/24, the Higher rate is £101.75 per week and the Lower rate is £68.10 per week. For further information and to apply please visit: https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance .

Meanwhile, we’d like to thank you for all the notes of praise you send in appreciation of the quality of our care.  Here is an endorsement for Spring Grove, which is typical of many we receive.  Clare, the daughter of one of our residents, writes:

“In early 2021, my siblings and I were nervous about placing my 94-year-old mother in a care home.  Spring Grove was recommended.  She has been fortunate to receive two years of the highest level of care and attention.

“The staff are outstanding – they are interested, thoughtful and extremely competent.  Their dedication and commitment are very impressive.  If my mother had arrived earlier and been able to engage in the many lively and varied activities that are offered, I know she would have enjoyed them, especially the classical music and film screenings in the comfortable communal lounges.

“The well-kept gardens are lovely and the home is in a good state.  There are many personal touches from birthday cards and cakes to holding laptops for Zoom calls, to local schools visiting and creating special cards.

“We are very glad we chose Spring Grove for my mother’s last home.  I can only say ‘Thank you!’”

If you, too, would like to say “Thank You”, then please leave a post on the website carehome.co.uk which gives us nationwide visibility and helps promote our homes to the broadest audience.  And please put the word out about us in your local communities.

We’ll be very grateful if you can support us in these ways!  Finally, our Chairman and CEO Michael Williams is always available for your thoughts and comments.  You can contact him at mwilliams@springdene.co.uk .  He’ll be delighted to hear from you.

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Springdene Newsletter February 25 2023

1 year ago ·

Springdene Newsletter February 25 2023

FOR ALL of us at Springdene – as you can imagine – springtime is our favourite season of the year.  Even though it’s only February, the first shoots are pushing though the ground in the gardens of our homes.  The snowdrops are already up and soon we will be surrounded by hosts of daffodils, our signature bloom.

But amid this riot of joy, we have some sad news to bring you.  Our oldest resident, Gladys Gathergood (pictured above), has passed away at the heroic age of 109.  She died peacefully at Springview just a few weeks short of her 110th birthday which she shared with the late Queen Elizabeth.  She was one of the 50 oldest people in Britain.

We all loved Gladys, who was the life and soul of Springview.  Even though in later years she was nearly blind, she made up for it with her indomitable life force – never short of a smile and an opinion, and an inspiration to her fellow residents.

Born in 1913, in Stratford, she was a true east-Londoner.  Her father worked for the old Great Eastern Railway in Stratford works as did many of her family.  As was the case with many of her generation, Gladys left school at 14.  But that didn’t hold her back – she went to night school to learn to become a secretary, a career she pursued for the rest of her working life.

Gladys was proud of her family and, although her husband has passed on, one of her daughters is now in her eighties.  Gladys was at Springview for eight years, and her longevity may fairly be attributed to the excellent care she received and her own indomitable life force.

Over the years, many asked what it was that sustained Gladys in her long life.  One thing that certainly kept her going was her faith. She was a life-long follower of the Baptist church and a member of the Salvation Army.  When folk interviewed her, she said that it was important to lead a good life – which she had tried to do for all her days, and certainly succeeded.

The members of the local Salvation Army in Enfield rewarded her with regular visits, and there was a wonderful moment at our Christmas party two years ago when she played the trumpet with the Sally Army brass band.  We don’t have a date for her funeral yet.  But from all of us at Springview in the meantime, we sincerely hope, Gladys, that you will rest in peace.

One project that Gladys would have enjoyed is currently exciting folk at Springview in the form of a Hollywood film company that is coming to make a movie in our home.  Titled “Queen at Sea”, it stars the Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche and is directed by the former Batman director Lance Hammer.

The filming takes place in April and your loved ones may be invited to perform as extras.  Although there may be some inconvenience it will all be very stimulating for everyone, but don’t worry, permissions will be sought from the residents and royalties will go to our sponsored charity Medical Detection Dogs.

We are also being honoured with visits from our local MPs.  On Friday, Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, came to Spring Lane, where she was welcomed by manager Lori Vela.  Next week Bambos Charalambous, MP for Enfield Southgate, is coming to Springview. Shortly after Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, will be visiting Spring Grove.

Meanwhile, there has been a cornucopia of activities in the homes, led by our wellbeing and engagement teams.  There were special celebrations for New Year, Burns Night (including tartan weaving), St Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year and Pancake Day in which residents had a hearty good time.  Already preparations are being made for Easter entertainments.

If you are enjoying the sound of all this, then maybe you would like to recommend a fantastic free offer we are running for new applicants to the homes.  If folk sign up for long-term care, then they get one week of care and accommodation entirely free.  Details are on our website at springdene.co.uk as well as in advertisements in the local press – the Camden New Journal, the Ham and High, the Barnet Times and Enfield Independent.

Have a good run-up to Easter and Pesach. And please put the word around about us.

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Springdene Newsletter January 3 2023

1 year ago ·

Springdene Newsletter January 3 2023

HAPPY New Year and welcome to our first newsletter of 2023!

We’ve had a great Christmas season – probably the best for years – now the shadow of Covid has been largely lifted.  Folk had a fantastic time with parties, carols, singalongs and even a staff festive jumper competition at Spring Lane (above).  One of the high points was a delicious Christmas Day lunch, served by our directors so that staff could have a well-earned rest.

The success of the season was enhanced by the fact that we now have a full house of well-being coordinators.  Thanks so much to Christina, Anoohya, Odile, Magda, Malwina, Emily, Steve and Pamela.  Our activities programme is the envy of many other homes.

The team is led by a great new appointment in the form of Samantha Horsburgh who is our new group engagement and wellbeing manager.  Samantha is busy devising a brilliant new activities programme, which will bring in a host of outside entertainers and coordinate activities between the homes.  There will be more outings, too.  (In the autumn Steve organised a brilliant trip of Springview folk to Westcliff-on-Sea for some fish ’n’ chips and lungfuls of sea air.)

There are other welcomes, too.  Iva Petrova has joined us as manager at Springview, replacing Tamas Fazekas.  Iva is also a qualified nurse, which adds to the range of skills in the home.  Also joining us is Andrew Page, who takes on the new role of group catering manager.

As many of you know, in the summer we dispensed with the outside contract catering company and brought services in house.  This led to a great improvement, overseen by director Stacey-Louise Balcombe.  Now Andrew is taking forward the good work.  Expect an even greater enhancement of our excellent dining services!

We have been making other improvements, also.  After remedying a leak in the roof, the lounge at Spring Grove has been undergoing major renovation – structural and aesthetic – including redecoration, new fittings, and furniture.

Over at Springview there has been a total renovation of the third-floor bedrooms, bringing them up to a luxury standard, complete with showers.  The lift refurbishment has been completed to a high standard.

Now the lift engineers are turning their attention to the lifts at Spring Lane, where other further improvements are under way.  There is a complete refurbishment of the fourth-floor bedrooms and reworking of the lounge, while the entrance is to be enhanced and modernised.

Meanwhile, we’ve been checking in on the progress of Spring, your sponsored puppy who is being trained by the Medical Detection Dogs charity to sniff out illnesses, such as Covid and diabetes.

Spring has progressed very well over the past six months and is a very affectionate boy who just needs a little extra work on his recall.  The trainers ask a lot of these dogs to remain undistracted in every possible circumstance, but with some further training we’re confident he’ll do well.

Spring has been increasing his public access experience, including travelling on buses and trains. It’s important for Spring and his fellow dogs to to be confident in differing surroundings, as once they are partnered with a client, they will accompany them everywhere.


We know how much you rate the quality of the care in our luxury homes – your testimonials demonstrate it.  We hope you will continue to support us in upholding the highest standards.

He has been working very hard to perfect all the skills he has learnt so far in preparation for his final assessment. This requires the dogs to showcase their ability to perform a wide range of tasks, such as a 90-second “wait” in an exciting environment, walking to heel at varying speeds and regular direction changes.

Spring has also been tested to review how comfortable he is in different areas of public-access training, including visiting a shopping centre and using amenities such as lifts and stairs and demonstrating that he can settle comfortably and confidently in a busy environment.

The good news is that Spring passed with flying colours and will now go on to undertake more specific training before the matching process begins.  Well done, Spring!  If you would like to support him further, you may make a donation via Kathy Dunn, our business administrator at Springview (svadmin@springdene.co.uk).

One of the things we emphasise in our marketing is that Springdene represents the best of family values.  The company is still run by the descendants of the family that founded it more than half a century ago.  Indeed, Theodore Powell, grandson of founders Arnold and June Powell, has just been appointed a director, bringing a third generation into the Springdene management.

In this family environment we offer a warm and intimate approach to care of your loved ones.  This is in frequent contrast to the large anonymous homes that have been springing up in London and elsewhere in recent years.  Often funded by overseas corporations, they cannot compete with the personalised care that is the hallmark of Springdene.

And to confirm we are doing the right thing, we have had some marvellous recent endorsements.  Helen Kogan, daughter of Philip Kogan who was resident at Spring Lane, says: “I am writing to thank you on behalf of my mother, brother and sister for the wonderful care you gave Philip during his time with you.  Your staff are exceptionally caring and compassionate, and we all felt he was treated with the utmost care and kindness.”

Also on the subject of Spring Lane, Mrs Anna Markou writes: “It has been a wonderful place for my father to have his rehab.  All the staff are wonderful – from the welcome at reception – from Alex to management, Zoey and Lori.  He has been well cared for and has enjoyed joining in with exercises.  I can highly recommend Spring Lane for your loved one to come to, for either a short or long stay.  Exceptional care!”

You can rest assured we’ll be keeping up the good work in 2023.  One thing we are doing is to enter for the national care home awards, whose judges will rate us, based on your comments. So, if you have positive thoughts, please share them with us by writing to our chairman Michael Williams at mwilliams@springdene.co.uk. All communications will be acknowledged.

In the meantime, may we wish you a wonderful New Year!

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Springdene Newsletter August 13 2022

2 years ago ·

Springdene Newsletter August 13 2022

HOW have you been enjoying this lovely weather?  Although it’s not to everyone’s taste, there’s no doubt that a sunny day lifts the spirits, helping erase to memories of the dark days of the Covid pandemic.  And what of our residents – how are they coping in what has been quite astonishing heat?

We were asked this question by a TV station this week, and we we’re happy to report that everyone is content and well-supported.  As you know, all our public areas benefit from air-conditioning.  Walks in the gardens – which are in beautiful bloom at the moment – take place at the beginning and end of the day so no-one gets too hot.

During the heat of the day, staff take care to draw the blinds. And there are plenty of cold drinks and delicious ice-cream and lollies.  We have a happy group of residents who are enjoying their summer!

However, there is a cloud on the horizon.  You cannot fail to be aware of the dire state of the economy, with interest rates rising, inflation at more than 9 per cent and predicted by the Bank of England to rise to 13 per cent next year.  According to the Bank, a recession may be imminent.

Here at Springdene we are by no means immune.  Our costs are rising exponentially, and our bills are soaring.  Here are a few examples of how our bills have risen over the past few months:

  • Our insurance premiums have risen by 70 per cent, reflecting the risks identified by Covid.
  • Our food costs have doubled.  Producing three meals a day from fine-quality ingredients is not cheap.  We cannot economise on this, believing well-prepared, nutritious menus are a cornerstone of care home life.
  • Our labour costs have risen by 15 per cent, reflecting our payment of the London Living Wage in order to attract the best people.  But still recruitment remains difficult in a capital city where living costs are very high.
  • Our heating and lighting costs are set to become astronomical.  We have been fortunate up till now to be on a fixed-term power contract for heating and lighting, but when it comes to an end, our costs are due to rise by 600 per cent. (Yes, that is correct!).  As our CEO Michael Williams observed in a newspaper interview this week, unlike ordinary households, you cannot turn down the thermostat in a care home.

We have tried to mitigate our costs in all sorts of ways, including our directors taking a 25 per cent cut in their salaries.  However, we have come to the conclusion that further action needs to be taken.

The consequence is that we are increasing our rates by 10 per cent forthwith and you will receive a letter to this effect next week.  While this will not be welcome for many of you, this is only half the average rate of increase imposed by care homes across the country, according to a survey by a major national newspaper this week. See here:


We know how much you rate the quality of the care in our luxury homes – your testimonials demonstrate it.  We hope you will continue to support us in upholding the highest standards.

On a happier note, we have a lovely story from Springview this week.  The husband of one of our residents popped in brandishing a card from The Queen.  Eric Arnold had come in to share the news with his wife Mildred that Her Majesty had congratulated them on their 70th wedding anniversary.

Eric, who visits his wife almost every day, shared the story of their life together – which is a period vignette of traditional working-class life in north-east London, now almost vanished.

Mildred and Eric met when they worked together after the war. Mildred was a sample machinist, aged just 17.  They married in 1952 when she was 19 at All Hallows Church, Tottenham.

They lived locally with her mother until they saved enough money to buy their first house, in Waltham Abbey.  They built up £250 as a deposit and paid £2,225 for the house.  They moved several times, ending up in Enfield.  Eric worked for 17 years  as a skilled craftsman in the local shoe industry, eventually being made redundant because of the rise in cheap Chinese imports.  Eric and Mildred had no children.

Eric, who now lives on his own, said he and his wife have been very happily married for 70 years and don’t normally celebrate anniversaries as they both had everything they needed.  “But now, thanks to the Queen, we have a cause to celebrate!”

Very happy anniversary, Eric and Mildred!

Just to let you know, by the way, that from now on this newsletter will appear quarterly, but we’re still keen to hear all your news and views:  Get in touch at m.williams@springdene.co.uk.  Look forward to hearing from you!

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Springdene Newsletter May 21 2022

2 years ago ·

Springdene Newsletter May 21 2022

WELCOME to our Springtime newsletter. We thought we’d cheer you up with this wonderful picture of our oldest resident on her 109th  birthday.

Gladys Gathergood was born in 1913, sharing a birthday with the Queen, and the staff at Springview put on a wonderful party to celebrate a long life, well lived.  She is distinguished as one of the 25 oldest people in Britain.  It is amazing to think that Gladys was a 13-year-old girl when our 96-year-old Queen was born.

There was an abundance of cards, a delicious cake and, naturally, a message from Her Majesty herself.  Gladys, who was made queen for the day, wore a tiara and looked very glamorous.  “Thank you so much for all the brilliant care everyone has given me,” she said.  Gladys also starred in a story about her in the local newspaper, the Enfield Independent.  You can read it here https://tinyurl.com/y7jucvc2.  Many Happy Returns, Gladys!

Life has been busy in the homes.  Last week our CEO Michael Williams joined more than 100 people who turned out at the Camden Art Centre in Finchley Road to celebrate an art project created by our Spring Grove residents.  Curated by the prestigious Royal College of Art, it was the fruit of a collaboration between artists, students and our very talented residents.

“It was a wonderful and touching occasion,” Michael said.  Titled “It Matters What Happens Next”, artists Youngsook Choi and Eva Freeman helped create a dialogue about care, exploring themes such as vulnerability, strength and resilience.  The residents reflected and shared stories whilst engaging in various forms of artistic practice such as sculpting and watercolour painting.

Pierce Eldridge, curator for the Royal College of Art, said it was “really brilliant working with your residents.  Everyone was truly impressed.  And our team loved coming into your home.  It was so clean!” And Matt Williams, curator at the Camden Art Centre, observed: “It was great seeing young and old work so well together.  It was a truly inter-generational venture.”

We’d especially like to thank our very own Odile Kidd at Spring Grove for helping make it all happen and all the residents who joined in the workshops so enthusiastically.  The RCA and Camden Arts Centre teams will be back soon to share stories with all the residents about this very remarkable project.

Meanwhile, we are introducing more outside entertainment now we have thrown off the restrictions of Covid.  The venerable Roddy Skeaping keeps folk entertained with his ever-versatile musical repertoire.  We have booked a live music season at Spring Grove over the summer with musicians arranged by the brilliant charity Live Music Now.  They have also announced they are coming to Spring Lane, too.

There have been some other fantastic activities, the highlight of which was a cocktail afternoon at Spring Lane, at which some tasty mocktails were mixed and served from a proper bar.  Cheers, everybody, and thanks to Emily who was our mixologist par excellence!

With the early summer sunshine so brilliant, it has been a lovely time to walk in the gardens, too, and we are hoping for some glorious weather so folk can get outside more.  Everyone agrees that the clematis and jasmine at the front of Springview are quite sensational.

But the highlight of our forthcoming calendar will be the celebrations for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in early June.  We are veterans at royal celebrations, and we are certain this one will be better than ever, with “street parties” in every home and much joy to be had by all.  There will be union jacks all round and a glass of Pimm’s for a royal toast.  Neighbours and families will be invited.  And, for Her Majesty, there will be cheers to the rafters from all at Springdene!

Meanwhile we have had some good news from our sponsored Medical Detection Dogs puppy Spring who recently celebrated his first birthday – and what a busy year he’s had.  Over the last six months Spring as been out and about as much as possible as he continues his assistance dog apprenticeship.

While most puppies are just learning to catch balls in the garden and bring toys back to their owners, Spring is learning to save lives.  He has been doing well with his public access training and has mastered good behaviour during his sessions in a variety of scenarios – including supermarkets and high streets: exactly the kind of environments he might go to with whomever he is eventually partnered.

with.  Of course, he is still very much a cheeky and inquisitive puppy when he isn’t working and loves nothing more than chasing a ball or playing with his handlers when off duty.

Spring has all the basic behaviours well-rehearsed and is now moving on to some of the more advanced training such as retrieving to hand, off-lead control and recall.  His handlers are focussing on Spring’s use of nose by introducing regular search games with his socialisers and will continue to introduce exciting and fun scent games to continue his development of these vital skills.

He can look forward to trying to find hidden tennis balls in odd places as well as on people and finding the ball is reward itself, as he gets to play fetch.  In time, we hope this will later be changed to finding the odour of a particular illness or disease such as Covid or type 1 Diabetes.

You’ll know from his previous update that Spring was rather distracted by other dogs, and we are pleased to say that this area of his behaviour is much improved.  He still loves a good walk and free runs and is very happy character.

We are really proud of Spring and all he has achieved so far. He still has a long way to go, so we would like to thank you once again for supporting his training.  If you would like to donate and help medical science, please contact Kathy Dunn at svadmin@springdene.co.uk

Lastly, you should by now have received a satisfaction survey from us in your inbox.  We know you probably feel somewhat bombarded by such things, but this one is very important as it helps our regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to rate us.  Please fill it in and return to us. It will only take a few minutes If you haven’t got one, please contact Zoey Baik at zbaik@springdene.co.uk Thank you in advance.

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Springdene Newsletter April 12 2022

2 years ago ·

Springdene Newsletter April 12 2022

THE  GARDENS are looking radiant with spring blossom, and the sun has been warming our bones to dispel the winter chill. Now we have some Easter good news for our families – that all visiting restrictions for your loved ones are to be lifted immediately.

It has been a bleak two years, but from tomorrow (Wednesday April 13) visiting will revert to pre-Covid arrangements. In other words, families will be able to come into the homes as they wish, without testing. Visiting is not restricted by numbers.

However, we will ask two important things of you – that you should sign in on arrival to declare that you have no infection and that you must wear a mask at all times while in the homes.

The welcome opening up of the homes, in line with new government regulations, heralds many improvements, notably access for more live entertainers and volunteers to come in to cheer our residents. Already, folk are loving the music of Roddy Skeaping, whose versatile repertoire is immensely popular. “He is a genius,” declared Spring Lane resident Lilli Segal.

We have just signed a contract with Live Music Now, a national charity which brings in top musicians to perform live in care homes. They will start a residency in June for 12 weeks at Spring Grove. It will be interactive so residents can get involved in many exciting ways.

Also at Spring Grove, we have been collaborating with a fabulous art project, run by Camden Art Centre and the Royal College of Art in which residents have been focusing on simple everyday objects and creating art works around them. The Royal College tell us they are very happy about the outcome and there will be an exhibition at the Camden Art Centre in Finchley Road, Hampstead, in May. We’re looking forward to it and will bring you more news as we have it.

Now that there are no restrictions in the homes, we are looking at the resumption of the renowned Spring Grove music festival from the beginning of next year. This much-praised event brings young people together to perform at the highest level, with prizes for the best performances. We’ll keep you posted as to how this develops.

We’re also happy to announce that we are embarking on a programme of refurbishments and renewals. We have engaged an architect to produce a programme of enhancements and an extension at Spring Lane, and we are renewing the roof at Spring Grove. You will see that the area is now surrounded by scaffolding, and we apologise for any inconvenience.

Importantly, we are embarking on a comprehensive programme of renewals for the lifts at Springview. This will take some weeks, but we will always maintain access for all residents. Once again, we apologise for any inconvenience while these important works are under way.

Our delightful gardens are also undergoing some tidying up under the supervision of out green-fingered director, Stacey-Louise. By the summer they should be blooming marvellous!

Naturally, we are celebrating with our residents, as we always do. Our wonderful activities staff have been busy with the residents making decorations and eggs for the forthcoming Easter holiday. Not only are we celebrating Easter, but we are marking the Jewish Seder (Passover), which occurs this Friday.

We’re also planning some lavish celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which takes place at the beginning of June. There will be “street parties” at the homes and lots of reminiscence of the 70 years of Her Majesty’s reign.

But before that we are marking great stages in the lives of our oldest residents. Mrs Constance Stannard at Springview chalked up her centenary on April 6. Also at Springview, Mrs Gladys Gathergood, achieves the great age of 109 on April 21, the Queen’s birthday. Gladys’s life, like that of Her Majesty, will be celebrated on that date and we will be crowning her Springview Queen for the day.

It is amazing to think that Glady’s was a young girl when the Queen, soon to be 96, was born and has witnessed all the amazing events that have occurred in the life of our nation since then.

Gladys, who was born in Stratford, is a great East Ender and is officially in the list of the top 25 oldest people in Britain. Ever razor sharp, Gladys has all her faculties, although her eyesight is not as good as it was. This surely puts her somewhere near the top of the league, since others in the table will not be as comprehensively on the ball as our Gladys!

Sit down with Gladys (pictured below) and she will tell you many a tale about life in the old days. It is humbling to listen to her reminiscences. What keeps her going? “I’ve had a good life,” says Gladys. But at the heart of things has been her lifelong association with the Salvation Army. It was wonderful to see her “blowing the trumpet” with them at our Christmas party.

Lastly, we’d like to say “thank you” to family member David Cooke for his kind comments about Lori, our manager at Spring Lane: “My mother moved into Spring Lane in February 2022. She found the transition difficult but has settled more quickly than we expected. The staff have been brilliant in helping her settle in. They are all so caring and kind in the way they treat her as they look after her.

“It is clear that they know her as an individual and what she likes and needs. The management has been very supportive and communicates whenever there is an issue. They have dealt with medical issues and the anxieties of settling in. I am so glad that we chose to look at Spring Lane, as it has surpassed expectations. It is a wonderful home.”

Thank you, David. A happy Easter to you and to all our families!

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Springdene Newsletter January 8 2022

2 years ago ·

Springdene Newsletter January 8 2022

A HAPPY New Year to all of you. It was a wonderful moment on Christmas Day when Steve, our activities coordinator at Springview arrived in the guise of Santa.  The smile on people’s faces was a pleasure to behold.  It was one of the highlights of the recent festivities, which were many and joyous, crowned with delicious Christmas lunch with all the trimmings.

Manager Lori organised a splendid party at Spring Lane, and we reported in our last newsletter on the grand celebration at Springview, with the Salvation Army’s carols around the fire-pit.  You can see some of the pictures of folk having fun on our social media feeds, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – which you can access through our new website  www.springdene.co.uk.

New Year was a delight, with parties in the homes and Buck’s Fizz all round, followed by one of Steve’s wonderful horse-racing sessions on New Year’s Day.  The winner was the delightful Doreen, who reported that she was chuffed with her victory

Unfortunately, the shadow of Omicron has hung over us, as it has for everyone else throughout the UK.  At each of our homes a small number of staff have contracted the illness and have had to be off work isolating.  There has been an outbreak among the residents at Spring Lane, which luckily is mild and mostly limited to a few sniffles so far.

Inevitably, there are knock-on effects.  In Spring Lane, residents have had to stay in their rooms to comply with official guidelines.  Visiting has had to stop, too.  It has been possible to continue it at Springview, using the outside gazebo, but it has had to be halted at Spring Grove, since the layout of the building means the gazebo cannot be accessed without passing through the interior of the home.

At all three homes it is possible to make face-to-face calls with loved ones, using the digital tablets that are provided.  We know is not much compensation, but the facility is there.  Rest assured that meanwhile every effort is being made with infection control.  All our staff are vaccinated and have to take a daily test before entering the home.  The same applies to essential contractors, who must also show their vaccination status and take a test before entering.

Like all of you, we hate having to close the homes to visitors.  However, the good news is that we are studying a new plan, which would allow each resident to have a designated “essential care giver”.  This would allow the possibility for one nominated member of the family (or friend) to have much wider access to their loved ones, including visiting in their rooms for much of the day.  Tests would have to be taken and full PPE would have to be worn.  We can’t promise at the moment that this will happen, but our Group Operations Manager is carrying out a risk assessment and we will let you know the outcome as soon as possible.

Meanwhile we are celebrating our lovely residents of the week who are presented with flowers and chocolates and the chance to make their wishes come true.  At Springview, our chosen resident is the fantastic Mrs Gladys Gathergood – 108 years old and still going strong.  With a fantastic smile and a lovely laugh, Gladys is one of the oldest people in the country.  Born in Stratford, east London, Gladys is the heart and soul of Springview.  She loves the Salvation Army, with which she was brought up and tells us that her favourite food is steak and kidney pudding.  We’ll try and oblige you, Gladys.

Over at Spring Lane is another national treasure, the veteran peace campaigner Pat Arrowsmith.  Pat is famously the co-founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.  She is a writer and a poet and a legendary campaigner for women’s rights.  As those who know her observe, there’s plenty of fight in Pat yet!  A slightly ascetic lady, Pat has no particular wishes for celebrating being resident of the week, but we’ll make sure she is thoroughly pampered.

Eve Upton at Spring Grove is a very private lady who likes peace and quiet and enjoys studying nature.  She describes herself as an observer rather than a participator.  A former secretary before she got married, she takes pleasure in her three children and three grandchildren.  Eve is especially fond of her daughter’s dog Hermes and is partial to cottage pie, spinach and carrots.

We’re also celebrating our “Three Musketeers” – three wonderful ladies (above) at Springview, who are marking their centenaries and more in 2022. Glady Gathergood (centre), who has been with us since 2015 is 109 on April 21, while Violet Stone (right), who joined us in 2018, will be 101 in June. Kathleen Taylor, with us since 2019, will also be 101.  Her birthday is September 30.  Congratulations, ladies, and long may you thrive!

The excellence of care at Springdene is a major factor in longevity and we’ve just received some lovely testimonials to the quality of what we do.  Felicity Moir writes of her sister’s life at Spring Grove: “The home provides excellent care with a friendly and homely environment.  Some of the care team have been there for a long time and have gotten to know the residents well.  They provide lots of activities that keep the residents stimulated – something so necessary as visiting has been restricted and visits away curtailed with Covid.  I am very happy with the care my sister receives. In the same home,” Ola U. writes: My father was at Spring Grove for some months of rehabilitation, and I was very happy with the care he received.  The staff are so friendly and caring.  They ensured he was comfortable, and it was so nice to see him laughing and joking with the carers whenever I came to visit him.  They knew members of the family by name and always had time for a chat.

“It was such a pleasant atmosphere, and I could see that my father was well taken care of.  The receptionist was amazing and would always do his best to ensure that he could work out a convenient visiting time slot, taking into account the Government Covid visiting guidelines.  The activities timetable has a variety of things to suit a wide range of hobbies and interests.  I was happy that the staff encouraged my father to join in, and he loved going for activities.  Having the activity schedule sent to relatives was helpful, as I could let the staff know the sort of things my father would like.  A brilliant home-away-from-home care home!”

Thank you to everybody who has endorsed us.  If you feel you could do the same, we’d be delighted to hear from you.  On a final note, we know how many of you are interested in the progress of our sponsored Medical Detection Dog puppy, Spring.  Well, there’s a lot of tail wagging going on and we’re happy to report that Spring’s sniffing skills for illnesses such as Covid are getting better by the day.

We’re very touched by the generosity of the family of Springview resident Harriet Cullen who were so impressed by the work of the Medical Detection Dogs that they nominated the charity for donations, instead of flowers at Mum’s funeral.  The charity was Harriet’s favourite.  As a result a cheque for £620 has been sent off today and Spring will be the beneficiary.  Thank you one and all!

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Springdene newsletter update January 13 2022

2 years ago ·

Springdene newsletter update January 13 2022

We know how important visiting is for the social and mental wellbeing of our residents, so we are delighted to announce a resumption of indoor visiting at two of our homes next week.

From Monday January 17, family and friends will be able to book indoor visits at Spring Grove and Springview. At the latter, it will also be possible to visit in the outdoor gazebo if people so wish.

At Spring Lane, from Monday January 17, family and friends will be able to book outdoor gazebo visits. The resumption of indoor visiting will take a little longer as there are still a small number of positive cases remaining in the home, but we hope these will be resolved soon. As always there is access to a digital tablet device to allow face-to-face chats. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you would like to use this.

Meanwhile, as announced in the last newsletter, we are working on a plan to allow each resident in every home an “essential care giver”, which would open up visiting still further. We’ll let you know as soon as we can implement this.

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