3 months ago
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com Thank you in advance.
4 months ago
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!
7 months ago
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!
7 months ago
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.
8 months ago
We promised that we would update you on the latest situation regarding the Omicron variant of Covid-19. As you know it is spreading widely throughout the population and it is affecting us at Springdene, too.
We have unfortunately had outbreaks among staff at all three homes, and although the infection affects only a few, it means that under Department of Health and Social Care rules we must change visiting arrangements. Thankfully, no residents have been infected so far, and we wish to keep it that way.
At Spring Lane and Springview visiting will only be available in the outside gazebos, which are heated and which we will make as comfortable as possible. At Spring Grove, sadly, this option will not be available because the architecture of the building does not allow access to the outside without passing through the building. We are sorry that visiting will not be possible here.
However, you will also be able to “visit” through the windows and to make a face-to-face call online through the tablet devices we have available.
We also know that many of you had planned to take your loved ones out over the Christmas period. Following the rules, we strongly advise you against this, so as to avoid spread to the community. We know that some of you were planning to take your relative out over Christmas, whether it was during the day, or overnight, but if they were to become symptomatic whilst in your care, they would then need to quarantine in your residence for the fourteen-day period, unless they are confirmed covid negative as we do not want the risk of knowingly bringing the virus into the home.
Please be assured that for residents staying within the homes, we promise a wonderful time. There will be fantastic activities, thanks to our devoted managers, Lori, Sony and Tamas. And a wonderful Christmas lunch with all the trimmings.
We are sorry to bring you this news over the festive period. It is as distressing for us as it is for you. We have worked very hard to keep infection out of the home and we know you will cooperate with us. If the situation changes, we promise to bring you the latest news as soon as possible.
8 months ago
Latest rules regarding the new Omicron variant
EVERY one of you be aware, after all the news in the media over the past few days, of the seriousness of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, which is spreading fast through the population.
Now ministers have brought in new rules to protect the residents of care homes. From this week, the Department of Health and Social Care have announced that care home residents will be allowed three visitors in all, who must be nominated in advance. An additional “essential care-giver” will also be permitted
In addition, there will be more precautions for residents visiting family and friends outside the home. Fully vaccinated residents will be asked to take a lateral flow test on alternate days for two weeks after each outing, while those not vaccinated will have to isolate in their rooms for 14 days after returning.
This will affect our Springdene homes in different ways. Because, unfortunately, a small number of staff at Springview have tested positive, there will be no indoor visiting at the home. Visits will have to take place in the outdoor gazebo, in which heating will be provided. Nor will families at Springview be permitted take their loved ones out – in order to avoid bringing infection back into the home. Visiting at Spring Grove and Spring Lane will be under the government’s new rules.
You can help us over this Christmas period in several ways. First, please make sure we know who your nominated visitors are. Second, if at Spring Grove or Spring Lane, please inform us well in advance if you are planning to take your loved ones out of the home for lunch or other reasons. It is sensible to make sure that family and other gatherings are restricted to a small size. You may wish to avoid taking them out at all.
You can assist us, too, by taking your lateral flow tests at home before you come to our homes. You can record them on the NHS app or bring in a photograph of the completed test with the date on.
With Omicron, we are in a fast-moving situation and if any of this changes, we’ll let you know straight away. In the meantime, from all of us at Springdene, we wish you the best possible Christmas!
9 months ago
We thought it would be helpful for you to know the latest on life in our care homes and how we are responding to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Springdene Group is continuing to take measures across all the homes to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, including enhanced cleaning regimes and use of specialist cleaning products.
All our staff are wearing Personal Protective Equipment, as recommended by Public Health England.
At this time, in order to keep residents in our homes safe, along with our staff, we continue to suspend visits to the homes. Exceptions to this are visiting medical professionals. We hope you understand this is in the best interests of everybody.
As you will know, some residents have been confined to their rooms for personal protection, but we are pleased to say that we are gradually allowing people into the common areas on a rotating basis. Social distancing rules will be observed, balancing physical safety with emotional well-being.
We are also pleased to announce that staff in our homes are now becoming eligible for the national Covid-19 testing programme in line with PHE’s guidelines. The first member of staff was tested this week and others will follow.
However, it with great sadness that we report the death of Vivien Frey, the activities coordinator at Spring Grove. Vivien had worked for the company for nearly 20 years and was greatly loved and respected by all who worked with her. In particular she was a prime mover in the running of the Spring Grove Music Festival for 15 years.
“She was a great personality, at the heart of all Spring Grove’s activities and a crucial part of our operation – loved by residents and their families alike,“ says Medical Director Robin Powell. “We will miss her hugely and send out sincerest condolences to those she has left behind.” On the issue of communication, we know that during the embargo on visits it is distressing for relatives and friends not to be able to see their loved ones physically. But we are doing everything we can to facilitate phone calls or Skype, or other forms of video conferencing. To this end we have acquired tablet devices for residents to use.
Happily, the homes continue to be in contact with the “outside world”. Last week Spring Lane featured on the BBC’s Six o’ Clock News, with the news team filming through the front windows, to be greeted with waves and smiles from staff and residents.
And in a lovely gesture, pupils from Hornsey School for Girls baked trays of cakes and pastries and presented them to Springview, Spring Grove and Spring Lane. They came complete with a painting of a rainbow (right). Everybody reported on how delicious they were.
Nor was the spirit of Easter neglected. On Good Friday residents at Springview were greatly amused by the arrival of the Easter Bunny (left).
Meanwhile Waitrose, the supermarket group, donated some beautiful daffodils and Easter eggs, which also cheered everybody up.
We hope to make this newsletter a regular event, so we’ll be back in touch before long. Meanwhile, thanks to all families and friends for their cooperation in these extraordinary and difficult times. And a specially big “thank you” to all our staff who are working so hard to keep everyone cared-for and safe.
Thank you for your continued co-operation.
9 months ago
IN THE PINK! As you can see from the picture, the residents of Spring Lane are all dressed up in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Day and having a tipple and a great time.
In fact, as somebody remarked: “It seems always to be party time at Spring Lane” –and manager Lori, with Magda and her team, have organised some fantastic celebrations over the past few weeks.
For animal lovers, there has been Pet Therapy Day and bakers have been engrossed in Fresh Herb-bread Baking Day. Not to mention fruit and vegetable printing, which was great fun for all, as well as indulging in a very popular pampering session.
Angela Peetamsingh, daughter of Vilma Ali, was moved to write: “Thank you, Lori. Mum was always very particular about her makeup, hair and nails. She was a personal secretary/shorthand typist in the city for most of her working life. I can see that she has enjoyed this session. Thank you so much for looking after her so well.”
Not just fun at Spring Lane, but the other homes as well. Music and art have been thriving at Spring Grove, thanks to Tegan and Odile, while Steve at Springview has been wowing everyone with his legendary singalongs. Everyone has had huge fun in the past week preparing for Halloween tomorrow. The decorated pumpkins look fantastic and we’re told the Halloween biscuits are especially delicious. A spooky time is sure to be had by all.
While our activities staff have worked so hard during the dark days of the pandemic to generate entertainment “in house”, we’re now looking at introducing more outside entertainment. Spring Grove and Spring Lane residents have been treated to the ever-popular musical talents of Roddy Skeaping, while a group of musicians from Live Music Now have been entertaining folk at Spring Grove. Other new outside entertainers will follow and we will keep you posted.
There’s lots of other good news to report. Springview has won a silver medal for its lovely gardens in the Enfield in Bloom competition. Congratulations to Stacey-Louise, whose green fingers helped make it all blossom. We’re happy to say, too, that the homes have remained Covid-free for many months now, thanks to all the precautions taken by our hard-working staff – and you, the visitors, who have patiently endured our testing regimes.
While the media have reported low rates of booster vaccinations in care homes around the country, we’re proud to say that almost every resident in our homes who is entitled to a booster has had one.
Also, as of November 11, all our staff will have been fully vaccinated and anyone who enters the homes – whether medical staff, tradespeople or entertainers – will have to show proof of their jabs. This will provide an additional layer of security.
However, a cautionary word. As you will have seen in the news, Covid infection rates are soaring again in the community. It is vital that the virus is not brought into the homes, and we would urge all folk to make sure they have had their vaccines. While this is not a legal requirement for visitors seeing their loved ones, we would urge you to make sure you have had all jabs available to you. It is a sensible precaution for all.
One of the nice things about our folk at Springdene is the fact that so many have a fascinating back story. Distinguished among these is Rachel Kidd at Spring Grove. Rachel, who is a wonderful painter in her own right, is the daughter of sculptor Barbara Hepworth and the artist Ben Nicholson.
Hepworth is regarded as Britain’s greatest-ever woman artist and Nicholson was one of the finest abstract painters of the 20th century. To add to this distinguished artistic heritage, Rachel’s grandfather was Sir William Nicholson, one of the most eminent painters and portraitists of the Edwardian era.
Chatting as the autumn sun beams through the windows of her fourth-floor room at Spring Grove, Rachel talks of the influence of her family and how it has moulded her life. At 87, still bearing her mothers’ striking features, she speaks of her upbringing in Hampstead and St Ives in Cornwall and how she didn’t start painting until she was in her early forties, after the death of her mother.
Barbara Hepworth died in 1975 as a result of smoking a cigarette in bed. “I have always tried to lead a healthy life,” says Rachel, “Never drinking or smoking.”
“I had no formal training and didn’t know I could paint till I tried,” she says. Yet her paintings, especially her quiet still lives and landscapes, are exquisite and have been exhibited widely in many galleries and collections. At her first London exhibition in 1980, her eminent father commented: “I never realised she could paint so well. I would have been happy to paint that one myself.”
“I was one of triplets,” she says, “and you can imagine what it was like for my parents with their artistic work and three brats on their hands. We must have been a pain in the neck!”
As a result, her mother was a somewhat remote figure. Rachel and her siblings were left with a cook and a nurse while her parents got on with their creative jobs at their studios, off Parkhill Road in Hampstead. Her father was a warmer character – she recalls him playing ball games with her on the sands at St Ives after they moved there from Hampstead at the beginning of the war. Rachel still loves ball games, she says, because of what Ben taught her.
Their Hampstead house was a veritable salon for the great artists of the day. Henry Moore dropped by, and Rachel remembers the great abstract artist Piet Mondrian coming for tea. As a young child she was appalled that he ate off his knife!
These days Rachel no longer paints – and devotes herself to her three adult children and their families. But she stays in touch with the artistic world by reading The Guardian every day, as well as indulging her passion for classical music. And she still has an eye for a landscape, savouring the view from her window with the leaves turning golden. “I saw a fox curled up on the lawn in the sunshine the other day. It was lovely.”
Meanwhile, we congratulate our residents of the week, whom we pamper with flowers and chocolates and try to meet their special wishes. Laura Davis at Spring Grove is one of our newest members. She was a journalist, and among other jobs, worked at Woman’s Own magazine in London for a while.
She loves Italian food and a glass of sauvignon blanc, so she’s being treated to some of those delights this week, too. She is a lover of music and sang in a choir for many years. Lots of singing and dancing, too, then for Laura!
At Spring Lane, Johanna Maund hails from the Cape Province of South Africa. she previously lived in Australia. Johanna was a teacher and thoroughly enjoyed her work educating young minds. She very much enjoys quizzes and documentaries, so we’ve been keeping her brain active with those this week. She isn’t a big eater, but adores fruit, so she’s been treated to a range of lovely different fruits throughout the week.
Joan Barnett at Springview loves keeping fit. We’ve made sure she attends all of the fun exercise sessions this week, as well as some walks, since the weather has been kind to us. She doesn’t drink alcohol, but is quite partial to the occasional fizzy drink such as Coca-Cola. She also really enjoys Chinese food, so we’ve ordered her an oriental treat for her special meal.
Finally, may we offer a very warm welcome back to Kathy, our Business Administrator at Springview, who has been away recovering from a long illness. As many of you will know, Kathy’s lovely smile and cheery manner always light up the reception desk. Good to see you home, Kathy!
11 months ago
EVEN WHEN there are grey skies (of which there have been many recently!) the mood is always sunny at Springdene. Lori, our enterprising manager at Spring Lane, hosted a wonderful barbecue the other day, where residents chomped on burgers and other delicious grilled food. Just how much folk enjoyed it can be seen from the picture above!
At all three homes, residents have been soaking up the last bit of sun among the late blooms in the gardens before autumn approaches. But with this in mind, folk have been busy knitting for the colder months. And they have been enjoying the Spotify playlist “Summer Hits of the Sixties” so as to make the season last that bit longer.
At Spring Grove we celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and made some lovely apple prints to denote the occasion. We also celebrated Linda Dean’s 82nd birthday and she asked if she could watch “Hamlet”, which, of course, we fixed for her. She very much enjoyed it. Lori, at Spring Lane, also organised a fantastic cheese and wine party.
We’ve also been celebrating our lovely residents of the week, for whom we grant special wishes, as well as giving chocolates and flowers.
Frances Wilson at Springview loves listening to music and, like her sister Joan (who also lives in the home), was a big fan of dancing in her youth. Frances enjoys participating in most activities and can always be heard singing along to entertaining musicians or joining in with quizzes and offering her answers.
She very much enjoys spending time with her sister Joan and loves to eat chocolate. She’ll no doubt get her fair share this week as well as her favourite tipple – a nice big glass of white wine!
At Spring Grove, Pat Tavignot is a quiet woman who likes to keep herself to herself. She does occasionally enjoy joining us for quizzes or interesting documentaries. She is an avid reader and spends a lot of her time reading in her room. In fact, her first job was at the Marylebone Road Library, the perfect spot for a bookworm!
Pat spent most of her life working in the information bureau which she very much enjoyed. And she spent many holidays in France, one of her favourite places. She hasn’t requested a lot this week, but she adores fruit, so she’ll be given lots of lovely fruity treats all week.
Mary Kelly at Spring Lane is a wonderfully bright and cheery lady. She hails from County Galway in Ireland and is a big lover of music and especially dancing. She jives like no other when a bit of rock ’n’ roll comes on, and can often be seen swinging a member of staff around the room as she leads them in all sorts of lively dance moves!
She is also a very keen cook and loves to help us with baking. She was a huge part of the Great Springdene Bake Off this spring and we look forward to tasting some more of her baked goods in next year’s competition.
Mary has always worked incredibly hard all her life, but her favourite job was working in a kitchen in Palmer’s Green, so it’s no wonder she’s a pro in the kitchen in our home! She has requested Irish stew for her dinner, so we’ll make sure we get her a lovely big portion!
There was another delightful moment when our thoughtful Spring Lane manager Lori organised a birthday celebration for carer Belinda Juco (below), whose husband Mario also worked for us but sadly died after contracting Covid-19. “What a lovely surprise!” said Belinda.
On the business front, our dynamic modernisation plans are starting to bear fruit. Our new website is close to completion. Staff and residents contributed to some wonderful video interviews, which we will share with you soon. Our social media accounts are thriving – try dipping into https://www.facebook.com/Springdene. And we’re thrilled that the pre-application about to be submitted for planning permission for our state-of the art development at Spring Lane.
Here, as well as a general refurbishment, we are increasing the number of rooms and creating a wellbeing centre, complete with hydrotherapy pool. When finished, it will be one of the finest in north London. We’re also pleased to note we are receiving more inquiries again from potential residents after the dip in occupancy due to Covid-19.
And some other good news. We’re pleased to say that all our care staff – and indeed anyone who works in or enters our homes – will have been fully vaccinated by November 11. This is another vital piece in our armoury in the battle against Covid-19.
Finally, this will be our last newsletter in a fortnightly format. The next issue will be published in a month’s time. When we first started these newsletters, back at the height of the pandemic, there was much information to convey to you, especially relating to the exigencies surrounding Covid-19 – infection control, new visiting rules and so on.
Now things have settled down and the homes are humming along nicely (they have been Covid-free for several months), we’re happy to serve you with all our news and views on a monthly basis, though we will, from time to time publish special one-off editions. Have a good weekend and we’ll see you in four weeks!
11 months ago
Do WE need to be vaccinated to visit our loved ones at Springdene? This is a question some of you have asked this week. To recap, the government has announced that all staff in our homes must be double vaccinated by November, otherwise they will not be permitted to work.
The new rule also applies to everyone who enters the premises, whether they are maintenance staff, hairdressers, beauticians or entertainers. However, there is one exception – visitors and friends who come to visit their loved ones in the homes. This is designed to protect the human rights of families.
Nevertheless, we appeal to you to ensure you are double vaccinated before coming to visit Springdene. Predictions are that the highly transmissible Delta variant will become even more rampant in the autumn, especially as schools and universities reopen. The hard work by our staff in testing and cleaning has made sure that our homes have been free from the virus for some months now. We are determined to keep it that way.
But there is a silver lining. The requirement for vaccination means that the door will be open in the not-too-distant future to bring in more outside entertainers to enhance our activities programmes. As you know, since the first lockdown, most of our enviable range of activities have been generated internally. But now we see an opportunity to open it out to more entertainers, lecturers and musicians, who we will be able to verify as safe. Watch this space!
While on the subject of activities, we are very sorry to announce we are saying goodbye to our much-loved group activities manager Eirlys Roff, who is moving on to a new position. Many of you will be familiar with Eirlys, with her huge energy, her lovely smile and always a cheerful word for every resident. She has been responsible for many innovations, including the activities planners, which are sent to you every week. And the entertaining Great Springdene Bake Off and the Springdene Olympics, which so many enjoyed, were developed by Eirlys, too.
Eirlys will remain on hand as a consultant for a short while, but we wish her all the best for the future as she leaves the homes. In the meantime, activities in the homes are in D Issue 45 the capable hands of the rest of the team – Tegan, Magda, Malwina, Steve and Odile while we interview for a new group activities manager.
While on the subject of activities, the best of them were shown off this week as we filmed and photographed for our exciting new website, which we hope to launch in the next few weeks. Tegan and Eirlys sang some of the old songs, Steve invited everybody to his Day at the Races, as well as his very popular Casino, and our very talented Spring Grove resident Marcelle Jay (above) played the piano. It was wonderful to hear her fingers on the ivories.
In her previous life, Marcelle was a distinguished ophthalmologist and is one of many folk at Springdene with a marvellous life story. She was so eminent that a room at University College London was named after her. Another is 99-year-old Lilli Segel, who has just joined us at Spring Lane. Lilli is one of the few people still alive in the UK with memories of pre-war Berlin in the Nazi era where she grew up as a young girl. She came to England as a refugee from Hitler in 1939.
“I call it my Fairy Story,” says Lilli, her bright eyes animated as she tells her tale. As a Jewish child, she had been forced out of her grammar school even though she was a star pupil. “I recall my teacher crying because I had to go. The atmosphere in the city was terrible. I remember all the broken glass from Kristallnacht – it was horrifying.” [In November 1938, in an incident known as “Kristallnacht”, the Nazis torched synagogues, vandalised Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews.]
But by chance, while in a cafe in the Tiergarten, Lilli had found a handbag belonging to an English girl, with whom she subsequently struck up a correspondence. The girl, Dodi, who lived in Liverpool, encouraged Lilli to escape from Germany and so she fled on a terrifying journey, leaving her parents behind. “Before I got to the border, I saw a Nazi take a child’s teddy bear and slash it open with a knife,” she says.
But Lilli (above) was well looked after and flourished in Britain, marrying and making up for her lost education by doing a degree with the Open University, eventually becoming an academic teaching drama at the University of London, where who worked up to her retirement aged 90. Lilli also occupied a distinguished position at the National Theatre
After retiring she returned to Berlin on a nostalgic visit to her old school and the headmaster was able to dig out her records. “It was amazing after all that time – ‘very good pupil’, it said.” Now, aged 99, with the help of her daughter, Lilli has written up her life story. “I thought that sometime in the future, the world should know about all these events,” she says.
It’s been birthday time for another distinguished resident – Ian Willison CBE, former head of rare books at the British Library. Ian, one of the authors of the “Cambridge History of the Book”, was so thrilled with his birthday celebration that he stood up and made a speech and wrote a card to all who attended, donating two of his books to the Spring Grove library. Thank you, Ian and many happy returns!
And, of course, we mustn’t forget our cherished residents of the week, who we pamper with flowers and chocolates and to whom we grant special wishes.
At Spring Grove our celebrity this week is Lady Elizabeth O’Brien. Elizabeth has lived in many areas of the UK. She was born in Halifax, and has also lived in Birmingham, Wakefield and London. She read medicine at university and is a big lover of the arts, particularly classical music, painting and singing. She was a consultant child psychiatrist and really loved her work. She mostly likes to spend her time relaxing in her room but does like to join in with parties and classical music events. She has requested a gin and tonic and a fish supper, so we will absolutely organise this for her.
Maureen Bennett at Spring Lane adores music and every time she hears it her face lights up. She regularly sings along to her favourites and beams when listening. She is also a huge fan of “Dad’s Army” and “Father Ted”, which she finds hilarious. She was born in Dublin and grew up there. Her favourite job was teaching. She enjoys a sherry, lager or a gin & tonic so we’ll get her at least one of those this week! She has requested scrambled eggs on toast as a treat for breakfast.
Joan Gallaway is one of the quiet people at Springview, but she loves music and used to go dancing all the time. She grew up in Wood Green and has a brother and a sister, who also lives at Springview and the two of them spend all their time together often holding hands.
Joan used to enjoy football and snooker and has very much relished watching the various sporting events in the Paralympics. She has requested a roast dinner and a glass of wine, which we will happily provide her with.
Lastly, we are delighted to receive the following warm tribute from Garry Davison, whose mother is in Springview: “The care and facilities provided at Springview are second to none. I live in South America, and due to Covid restrictions, have not been able to visit Springview to see my mother for over 18 months. I used to visit her every three months.
“It is so comforting for me to know that she is being so well looked after, and at least I get the chance to see her on the weekly Skype video calls that we have. She is doing very well and seems happy with life. The staff at Springview are all amazing, and I would like to send a big thank you to them all for looking after Mum so well.”
Thank you, Garry. It is very much appreciated.