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!