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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