Care for the elderly in Northumberland.
Our residents, volunteers and staff had a wonderful trip to Matfen Hall last week, where they enjoyed a sumptuous afternoon tea with cakes, scones and pastries in the Library.
This is one of our favourite outings and is always very popular, and we had some lovely feedback from our residents about the wonderful, historic surroundings of the hotel and the delicious food.
Thank you, as always, to the Matfen Hall staff for looking after us so well.
Our current Community Respite Care resident is Mr Arthur Burgess, who for 23 years ran the Post Office in Corbridge with his wife Mary. Mary sadly died three years ago and Arthur now lives in Crofts Avenue in Corbridge.
Arthur came to Charlotte Straker House for a short respite care break. He told us, “This week has been incredibly good, and everyone has been so helpful and kind. One of the nicest things is having nice meals, prepared and served to me. Now I live on my own, I cook for myself, so it’s a wonderful thing to have tasty meals each day.”
Arthur was born in Cheshire, but moved to Corbridge with his wife and children and was very involved in the village, having many friends in the community. It’s wonderful to see him at Charlotte Straker House especially as so many of the staff recognise and remember him very well.
The photograph shows Care Assistant Jacqui Chilton and Mr Burgess.
Did you know that our charity receives regular grants from the Community Foundation, made in the name of a philanthropist who lived locally? We are in recipient of regular generous grants from the Community Foundation’s Roland Cookson Fund, thanks to a unique, ongoing, arrangement between the Charlotte Straker Project, the Community Foundation, and Roland’s friends and relatives.
The Roland Cookson fund was established in 2004 upon the wind up of the RA Cookson Charitable Trust, which was itself established by Roland Cookson, a Tyneside industrialist who lived in Corbridge and died in 1991. The former trustees of the Trust continue to act as advisors to the Community Foundation on grant-making from the fund, and in 2016 they asked the Foundation to refocus this, and offer regular support to the Charlotte Straker Project. The Community Foundation agreed an approach whereby the fund makes quarterly grants to the Charlotte Straker Project. In theory, the relationship could exist in perpetuity thanks to the Foundation’s endowment model by which it is primarily investment income with which we make grants.
Since the arrangement was agreed, the fund has made more than £150,000 in grants to our charity, with the funding representing an average of around 6% of our annual income. The majority of funds are put towards direct care costs, and physical improvements to Charlotte Straker House and its surroundings.
Berenice Groves, our Chair of Trustees, welcomes the additional funding provided by the Roland Cookson Fund: “Given our ethos that care is given according to individual need and that lack of means should not be a barrier to receiving care, the gift contributes enormously ensuring no-one is denied access to care because of lack of means.” Bill Cunningham, the Trustee responsible for the relationship with the Roland Cookson Fund at the Community Foundation said: “Increasingly there is a financial gap between what it costs the charity to care for a resident and the money we receive. Regular, guaranteed, unrestricted funding like that we now receive in Roland’s name, is vitally important to us.”
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found the quality of care provided by the Charlotte Straker Project to be outstandingly well led, following a surprise inspection in December 2018.
The care home was rated “Good” for Safe, Effective, Caring and Responsive and “Outstanding” for Well-Led. Inspectors praised staff and management saying, “The board members and registered manager had a clear vision for the organisation and service which put people at the heart of it. Staff were very well-supported by the management team. Staff were highly skilled and knowledgeable about each person they cared for and they were extremely committed to making a positive difference to each person. They were enthusiastic and believed passionately in the ethos of the service.”
The Inspectors also commented on the “person-centred” vision and value of our service, commenting, “People were extremely well-cared for, relaxed and comfortable. Staff knew the people they were supporting very well and we observed that care was provided with great patience and kindness. The service went to great lengths to ensure people’s privacy and dignity were always respected. Everyone we spoke with complimented and praised the staff team and gave examples of the outstanding care that was delivered.”
Marilyn Hunter, Registered Manager of the home, said: “We strive to create a welcoming home from home feel at Charlotte Straker House and I’m so pleased our continued efforts have been recognised by the CQC’s inspectors. Everyone here works incredibly hard to provide residents with compassionate, person-centred care, and to be rated “good” and “outstanding” shows just how committed the team is to making a positive difference to resident’s lives each and every day.”
Deputy manager Iwona Proszowska added: “It’s first and foremost a huge thank-you to all our staff; these people are the team at the Charlotte Straker Project who come in everyday of the year to care for, and provide our residents with care, and an outstanding quality of life.”
Berenice Groves, Chair of the Trustees said: “The Charlotte Straker Project has a culture where the provision of consistent, high quality, compassionate care is at the heart of its operation. It’s clear that the staff and management are committed to providing individualised care and treating people with dignity and respect.”
There was fun on Valentine’s Day last week when we celebrated the most romantic day of the year with a special Valentine’s lunch.
Our Head Cook Debbie made a delicious lunch of roast minted lamb with all the trimmings, and Jayne, our Activities Coordinator, provided a chocolate fountain for pudding, with a table laden with treats to dip into the melted chocolate. Everyone enjoyed trying all the different treats and the most popular “dips” were definitely the marshmallows and home made choux eclairs. .
The tables were set up with red themed decorations, and balloons plus each resident was given a very cute heart box with chocolates inside.
Valentine’s Day evokes so many happy memories for our residents, so it the special lunch was a wonderful opportunity to bring our residents together for the occasion.