Care for the elderly in Northumberland.

Summer 2019 newsletter is out!

By 29th August, 2019 Newsletter Comments Off
Our Summer Newsletter is out!
Packed with articles on our latest fundraising activities, events and news, plus an introduction from our Chair of Trustees Berenice Groves.
Do you know anyone who would like a paper or email copy? If so, please contact our marketing coordinator on

Charlotte Straker Newsletter – Summer 2019

The Charity Cricket Match and Fun Day raises over £3,000!

By 27th August, 2019 News Comments Off

Our Charity Cricket Match and Family Fun Day was a huge success and raised over £3000, which will be split between ourselves, the Corbridge Youth Initiative and the Corbridge Cricket Club.

The weather was superb, and plenty of local families and children came to enjoy the sunshine plus the variety of stalls, bouncy castle, games and tuckshop.

Our brilliant volunteers, plus ladies from the Corbridge Cricket Club and Corbridge Youth Initiative provided a wonderful spread for afternoon tea, and the celebrations continued into the evening with a BBQ and a full bar.

Music from John Logan, Callum Harbottle and Shaun Fenwick entertained the happy crowd on the cricket field until late in to the summer evening.

The Corbridge Cricket Club team beat the Corbridge Village team on the final ball to win the Corbridge Charity Shield. The Performance of the Day award went to the entire Charlotte Straker team for finishing 3rd rather than their habitual 4th (!) with last year’s winners Corbridge Youth Initiative finishing last this year.

THANK YOU to all those who came to the event, the cricket players and the group of dedicated volunteers who organised the day so well.

(Pictures taken by Ian Wylie of Visit Corbridge)

Our Chair of Trustees, Berenice Groves, getting ready to bat for our team!

Corbridge Family Fun Day – call for cakes and tombola items

By 13th August, 2019 Events, News Comments Off

Don’t forget that Sunday 25th August 2019 is our popular Corbridge Family Fun Day at the Corbridge Cricket Club.

We would be very grateful for any donations of cakes, bakes or savouries for our afternoon tea stall. These can be left on Sunday 25th August at the Cricket Clubhouse from 10.30 am.

We are also on the hunt for tombola prizes including unwanted gifts, ornaments, bottles, confectionery, toiletries, costume jewellery etc. We would be grateful if prizes can be delivered Richard Hart-Jackson at his house by Friday 23rd August. The address is Hudshaw, Appletree Lane, Corbridge.

Anyone who has difficulty getting there can call Richard on 01434 633033 and he will collect.

Thank you for your help!


Three teams will be battling it out in the Corbridge Charity Cricket Tournament from 12.30pm and there will also be a village quoits competition and a tug of war!

There’s plenty for children to do including:
– mini cricket,
– tug of war,
– children’s tombola,
– facepainting,
– bouncy castle,
– stalls and games,
– free children’s crafts,
– tuck shop,
– live music to dance along to,

Plus afternoon tea, a BBQ from 5pm, some excellent charity stalls including our own Crafty Women, a full bar, Gin & Tonia and live music from John Logan, Shaun Fenwick and Callum Harbottle til late.

It’s a FREE OF CHARGE event, and is held to raise funds for our charity, plus the Corbridge Youth Initiative and the Corbridge Cricket Club. (We have a wet weather plan, so it will go ahead regardless of the weather!)

Please come along and make this event a great success.

Singing along to hits from the past.

By 13th August, 2019 News Comments Off

Al Ritchie is a fabulous professional singer that specialises in visiting care homes and sheltered housing. He visited us last week and sang some wonderful hits from the 40s, 50s and 60s, and chatted to our residents about their memories around the music. Everyone was clapping and tapping their toes, and even the staff were singing along. Thank you to Al for a great interactive visit – everyone certainly enjoyed it.

Visiting the beach for fish and chips and icecream

By 13th August, 2019 News Comments Off

Last week we visited the beach and enjoyed fish and chips at Crusoe’s restauraunt on the Longsands in Tynemouth and a promenade along the seafront to watch the waves and eat an icecream. It was sunny for most of the day but eventually started to drizzle with rain. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and enjoyed the sea air, and we had fun chatting about our own past childhood visits to the beach.


Supporting our residents to follow their hobbies and interests.

By 8th August, 2019 News Comments Off

At Charlotte Straker House our staff support our residents to follow their hobbies and interests and will do everything they can to ensure they continue to enjoy their favourite activities.

Margaret has always loved sewing, embroidery and tapestry making and is keen to chat about her latest pieces of work. Like many of our residents, Margaret was taught sewing when she was very young and prides herself on the fact that the back of the canvas is just as neat as the front!

Meg is a talented gardener and before she came to live at Charlotte Straker House spent a lot of time tending her beautiful flower garden in Corbridge. At Charlotte Straker House we encourage her green fingers with planting of Spring and Summer flowers, and planting up containers for the Charlotte Straker garden and also the plant stall at our fete.

We are committed to ensuring our residents are supported in every way so that they can continue their personal hobbies and activities. It brings them (and us!) a lot of pleasure!

Our residents enjoy massage therapy from Naturel Therapies

By 1st August, 2019 News Comments Off

Simon from Naturel Therapies has been visiting Charlotte Straker since 2017 to offer neck, shoulder, foot and hand massages to all our residents.

Our Charity Golf Competition funded the cost of the therapies for the first two years, and this year it has been funded entirely through Gift Aid raised through generous donations from our supporters.

This means that the complementary therapies arecompletely free of charge to all our respite and residential clients, and are one of our most popular activities.

Simon is a fully qualified massage therapist and reflexologist and works with his wife Zena at their beauty salon in Warden, offering a full range of holistic treatments, using completely natural products.

Simon visits Charlotte Straker House each week and works closely with Jayne, our Activities Coordinator, to offer treatments to any resident who would like them. He offers a choice of massage oils and uses a black pepper and basil infused oil specifically for joint pain and stiffness. “Elderly residents often have neck and shoulder stiffness and pain in their hands and wrists, so a gentle massage will help loosen any painful muscles and ease any aches. It also calms the nervous system, making my clients feel much happier after a session. Sometimes they will fall asleep as they’re so relaxed.”

Simon has a lot of experience of working with older or disabled clients, as he regularly visits the Calvert Trust in Kielder where he offers sessions to people with a wide range of physical disabilities. “I have built up a rapport with my clients at Charlotte Straker House, and I’ve developed a real friendship with many of the residents. It’s wonderful to see how massage therapies help them to relax and cope with any aches or pains.

Staff in the Spotlight – Debbie Armstrong, Head Cook

By 1st August, 2019 News Comments Off

Debbie Armstrong, our Head Cook at Charlotte Straker House, has lived in Corbridge for 31 years, and has worked at the Charlotte Straker Project since 2003.

She originally worked for our organisation as a carer but in 2005, after an opportunity opened up in the kitchens, she decided to apply and her career took a definite turn!  “I’ve always loved cooking and baking, and I’d worked for a number of years in restaurants and pubs, so at that time, it seemed like the obvious move. A friend persuaded me to apply, and I got the job. After a year or so, I was asked to become Head Cook, so it was a steep learning curve, and I really learnt on the job.”

Debbie completed a NVQ3 in Hospitality and Management plus a Diploma in Nutrition (Distinction) and has completed other specialist courses on supporting elderly residents with different nutritional requirements. She now manages 5 permanent kitchen staff and 2 “bank” staff, and deals with the kitchen budget, supply ordering, creation of menus, holiday cover, staff management and appraisals.

“My favourite part of the job is seeing residents obviously enjoy their meals, and making food that everyone looks forward to. Each time a resident enters Charlotte Straker we have an Admissions form that they, or their families, fill in with their likes and dislikes and any nutritional requirements or allergies, which is posted up in the kitchen so that we can refer to it at any time. Some residents need a gluten free or diabetic menu, and some need a soft or liquid diet. I like to make sure that whatever the restrictions, each resident enjoys their food.”

Debbie is a wonderful baker, and makes a birthday cake for each resident, in whatever flavour they choose. Last year she won third prize in Corbridge’s Bake Off competition and is already planning her creation for this year’s event! Debbie orders locally sourced ingredients wherever possible, including meat from Halls of Corbridge and fruit and veg from Stobo’s of Corbridge. She likes to make a special effort on Christmas Day and works closely with Jayne, our Activities Coordinator, in creating dinners and buffets for other occasions such as Valentine’s, Halloween and New Year’s Day.

“Sometimes residents have a small appetite, so it’s important to make each meal look as appetizing as possible, so that they are keen to eat and enjoy the flavours.” She says. “Since I started, I’ve gradually improved the catering team, and I’m happy to say that we have had a 5 star rating from Northumberland County Council for a number of years.”

Debbie lives with her husband Ken, and has two grown up sons and 3 grandsons.  Her two sons have carried on the “foodie” family tradition, with son Gary Armstrong working as a renowned freelance chef in the North East, and son John qualifying as a Master Butcher. “I enjoy working at Charlotte Straker. I’ve got to know our residents very well, and we have a great atmosphere in the kitchen. There’s often a singsong going on, which everyone seems to enjoy!”