Care for the elderly in Northumberland.

“Charlotte Straker is absolutely wonderful”…a post from our recent respite care resident.

By 14th August, 2018 News No Comments

Joan Barnes is our most recent respite care resident and is staying at Charlotte Straker House for two weeks.

She admits that she wasn’t keen to come to Charlotte Straker, and worried that “the staff might not like me, and I might not like them”, but since staying with us for a couple of days, she told us that she has definitely changed her mind. “The staff are absolutely wonderful: kind; welcoming; and always smiling”, she says, “they are always ready to help you, and I don’t feel guilty if I need to ask for anything. It ticks all the boxes.”

Joan has joined in all the many activities, including making felt poppies for the World War One Centenary, had her hair done in our salon and also had a complimentary massage with Naturel Therapies. She told us that she loved having a “proper, glorious bath. I hate showers, and don’t have a bath at home, so it was wonderful to have a long, luxurious deep bath.” She has really appreciated the home made meals, “the food is glorious and so tasty. I think I might have put on some weight since staying here” she laughs.

She told us that she was very worried about staying with us, but all her fears were unfounded, “I’ve had my eyes opened. I wasn’t keen on entering a care home as I’ve heard such stories, but Charlotte Straker House is absolutely wonderful.”

Our Community Respite Care Bed is now taking bookings for 2019 – for more information on our short stay free of charge respite care please ring our Deputy Manager on 01434 633999.

The picture below shows Joan with our Housekeeper Nicola Pick and our Senior Carer Karen Dover.

Supporting the Charlotte Straker runners at the 2018 Great North Run.

By 1st August, 2018 News No Comments

We have five intrepid volunteers who are running the 2018 Great North Run (on 9th September) to raise money for the Charlotte Straker Project.

We are incredibly grateful when individuals raise money on our behalf, and we want to support them in any way we can!

The first of our runners is Drew Wilkinson.

Drew is a keen runner from Riding Mill and 10 years ago he completed the Great North Run in a staggering 1 hour and 30 mins. He is hoping to match his time a decade on. Can he do it? We think so!

Please dig deep to sponsor Drew and to support us at the Charlotte Straker Project – we rely on donations to improve facilities and equipment in our care home which contributes significantly to the well being of our residents. We also provide one free of charge community respite bed which has already helped 42 families and their loved ones with essential respite care.

Drew can be sponsored at:

Good luck Drew – we’ll be cheering you on!


Holly from Norma James of Corbridge visits our resident Mary for a chat

By 29th July, 2018 News No Comments

Holly Atkinson from Norma James of Corbridge popped in for a cup of tea and a chat with our resident Mary Robson, who worked for over 30 years at the designer boutique.

Mary moved into one of our brand new ensuite rooms at Charlotte Straker House in May this year.

Mary told us how she started work at 15 at “high class tailors” Willoughby and Purvis in Fore Street in Hexham. She then moved to Kathleen Queen’s dress shop at the top of Battle Hill and then from there, she was invited to work at Norma James.

On her first day she was asked to help “dress” the window with a selection of the shop’s designs, and she did such a good job she continued to dress the window each week, for the next 30 years.

“Norma always designed the Christmas shop windows, and she dressed them beautifully, with vases of seasonal flowers”, Mary told us. “I used to choose the clothes and accessories for each week for the mannequins in the window and I loved the creativity of the job, and having the responsibility of deciding which outfits to feature and display.”

Mary obviously has a real eye for colour and design and she described her favourite outfit – a navy blue skirt from the designer Basler, paired with a neat primrose yellow jacket and blouse embroidered with matching primrose accents.

She then told us about choosing her wedding outfit in 1974.

“I really wanted a peach coloured suit, but couldn’t find anything suitable. So I went to Newcastle and walked around Binns, Fenwicks and Bainbridge’s until I suddenly saw a gorgeous navy suit – with a short skirt, a white bibbed blouse and tailored jacket. I bought it immediately, and was married in navy blue!”

Mary told us that Norma James used to regularly buy over 600 pieces from the Basler design house, and some patrons would visit the shop to buy every single item from the collection in their size, to wear in the following season. In those days, smart tweed suits were very popular, paired with matching hats and accessories.

“There were some extremely smart ladies, perfectly turned out in tailored suits. They were very stylish! I became friends with many of the society ladies from Hexham and Corbridge and used to dedicate a whole morning to helping them select outfits for the coming season.” she said.

When she left Norma James, Mary partnered with her sister, and set up her own dress shop in Heddon on the Wall, called Delmar Fashions which featured lots of outfits from Bellino and other similar designers.

Holly and Mary had a great chat about past and present customers and staff, and before she left Holly presented Mary with a £100 voucher from Norma James of Corbridge and a card with hand written best wishes from the staff.

Mary said, “I loved working with Norma, and made some great friends at the shop. I’m going to really enjoy choosing an outfit with the voucher – thank you so much to the staff at Norma James Clothing and to Holly for coming in to have a chat about the old days in Corbridge – it’s really made my day.”

Holly and Mary chatting over a cup of tea and piece of cake.


Blowing bubbles in the sunshine

By 16th July, 2018 News Comments Off

Yesterday our residents were helping us blow some bubbles!

It seems a simple activity, but it helped everyone to have fun outside in the sunshine, especially those who might struggle to interact in other ways.

Some of our residents told us that it reminded them of doing exactly the same thing when they were young children, and we had a competition to see how many bubbles they could pop before they reached the ground.

We’ll certainly try out our bubble machine on another sunny day – we’re also going to use it for the next time the children from Little Tinklers nursery come to visit.

Our Community Respite Care Bed has helped over 15 families since January this year.

By 6th July, 2018 News Comments Off

In the first six months of 2018, our Community Respite Care Bed has helped over 15 Tynedale families by providing free of charge respite care to their loved ones.

As well as receiving expert care from our team of RGNs and care assistants, our respite residents have enjoyed taking part in all the crafting, gardening and musical activities that take place in our home, as well as our regular hairdresser, nail and reflexology appointments.

Ann is this week’s respite care resident. She’s shown here with one of her carers, Keith Harkiss, a Senior Care Assistant, who has worked at Charlotte Straker House for over 4 years.

Ann told me, “I was worried when I first came in, but now I’m here I’m enjoying the food and I like the people who look after me.”

Keith said “It’s all a matter of reassurance and making someone feel safe and happy to be away from home. This helps our respite residents to feel comfortable and have a relaxing stay”.

Thank you to all those who donated to fund our Community Respite Bed – it is certainly a much needed facility!

Our respite bed is now booked up to November, and we are also now taking bookings for 2019. To book or enquire after particular dates please contact Iwona Proszowska, Deputy Manager on 01434 633999 or email

Respite resident Ann with Senior Care Assistant Keith Harkiss.

Our two brand new resident rooms are now OPEN!

By 5th July, 2018 News Comments Off

We are delighted to say that the last remaining flat at Charlotte Straker House has been developed into two brand new resident rooms.

The large flat has been divided and refurbished with en-suite wet room facilities, high quality furnishings and fittings and overhead tracking.

This means that Charlotte Straker House has expanded its accommodation from 30 to 31 rooms (as one of our existing bedrooms will be turned into a much needed office).

Mary Robson moved into one of the new rooms on Saturday. Mary originally spent a week in our Community Respite Bed, and told us she liked it so much, that she decided to move in to become a full resident.

New resident Mary Robson having a cuddle with Nicola Pick, a member of our housekeeping team.

Mary told us that “I love the new room, it’s bright and airy and I’ve got all my favourite photos and things around me . The best thing is about being here is how friendly everyone is, and having a chat with my carers every day.”

Mary lived for many years on a farm in Ovingham, with her husband Mark and her family. She also worked as a sales assistant at Norma James of Corbridge, and told us she “dressed” the window display in the shop for over 30 years.

Marilyn Hunter, Manager of Charlotte Straker told us, “The whole team and I are delighted with the high quality refurbishment of these rooms. We have been looking forward to our residents moving into their new accommodation. The told us how pleased they are with the decoration and standard of fittings as well as the fact they love the new en-suite bathrooms!”

Berenice Groves, Chair of the Trustees added, “This refurbishment has been completely funded with donations. We are immensely grateful and would like to sincerely thank all our supporters whose generosity has allowed us to refurbish our new accommodation to such a high standard.”

Fish and Chips on a Sunny Day

By 5th July, 2018 Events, News Comments Off

Thank you to the Angel Fish Shop for delivering fish and chips to our residents today.

Marcia from the Fish Shop arrived with individually boxed up fish and chips which were very popular – everyone had their own order, and the fish was fresh and the chips were crisp!

Karen, our Activities Coordinator, had arranged a “beach themed” day, with pretend sandcastles, iced Pimms to drink, themed place table decorations and ice creams in a cone for dessert. She had even organised for a soundtrack of waves on a beach to accompany our takeaway lunch.

At 2pm, talented accordionist Leonard will be visiting to play some more of his wonderful music – most of our residents enjoy singing along or clapping their hands to the songs.

Thank you very much to Marcia and her team for delivering the lunches – it was a real highlight of the day!

The Corbridge Memory Cafe – a valuable support to our residents.

By 22nd June, 2018 News Comments Off

Our residents, Alan, Lily, Joyce, Olive and Billy, visited the Corbridge Memory Cafe yesterday.

The cafe is held every month, on the third Thursday at the Corbridge village hall from 10.30 am to 12.30pm.

It’s a unique event in the village and is designed a wonderfully welcoming place for individuals with all types of memory loss, dementia or cognitive impairment. People and their families and carers can socialize, pass on information, strike up friendships and chat informally as well as finding out more about dementia and forms of support.

Melvin Stone is the organiser behind the café and each month arranges activities such as singing, exercises, films and games whilst Grants Artisan Bakery in Corbridge generously donates a variety of delicious cakes and pastries.

Karen, our Activites Coordinator, thinks the Memory Café is invaluable to our residents, “It’s a great way to socialise, to give a change of scenery and the chance to talk to different people”, she says. “Our residents love to reminisce and it gives them a chance to talk about things that are important to them. This then sparks up interesting conversations and helps them to feel connected to the past, which our residents can find very comforting and reassuring.”

Melvin added, “We set up the café to provide a comfortable place to ensure carers and their loved ones are supported and don’t feel isolated in the community. We’re helped by a great team of volunteers and businesses and I’ve seen a marked increase in the number of people who come each month.

Often, the monthly get togethers just give people a chance for a chat and a cup of tea and to talk through any issues. We try to arrange activities that appeal to everyone.”

Thank you to Melvin and his volunteers for setting up such an important addition to Corbridge life!

Melvin Stone, organiser of the Cafe (centre, standing) with our residents Alan and Joyce, plus volunteer Jane and staff member Mandy.

The delicious chocolate cake from Grants of Corbridge!

All the bakes and cakes from Grants of Corbridge.

Melvin, organiser of the cafe, with regular volunteer Graham.

Lily and Olive having a chat over a cup of tea.

Peter, Billy, Mandy and Alan all enjoying a cup of tea at the Cafe.

Volunteer Avril with our resident Lily having a cuddle!

Kevin Laing, MD of the Angel tests out our new Emergency Lifting Cushion!

By 21st May, 2018 News Comments Off

We managed to persuade Kevin Laing, MD of the Angel of Corbridge to make the first test of our new Emergency Lifting Cushion.  Read more on this piece of equipment here.

Iwona Proszowska assisted him in trying out the new cushion, and although Kevin looked a little bit worried, the new equipment worked brilliantly, and will be an essential new piece of kit at Charlotte Straker House.

We’d like to send a sincere thank you to all the traders, volunteers and supporters who helped us at the Corbridge Fashion Show, and we hope they can see that we have put their fundraising to good use.

Our brand new Emergency Lifting Cushion! Bought with funds from the #Corbridge Fashion Show

By 18th May, 2018 News Comments Off

Kevin Laing, Managing Director of The Angel of Corbridge visited us yesterday, to present a cheque from The Angel’s recent charity quiz night. The evening raised over £800 which will be split between the Charlotte Straker Project and the Corbridge Youth Initiative.

The funds raised from the recent Corbridge Fashion Show at the Angel of Corbridge has also allowed us to buy an essential piece of equipment, the Mangor Elk emergency lifting cushion.

This is used to help a fallen person safely back into a sitting position. It is recommended by most UK NHS Ambulance Trusts as a key piece of emergency equipment and helps reduce injuries for fallen residents and their carers.

We are so grateful to Kevin and his team at the Angel, and all the other Corbridge traders who have been so supportive and generous to our charity. We hope they can see that the funds raised have been put to very good use. Finale Shoes and AccessoriesNorma James of CorbridgeShorts of CorbridgeCroft and Graves Optometrists Vintage at the Tower Reflections HAIR and BeautyKatie Kerr Shop and many more!

We also have a great video of Kevin trying out the new equipment – we’re hoping to post that shortly 😁😁😁



(The picture shows from l to r – Berenice Groves, Chair of our Trustees, Angela Jones, Chair of our Fundraising Committee, Kevin Laing MD of the Angel of Corbridge, Lesley Thirlwell, Vice Chair of our Trustees and Iwona Prosowska, Deputy Manager of Charlotte Straker House)