Care for the elderly in Northumberland.
On Saturday 8th June we held our annual Summer Fete. Barbara Shaw, a volunteer who has helped the Charlotte Straker Project for over 25 years, opened the Fete and Trustee Dr. Bill Cunningham introduced the various stalls and visiting charities.
A memorial stone seat was unveiled by Helen and Alan Mason in memory of their mother Mary Mason, who sadly passed away in October 2018.
Mary was the last nursing sister at Charlotte Straker House when it was an NHS hospital. Mary fundraised for The Charlotte Straker Project and when it opened in 1992 Mary formed and chaired “The Friends of Charlotte Straker” group, who took the residents on many outings, helped with activities, organised events and started and ran the shop trolley. She raised funds for our charity through many different activities, including coffee mornings at the Parish Hall. We are delighted that we are able to commemorate her steadfast support with a beautiful stone seat.
The Sunshine Panners Steel Band entertained our guests, whilst Charlotte the pet sheep made an appearance. The cream teas were very popular, all the stalls were busy and a great time was had by everyone.
Berenice Groves, our Chair of Trustees made a speech thanking our staff and volunteers and called the winning raffle numbers.
Even though it was such a rainy day, our Fete raised over £800 whilst the Crafty Women raised £150 on their stall, all of which will go towards The Charlotte Straker Project.
Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make the Fete such a brilliant day. Thanks also to Ian Wylie who took the pictures below!
It’s Volunteers Week where we thank ALL those who generously give their time and energy to the Charlotte Straker Project.
We are publicising some of our volunteers’ stories – this is from Diane Wylie, a volunteer reflexologist who regularly attends Charlotte Straker House to offer free therapy sessions to our residents. She worked for many years in London as an NHS neonatal nurse caring for delicate and poorly newborn babies.
Diane discovered reflexology through a nurse colleague and became a qualified reflexologist and a member of the Association of Reflexologists in 1997.
After retiring Diane offered reflexology as a volunteer in London. Moving to Corbridge in 2016, she approached Charlotte Straker to see if any residents would be interested in trying out the therapy technique.
Now Diane comes every week to give a 20 or 30 minute reflexology massage to any resident who would like a treatment.
She says, “It is good to see the residents relaxing and enjoying the sensation and it definitely helps. I do make sure I share any concerns with the care team. I think they enjoy the personal touch and the chance to have a chat. Reflexology really interests me as it’s a holistic approach to well-being and is a way to help the body restore its balance.”
“I volunteer to give something back to the community and it also keeps me busy since I’ve retired!” she added.
We are so grateful to Diane for her weekly visit and our care team and Activities Coordinator can definitely see the difference her reflexology treatments make to our residents.
If you would like to volunteer at Charlotte Straker House, please contact our office on 01434 633 99 for our volunteering pack.
Don’t forget it’s our Summer Fete on Saturday from 2pm – this year we are celebrating all our volunteers, and Barbara Shaw, who has volunteered for an amazing 27 years, has kindly agreed to officially open the fete.
The weather might not be perfect, but never fear, all of our stalls and teas will be under cover – we are rain proof!
The Sunshine Panners Steel Band will be playing, and we will have a fabulous display of dancing by the Jive Alive dance team.
Our volunteers are working hard to organise some wonderful stalls, kids’ games, cream teas, ice-cream, crafts, cakes, book stall, raffle and tombola – please come and support your local charity, and help us raise funds for essential equipment for the Charlotte Straker Project.
Our Crafty Women have made some beautiful hand designed items, and they will be selling them at their own stall at the Fete.
If anyone has any items they can donate to our book, plant, or tombola stall or could bake a cake or bake for our cake stall we would be VERY grateful. They can be dropped off on the Fete morning, or between 9-5pm in our office at Charlotte Straker House.
Mr Hugh Dixon MBE visited last week to present a talk to our residents, trustees and staff on the history of Charlotte Straker and the Straker family.
Hugh worked as the former National Trust Curator for the North East, and is a fount of knowledge about historic homes, artwork and families in the Northumberland area.
The talk was absolutely fascinating. Thank you very much Hugh, we all certainly enjoyed your visit.
It’s Volunteers’ Week in the UK!
Our dedicated volunteers are a major strength of the Charlotte Straker Project. Without their contribution of time and energy, our organisation would not have accomplished so much or become such an essential part of the local community.This week we’ll be publicising some of their stories.
This is Warwick Milne’s story:
“Warwick has volunteered at the Charlotte Straker Project for over 10 years. He visits Charlotte Straker House every week to take part in a dominoes afternoon with our residents.
There’s usually a lot of laughing and joking from the lounge during the games, and some light-hearted teasing from both sides!
Kathleen Milne, Warwick’s mother, spent her final few years at Charlotte Straker House.
“My Mum was lucky enough to live at Charlotte Straker, and she really enjoyed it here”, he says, “she loved the staff, and I was really happy that she was able to spend such a happy time for her final few years”, he said
Warwick’s wife Suzette is also a key member at many of our fundraising events, and helps as much as she can at Charlotte Straker fetes and occasions.
Warwick explains, “I decided to start volunteering at Charlotte Straker, not only because I had a personal connection through my Mum, but because it gives me a lot back. I really enjoy chatting to the domino players. We have a good laugh. I also think it’s important to support a charity that means so much to the village. I’ve lived in Corbridge since 1997 and Charlotte Straker is a big part of the community. The residents here have often lived for a long time in this area, and we have a lot in common and know many of the same people.”
Ron regularly goes to the dominoes afternoon and really enjoys them. He said “Warwick is a lovely chap, and we have a good chat. He gives as good as he gets! I’ve played dominoes for a long time with him and sometimes I win and sometimes he does, and we put the world to rights with a joke or two. I like him a lot.”
If you would like to volunteer at Charlotte Straker House, please get in touch with our office on 01434 633 999 for a volunteer information pack.
We recently introduced a new activity to our residents….balloon tennis!
It’s wonderful for light exercise and improving cognitive ability, and we had so much fun batting the balloons around with our “tennis rackets” (pool noodles!)
You could hear the laughter from our players right down the hallway, and everyone is very much looking forward to the next game.
Our fabulous Charlotte Straker Summer Fete returns this year on Saturday 8th June from 2pm onwards, with many stalls and attractions including: a tombola, children’s games, book stall, plant stall, craft items, cream teas, ice creams and stalls from many other local charities and organisations.
We’d be VERY grateful if you could donate any unwanted items to our tombola stall, second hand books for our book stall, plants for our plant stall and any home made cakes and bakes for the afternoon.
All items can be left in the Charlotte Straker office at any time before 8th June. Thank you very much for your help!
Yesterday we held an afternoon tea with a difference.
Our residents, staff and trustees invited all our volunteers to thank them for giving up their time to help us at Charlotte Straker House.
Volunteers bring so much to our organisation, including skills, advice, experience, friendship and care. Their commitment and energy is inspiring and very much appreciated by us all.
Lesley Thirlwell, our Deputy Chair of the Trustees, gave a speech and presented “long service” certificates and badges to Janet Earnshaw, Jennifer Wright and Liz Nisbet for their long service as volunteers in our charity.
“Long service” certificates and badges will also be given to Heather Wilson, Barbara Shaw, Suzette Milne and Warwick Milne, as they couldn’t attend this afternoon.
Lesley’s speech in full…
“Our dedicated volunteers are a major strength of the Charlotte Straker Project. Without their contribution of time and energy, our organisation would not have accomplished so much or succeeded in becoming such a vital resource for our surrounding community.
They have a measurable and meaningful impact on the day to day life at our care home and we are immensely grateful for their enthusiasm and commitment.
Some individuals have volunteered for a considerable number of years and have become essential cornerstones of our organisation. We are so grateful for their continued advice and contribution to our charity.
Our helpers volunteer for many different reasons, but for whatever motivation they generously provide their time, skills and support without any expectation of reward.
Today is a chance for the trustees, staff and residents to thank our volunteers for sharing their skills and knowledge and for the positive impact they make on our residents’ lives. We are genuinely grateful for the energy, enthusiasm and dedication they bring to their roles as volunteers and the fact they make our overall mission of “care according to need” that much easier to achieve.”