Care for the elderly in Northumberland.

The Roland Cookson Fund and the Community Foundation

By 28th February 2019

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.”


Charlotte Straker is OUTSTANDINGLY well-led – our latest CQC report.

By 19th February 2019

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.”

Valentine’s Day at Charlotte Straker House

By 18th February 2019

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.


Famous Explorer Conrad Dickinson gives charitable “To Antartica” talk in Corbridge.

By 12th February 2019

It was standing room in the Corbridge Village Hall when famous explorer Conrad Dickinson gave his “To Antarctica” talk last Friday night.

The tickets for the event sold out within 14 days, and it was a hugely successful evening, with an entertaining account of Conrad’s expedition to Antarctica with Prince Harry and four wounded servicemen.

The evening raised approximately £1,500 towards our Community Respite Care Bed!

Thank you to Conrad for such an entertaining and inspiring presentation, plus all those who contributed towards and organised the evening

The photo below shows (from left to right) Charlotte Straker Trustee Mike Pottage and Conrad Dickinson.

The Tynedale Gift Fair donates £3000 to our brand new accessible bathroom.

By 12th February 2019

From left to right, Caroline Mason and Jane Daglish from the Tynedale Gift Fair, Charlotte Straker trustee Angela Jones, Margaret Murray from the Tynedale Gift Fair, Charlotte Straker registered manager Marilyn Hunter and trustee Ann Wagstaff.

We were delighted to welcome the Tynedale Gift Fair committee to Charlotte Straker House in order for them to present a cheque for £3000 from the 2018 Tynedale Gift Fair.

This very generous donation has helped us to completely renovate the upstairs bathroom into a fully accessible state of the art integrated bathroom suite for the nursing, residential and respite patients. This new bathroom includes an Arjo Jacuzzi bath system, with an overhead tracking hoist.

Marilyn Hunter, our Registered Manager commented, “we are so grateful to the Gift Fair committee for supporting us again this year and helping to fund our new bathroom. It is a huge bonus to Charlotte Straker House. The new bath and overhead tracking hoist are a perfect solution for our less mobile residents, and the new equipment has been very popular with them as a warm bath is very soothing for those with stiff joints and muscles especially as they can now enjoy a nice long soak!”

Berenice Groves, Chair of the Trustees added, “over the past three years the Tynedale Gift Fair has donated an incredible £9500 to our charity. We’d like to thank Caroline and her team for their generosity and support of our respite, residential and nursing residents.”

Our Community Respite Care Bed supported 29 local families in 2018.

By 15th January 2019

We are very proud to report that in 2018 our Community Respite Care Bed supported 29 local families, by providing free of charge, high quality short term respite care breaks for their relatives and loved ones.

Our respite care room costs £45,000 per year and is completely funded by generous donations from our supporters.

The bed has been fully booked through 2018 with 36 admissions, and with some residents coming twice in one year. The feedback from the residents who used the respite bed has been 100% positive throughout 2018.

Joan, who was admitted to the bed in August, stayed with us for two weeks. “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.”

Ann was admitted for a week’s respite care in July. She said, “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.”

Peter, who stayed with us for one week in November, feedback that “I love the food, and I feel happy. The nurses who look after me are extremely nice.” Gina, his daughter added, “It’s a wonderful facility. It’s such a relief to find high quality care for my Dad.”

Iwona, our Deputy Manager states, “This is an essential service and we are proud to be able to provide it for the local community.

Families tell me they are desperate to find some high quality local care to allow them to take a much needed short break from their caring responsibilities.

We do everything we can to ensure that every respite resident we admit is comfortable and settled. It’s all a matter of reassurance and making someone feel safe and happy to be away from home. We encourage our respite residents to join in as much as they can in the activities, complimentary therapies and outings in our home, to ensure they feel confident and have a relaxing stay”.

The Respite Care Bed is now booked up until the end of January, with weeks available throughout the rest of the year. The exact dates and eligibility criteria are available on our page:

If you are planning for respite care in 2019, PLEASE contact us now, to make sure you don’t miss out!

If you have any queries about the eligibility criteria for the Community Respite Care bed, would like to check dates for 2019 and discuss a possible short break, please speak to us on 01434 633999, or email

(The photo below shows our Deputy Manager Iwona with Eric, our current respite resident.)

Thank you to Brocksbushes Farm Shop – we raised £6212!

By 9th January 2019

Huge thanks to Caroline, Amanda and the team at Brocksbushes Farm Shop & Tea Room for asking us to be their Charity of the Year in 2017 and 2018.

We are enormously grateful to them for giving our team the opportunity to raise funds at the Brocksbushes Sampling Saturdays, Summer and Christmas Fayres.

In the two years we raised £6212, an incredible amount, which will help fund our Community Respite Care Bed as well as essential equipment.

In addition Crafty Women raised £1929 at the Summer and Christmas fayres.

This will make a huge difference to our charity, by supporting our nursing, residential and respite residents in Charlotte Straker House.

Thank you again to the Brocksbushes team for making us feel so welcome and for supporting us throughout the two years.

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