Care for the elderly in Northumberland.
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.”
Last week our residents enjoyed an afternoon of flower arranging, demonstrated by our resident Maureen.
Maureen is very talented and explained to our residents how to create a beautiful display.You can tell how much everyone enjoyed the afternoon.
As well as flower arranging, we also had a games afternoon with a difference: a chance to try quoits plus a traditional tin can alley. This was a big hit with all the residents, and some were in fits of laughter at the attempts to knock down the cans.
We absolutely love all these photos, as it shows our wonderful residents really enjoying themselves and taking great delight in it all.
Last month we said a goodbye to John Upton, our handyman, who retired after many years’ service to the Charlotte Straker Project.
John has been instrumental in maintaining Charlotte Straker House and ensuring the home runs as smoothly as possible.
Our registered manager, Marilyn Hunter presented a retirement gift from all the staff at Charlotte Straker House (vouchers to John’s favourite hotel) during a retirement ceremony.
Everyone at Charlotte Straker would like to extend our thanks to John and to wish him a healthy, happy and relaxing retirement.
We had a special visitor this week.
Charlotte is a 3 week old orphan lamb from a local farm, and she came to see us at Charlotte Straker House.
Charlotte was the third from a set of triplets and her mother didn’t have enough milk to feed her, so she has been bottle fed since birth.
Pet therapy is proven to reduce anxiety and we have regular visits from therapy dogs and horses, however, this is a first with a pet lamb!
It was quite a complex thing to organise and we have needed approval from Trading Standards to transport the lamb here.
However it has definitely been worth it, as many of our residents lived and worked on farms, and seeing the lamb now, helps them reconnect with their past.
Meg said “I love her. She is so pretty. And tiny too. I think the best thing is her nappy. Thank you for bringing her in.”