Care for the elderly in Northumberland.

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

By 22nd June 2018

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!

Our Centenary Garden Party

By 11th June 2018

The Centenary celebrations continued on Sunday, with our Centenary Garden Party held in the gardens of Charlotte Straker House.

Ada Lyons and Lily Smith are residents at Charlotte Straker House and are both 100 years’ old this year. They helped to plant a special Centenary rose called “Charlotte” with help from our Manager Marilyn Hunter, and Deputy Iwona Proszowska.

Thanks to Gayle Foster from Vintage at the Tower, our supporters and Trustees were able to dress in period costumes and accessories to celebrate the day.

We were entertained by Helene Dolder, plus the talented Jive Alive dancers (who meet at the Hexham Torch Centre on Wednesdays at 8pm – all welcome), a chamber orchestra and a wonderful afternoon tea, prepared by Papaya.

Apart from one short downpour, the day was bright and sunny, and it was wonderful to such a great community of volunteers, staff and supporters.

Berenice Groves, our Chair of Trustees made a speech to thank all our supporters – we have included this below:

On behalf of the Trustees and the Charlotte Straker team we are delighted that you are here to participate and share in the celebrations for our Centenary Year.

We are commemorating and celebrating that 100 years ago Joseph Straker bequeathed Prior House to the community as a cottage hospital in memory of his wife Charlotte Straker.

I am convinced that if Joseph was here today he would be astonished and delighted to see how far the Charlotte Straker Project has grown since its humble beginnings in 1918.Over the past few decades our charity has weathered many obstacles NHS closure of the cottage hospital, losing our wonderful palliative care service in the GP beds.

But it is a testament to the grit, determination and dedication of our staff and the supporters that Charlotte Straker House has emerged as a unique and much-loved facility, firmly embedded within the local community.

Prior House and the cottage hospital was created to make a difference in the Corbridge community. It has done this and certainly continues to make a difference today. We are committed to evolving to ensure that we always remain relevant to the needs of our residents and the needs of the local community.

There are many years ahead of us, new and exciting projects.

Since 1918 we’ve been able to provide care and nursing to hundreds of residents and patients, from all areas of Northumberland and beyond. This is a HUGE achievement.

In 1992 a board of Trustees set up the wonderful Charlotte Straker project in order to continue to deliver care to our community – you can see the dedication as some of the original trustees are still with us today such as Ann Wagstaff and Bill Cunningham.

We continue to develop an example of this was the introduction of the Community Respite Bed which was has both surpassed all expectation both with how quickly the money to operate it was raised and the use.

Since 2017, our Community Respite Care has provided care for the loved ones of 27 separate families. And it is obvious from family and patient testimonials how essential this bed is to hard pressed carers in the community.Now, our facility can go onto a critically needed new phase as we explore options for new physical space in which we can help even more residents and patients.

We have recently converted the last vacant flat to provide more bedrooms to a great standard – again thanks to the funds raised by many here today.

The Charlotte Straker Project has touched so many lives since 1918 and has helped so many local families.We should all congratulate ourselves, that our charity is so essential, so well supported and so much loved.

So today we celebrate turning 100 years old, and I’m here to say thank you: to our committed staff, to those who volunteer selflessly week in week out, to the Corbridge businesses and traders who help us so much, to our dedicated Trustees, to our Friends and Crafty Women and all those who help us in any way. These groups and individuals are the reason we are here today, and we are so grateful.On behalf of the Charlotte Straker Project, thank you. Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for a century of remarkable commitment and care.”


Ada Lyons (seated left) and Lily Smith (seated right) are both 100 years’ old this year. They planted a Centenary Charlotte rose with help from Marilyn Hunter, our Manager and Iwona Proszowska, our Deputy Manager.

Bill Cunningham, Trustee and Berenice Groves, Chair of the Trustees is their wonderful period costumes!

Our Centenary Summer Fete

By 11th June 2018

Our Centenary Fete was held on Saturday and raised approximately £1,200 for the Charlotte Straker Project.

Joan McFadzean, one of our ex-Trustees, kindly opened the fete, and the sun blazed down and we had a great turnout of visitors to our stalls and games.

The icecream, cakes and cream teas went down a storm, and our Crafty Women stall, plant stall, book stall and tombola were very popular.

Thank you to everyone who made it such a success and to our friends at the following charities who brought their own stalls and games, and supported us on the day: Riding for the Disabled AssociationLifespanCarersNorthumberland Johnstone Anne-MarieTynedale Hospice at HomeTynedale Lions Club, our very own Crafty Women, Corbridge Youth-Initiative, 1st Tynedale Cubs and Scouts and Chrysalis at Tynedale.

(All images courtesy of Ian Wylie from Visit Corbridge)

Joan Fadzean and Bill Cunningham. Joan kindly opened our Summer Fete.

Berenice Groves, Chair of Trustees, Joan McFadzean and Bill Cunningham, Trustee.

Bill Cunningham, Trustee and Guy Opperman, MP, who came and supported us on the day.

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

By 21st May 2018

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

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)

Centenary Summer Fete – Saturday 9th June from 2pm.

By 14th May 2018

Our Centenary Summer Fete is on Saturday 9th June from 2pm.

We will have lots of stalls including a tombola, book stall, plant stall, Crafty Women plus stalls from many other local charities and organisations.

There will be cream teas, ices, a cake stall and face painting for the children plus music from the Tyne Valley Band.

Everyone is welcome – come and have a great Summer afternoon at Charlotte Straker House in Corbridge!

The Angel of Corbridge raises money for us with their famous annual quiz!

By 2nd May 2018

Last Friday, The Angel of Corbridge held their famous Annual Quiz.

The evening was a huge success and in total they raised £816 that will be split between the two chosen projects: ourselves and Corbridge Youth-Initiative.

Seventy-two people attended (including a team from Charlotte Straker) with local quizmaster Alistair Jenkins keeping everything on track. The quiz was quite challenging and went to a tiebreak after two teams both scored 91 out of 120.

The Angel donated £5 from each entrant, raised money from their raffle and from 3 auction prizes including a bid for their pizza Street Food for a private event.

Thank you VERY much to the staff from the Angel who organised the event, and for raising such a great amount for our charity!

Visiting High House Farm to see the newborn lambs.

By 1st May 2018

A group of our residents, staff and volunteers visited High House Farm Brewery in the sunshine yesterday, to see Pint Sized Farmers‘ lambs and to see around the farm.

They met Candy the Shetland pony, and helped feed her some treats. Everyone went up to the sheep sheds and had a chance to give Sparkle the pregnant ewe some sheep nuts and watch the tiniest lambs playing in the straw.

We all then went to see the pet lambs and everyone enjoyed watching them skip about in the sunshine. Wilfrid the pet lamb was a particular favourite, and we all had a cuddle. Our Activities Coordinator was tempted to take him home with her, to become a Charlotte Straker mascot, but was persuaded to leave him behind!

Everyone then had a delicious soup and sandwich lunch at High House Farm Brewery. Many thanks to Heather and Lizzie from the brewery for looking after us so well.

It was wonderful to be out in the fresh air, and to see all the farm animals enjoying the sunshine. Thank to everyone who helped on the visit!

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