15 February 2021, General

Over the weekend, young people from the Hampshire Youth Project had the opportunity to lift the spirits of the residents who live in Winscombe Care Home in rural Hampshire. Since the charity first visited the care home in October, we were amazed by the overwhelming sense of community displayed by both staff and residents.

Ever since, we have been working hard on how Enable Ability and the care home can work together in partnership, providing work experience and volunteering opportunities to the young people who are on the Hampshire Youth Project; opportunities that will ultimately have a positive impact on the lives and well-being of the residents who reside at the rural retreat, a place which has found a way to our hearts within the last few months.

James Donougher, Project Leader of the Hampshire Youth Project (Enable Ability), said "Since having the opportunity to meet some of the lovely residents and meet with staff who kindly explained how they include the residents in the daily operations of the care home, I was so impressed and blown away by how the staff create a real sense of purpose and meaning for all residents, making sure they're not just sat in a room with nothing to do. We have been very fortunate that staff want to include the charity in their developmental plans within the grounds of the care home; then once the pandemic is over, create more opportunities for our young people to work closer with the residents. Equally, our young people would get so much experience from such opportunities, gaining valuable skills in environmental and conservation work within the grounds. Then eventually, when safe to do so, improve their communicative skills when engaging with the residents and staff at the care home, through events such as games evenings or serving an afternoon tea for residents."

Another valuable partnership is the South Downs National Park Authority who are already involved in our work with the care home. The skills and commitment shown from the staff of the organisation in recent months has been really valuable to the environmental and conservation work we intend on progressing with once lockdown ends. Plans to get the young people involved in improving the planting beds at the care home is our first priority and we cannot wait to get started.

However, in the meantime, we are limited to virtual meetings with staff and residents of the care home. The young people on the project were very keen when it was first suggested to play a game of virtual bingo with the care home. Despite the problems we had towards the end of our first Zoom call (where the rural location of the care home proved to be a problem with technology), we fully intend on creating more fantastic virtual memories with the care home in the strange times we are currently living in.

Stay safe and keep smiling everyone :)