Life at Baycroft is packed full of all sorts of activities. But as well as keeping busy in the home itself, we know how important it is that residents have a strong sense of belonging to the wider community.
We spoke to Kathy Dale, activities coordinator at Baycroft Great Baddow, about how residents are engaging with the community around the home.
Hi Kathy. Why do you think it’s important for residents to be able to engage with the community near Baycroft Great Baddow?
It’s absolutely crucial for our residents to feel part of the community outside of Baycroft.
Interaction is as important for wellbeing as activity is. Our residents love talking to the people who live near us, whether it’s the congregation at the local church or the postman. Stimulation like that goes a long way for residents’ health.
We need to remember that all of our residents had a life before Baycroft, and they all have something unique to offer from that life experience.
For instance, one of our residents is a dab hand at watercolours, and we’ve started up art groups with him – and now, we’re thinking about opening up a little exhibition of some of the work. Fingers crossed that can happen!
What has Baycroft been doing in the community so far?
Among lots of things, we’ve been able to set up a really good relationship with our local church. Every second Monday of the month, the vicar comes over for afternoon tea, and our residents have a chat with him.
It’s not hugely religious, as such – it’s more a comfort, and a lovely way of meeting people from the wider community.
For residents that would like to go, we also head out in our minibus to a teatime Sunday service once a month. Last time, I made a cake and we ran some activities there for the whole congregation.
We’ve also done lots with the local Tiny Tots group. They all came over for Halloween, all dressed up. They did the same at Christmas. It’s really lovely for the residents, and the little ones have a whale of a time too.
What do the residents make of the activities in the community?
It’s been great. Our manager, Wendy, asked all our activities team to spend time with each resident and find out what their ‘red letter day’ would be. That is, their dream day – it might involve an activity they’d love to do, a place to visit or a food to try.
Lots of our residents are very keen on gardening, so we’ve had trips out to local garden centres. When we’re out and about, they’ve all loved chatting to the people they meet.
Getting out into Chelmsford has been really lovely. Some of our residents knew it a while back and it’s changed so much that they find it interesting looking around now, seeing how it’s transformed.
Likewise we’ve had trips out to country homes, like Highland House near us. Residents took some really lovely photos from the day.
We always make sure that we listen to everybody’s request, even if it’s not a grand one at all. One of the most important things at Baycroft is that everyone feels individually valued. It creates such a strong sense of community in our home, and it gives residents a real sense of wellbeing.
What kind of impact does this have on the community?
I think it’s been really valuable for the community to realise what a lovely place Baycroft is. It’s not ‘God’s waiting room’ or anything like that – it’s so important that people in the community can meet residents and see that for themselves.
It’s also been lovely having intergenerational meetings, like we do with Tiny Tots. We’ll have lots more like that in the future!
What activities have you got coming up?
In August, we’re going to have a day of bringing a seaside holiday right into Baycroft. We’ve got Punch and Judy, donkeys, seaside games… and we’re inviting people from the community, including the kids, to come and share it with us.
We’ll have lots of other, smaller events going on too. We’ll do things like hosting a coffee morning, and more activities with church.
I’d like to get involved with the WI, too. And we’ve got some plans in the pipeline with the local school, for more visits with their classes.
There are so many things going on, all the time. There’s never a dull day. Our lovely lounges at Great Baddow barely get used because everyone is so busy!