2021 was a busy year as usual for our First Blue Healthcare homes, and although there were restrictions at times due to the pandemic, there was still fun to be had and new developments taking place. Here are a few highlights of what has been happening at our individual homes over the past year.
We kick-started the year with five children's homes registered with Ofsted and in the Spring of 2021 opened home number six Primrose Cottage, which is a two-bed home, located in Cannock, Staffordshire. Several months on and the home already had two children living there. The manager whose career has progressed through First Blue Healthcare was very excited and enthusiastic about running her own home.
Halloween at Primrose Cottage
Our manager won’t mind me saying that she is a bit of a child at heart. When it came to decorating the home for Halloween she went all out and everyone had a fun time.
Christmas at Primrose Cottage
If you thought that Halloween at Primrose Cottage was amazing, this was only the beginning, they had even more fun at Christmas! The house was decorated with lovely Christmas trees and decorations which all went to making the big day special.
Having new adventures and exploring different places is an important part of a child’s and young person's development. So when two of our young people decided they wanted to have a break, we made sure we were able to accommodate them. One wanted to go on a few days trip for their summer holiday, the other wanted a weekend shopping in Manchester, with a stay in a hotel room. We made sure everything was arranged and off they went. They both enjoyed their experiences, even though there were some restrictions due to Covid.
Changes at Cherry Tree
We have redecorated the lounge and purchased a fish tank; this helps keep all the adults busy counting the babies! We have had one young person leave and another one come to live with us. Hehas fitted in well and enjoys cooking and baking.
There have been a few achievements at Cherry Tree that we are really pleased about. Two of our adults achieved their diploma qualifications. We also had an Ofsted visit that resulted in a rating of good, which we are all very proud of.
Stephenson House had an eventful year with several young people moving from the home into planned transitions. One of these young people had been with us for two years and moved into semi-independent living. All the young people coped well with Covid restrictions and managed to get away on holiday in between lockdowns.
The home also had new additions in the form of two kittens called lavish and Kaos, they are full of personality and have brought us lots of joy.
LW one of our children living at Bellhurst Cottage was keen on going night fishing. And so it was arranged with one of his key workers to visit Kingswood near Albrighton. The wood has a 4-acre pool and is for club members only, which they are.
Patience, good concentration and focus are some of the attributes of fishing and LW did really well. Plus night fishing has that added element of excitement, sitting in the quiet darkness listening to the odd call of a wild animal can be exciting. Not to mention it’s not often you get to enjoy your food and drink by the river bank with torches for your only source of light.
Even better when the first fish caught was a large barbel. It was made even more special because it was a fish LW wanted to catch. After this a huge 17lb fish was caught then a large ghost carp, with fish continuing to be caught throughout the night. After celebrating each catch LW like a true fisherman made sure the fish were put back into the pool.
The next day after a refreshing sleep it was time to head home. Not even having a flat battery on the car detracted from the fun we’d had and the sense of achievement felt by LW. It was truly an excellent night's fishing.
Mindfulness Through Art
At Bellhurst Cottage we are always looking for ways to keep us all calm and relaxed. One of the techniques we use is mindfulness, which helps channel thoughts to where you are in the present. This helps relax the mind and ease tension. We use mindfulness programmes specifically aimed at young people, especially through the medium of arts and crafts. Participating in crafts is an ideal way of channeling the mind because of the focus required to complete the task.
TL who is a young person living at Bellhurst loves to do art and be creative, so we thought what better way for her to relax than painting pottery. I’m sure you’ll agree they have turned out beautiful. All they need now is some varnish and then they will be ready for collection.
We all enjoyed a very festive and fun Christmas; one of the children chose to have a special Christmas Eve meal of pheasant which he really enjoyed. The house was filled with decoration, music, laughter, and chocolate! From the excitement of opening Christmas presents, to the fun of the adults dressed as reindeer and elves or their dashing Christmas jumpers and not forgetting children spending time with their families, it all went to make a fantastic Christmas.
We welcomed the New Year with a delicious Chinese buffet at home and watched the Pitch Perfect movie. What a start to 2022.
It’s great to know that we’ve helped one of our young people settle into their new home and be happy. It's so lovely to get positive feedback like that received below from one of our young residents, who moved into March Banks during 2021. It makes our job so much more worthwhile knowing the children that live with us are progressing and happy.
“When I first came to March Banks I did not like the staff, the house or the girl I was placed with.
But as I got to know the staff, I had my two favourites, as they were the most supportive adults around me, especially when I was going through a rough patch, they still are my two favourite members of staff.
I feel like I'm in a good place, and I feel the team now at March Banks are the best group that I have lived with.
Hopefully I can live here till I am 20 years old.
I love my life at March Banks.”
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