Stepping Back into the Community

Ridgeway Rise Care Home has always been a social hub and an integral part of the Blunsdon St Andrew community in Swindon. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ridgeway Rise Care Home was used for many events by members of the local community such as Ridgeway Coffee Club, who often hold fundraisers for Wiltshire Air Ambulance, and would use our facilities for their events like bingo and quiz nights.

We would also hold many of our own events for our residents and neighbours, which in the past have included a Halloween disco, classic car show, Christmas Market and Summer Fête. It is very important to us that we continue to celebrate the occasions that our residents will have done previously, to maintain routine and normalcy, as well as contribute to our resident’s social and mental wellbeing.

The pandemic, unfortunately, took these pleasures away from us, and whilst we made the most of online events, being able to catch up with friends and meet new people is something we have been extremely excited about and has been very much anticipated amongst residents and staff alike.

After an extremely long time, everyone at Ridgeway Rise is delighted to be able to step back into the community. With the utmost joy, we have been able to attend meetings again, organised by Highworth Memory Café, Wyvern Theatre Memory Café and Ridgeway Coffee Club.

A memory cafe is somewhere that offers a safe, comfortable and supportive space for those with memory loss, such as Dementia, to socialise with existing relationships and to also build new connections. Highworths Forget Me Not Memory Café invited us this month to a musical afternoon with the local ladies Harmony Group ‘Singing in the Park’ and some quiz fun with Kevin O’Donoghue, organiser of the cafe.

Wyvern Theatre Memory Cafe is a local group that we have attended for years, and this month, we were extremely lucky to have members of the cafe surprise our residents with a visit from Alpacas. Animal therapy is known for its benefits in reducing stress and loneliness, and boosting people’s moods, among others. The residents absolutely loved petting the Alpacas and interacting with them, bringing a smile to all of their faces.

Our friends at Ridgeway Coffee Club have started to hold fortnightly coffee mornings at our local pub, and residents have thoroughly enjoyed visiting. During these sessions, residents are able to get out of the home, socialise with one another, and indulge in a coffee and cake. It is little pleasures like these that keep our residents engaged and stimulated, and we strive to involve ourselves with all types of social events as a result.

We see great value in having local connections, and we can also see firsthand the benefits that these opportunities give our residents. At Ridgeway Rise, we are always reaching out and building our network, and this includes attending our local church for services and Songs of Praise, and becoming pen pals with our local school.

The easing of restrictions has meant that we can finally be as active in our community as we once were, and has also meant that our volunteers can come back and spend time with residents. No matter what age or for what reason, we are constantly introducing our residents to new people and ensuring their relationships flourish.

There are many events hosted throughout the year in our community and we look forward to attending and building on these relationships. If you would like to see what else we get up to at Ridgeway Rise then please visit our news & events page, or if you have any questions about the services we provide or volunteering, then please feel free to contact us for more information.

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