On an almost daily basis, we hear about the crisis in care homes and how those living in care facilities are the most vulnerable in our current climate.

What many forget, however, is that for the generations living in care homes, this is not the first time that some of them have lived through challenging times and that they have an undeniably robust and steely spirit. What was always important during those times was the sense of community, where one would always look out for their neighbours and offer help to those who needed it. Therefore, it was of no great surprise to see this attitude prevail when residents at Queens Court Care Home were made aware of the plight of some of the homeless in their local town.

~ “We need to think of something that we can do to help” – Maureen Banfield, 79, Queens Court Resident ~

In December, following a chance meeting with a homelessness outreach worker who expressed how COVID-19, on top of the winter conditions, was making being homeless even more dangerous, 85-year-old resident Libby Elvin was saddened by this information, “It’s awful to think there are people out there in the cold, what can we do to help?”

Queens Court have a very good relationship with their local community as a whole and, upon hearing about this, residents and staff at the Nursing and Residential Dementia home in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, were unanimous in wanting to make a difference and support their local community. Liza Street, the home’s Activities Co-ordinator reached out to local charity CHESS Homeless to see how they could help, “After speaking with Debbie Furber [CHESS outreach worker], it was suggested a way we could support them was to donate toiletries as these are something that is always needed, but not often donated.”

A few phone calls and emails later, residents’ loved ones and staff had donated enough toiletries and other small gifts that Queens Court were able to create a number of individual goodie bags which could then be handed out by the charity.

Earlier this week, the dedicated team from CHESS collected the donations and announced shortly thereafter on their Facebook page that they’d been able to put them to use straight away, “Our thanks to Queens Court Care Home for the 27 goody bags we recently collected. So thoughtful of you. We really do appreciate our amazing community.”

~ “I hope they like the goody bags, it’s not much, but I hope it makes them feel we care” – Irene Tovey, 92, Resident ~

Customer Relations Manager Shelley Mclean commented “The care shown and the donations made by residents, families and staff has been very fulfilling, and brilliant to see. Not just in the home, but for the community to come together and support each other, and not just now, but always. Although we are all going through a challenging time, the effort made to remain positive and make things happen is great. We now plan to do this on a regular basis and remain in touch with CHESS Homeless Charity to see how else we can support them. I feel honoured and lucky to be part of such an amazing family at Queens Court.