Residents and colleagues at Riverside care home in Hyde, Cheshire, have won a Care UK competition themed around the Big Butterfly Count, a national survey that was held this summer.
The survey involved thousands of members of the public all over the UK spending 15 minutes in their gardens from 17th July to 9th August, counting as many butterflies and daytime moths as they could see, then submitting the results to the survey organisers.
Riverside residents and care home team members spent a number of afternoons in the garden looking for butterflies, but the damp Cheshire weather seemed to be keeping the butterflies away. Enthusiasm undimmed, residents decided to create their own butterfly garden at the home, buying a butterfly lore and ten caterpillars.
When the caterpillars arrived they were tiny, but the home’s team and residents carefully nurtured them and watched them grow over a number of weeks until their chrysalises were fully formed. They then transferred them to the butterfly garden, decorated with bright nectar producing flowers and fresh fruit.
The painted lady butterflies hatched slowly after three to six days, a fascinating and beautiful experience to watch. After another couple of days in their butterfly garden, these new butterflies were released into the Riverside garden, but only after residents had given each a name. Some of the butterflies seemed reluctant to leave their Riverside family and sat on residents’ hands for a while, while others flew away almost immediately.
Everyone who got involved in Riverside’s butterfly project really enjoyed the experience. While the butterflies have flown out into the world, residents – and visitors to the home – have something to remember them by as they have created an impressive piece of wall art based around the butterfly’s lifecycle.
Competition judges were so taken with the wall art and how well the Riverside team engaged residents with the project that they awarded top prize to the care home: £400 to spend as they wish.
Karen Scaife, manager of Riverside, says, “The residents who took part in the butterfly project are thrilled that they’ve won the competition. They had a wonderful time getting involved, and this is just the icing on the cake. Now we’re planning all the things we could do with the prize money. One thing’s for sure, we’ll set some aside for an even bigger and better butterfly count next year!”