Eighty-seven-year-old Stella Allen became a celebrity for the day when she joined the Mayor of Hailsham in opening a new care home on Saturday (June 8).
Stella was the first resident to move into Bowes House in Battle Road and after only a week there was happy to be an ambassador. She said: “It is wonderful here. Everyone is very kind and everything is done to make you happy.”
The Mayor of Hailsham, Cllr Jo Bentley, who cut a ribbon to declare the home open said she was pleased the heritage site – once a brewery – had been preserved in the new development.
She was even more pleased that local people were finding employment at Bowes House. Fifty-five are working there at the moment and numbers will increase as more residents move in.
There are 90 beds for older people seeking personalised nursing, residential, and respite care, and an experienced team will also provide specialist support for those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
Mike Parish, the chief executive of Care UK, which has similar homes to Bowes House across the country, said he was delighted to attend the opening of their latest care home.
He added: “I think it is beautiful, particularly the way it blends the traditional with the modern. The design is really effective, and the quality of build and fittings is excellent.”
Mr Parish said he had just visited the retro-style Fanny Cradock kitchen. “It is good fun and I think that residents, being of the generation that would remember kitchens of that style, will be engaged and enjoy cooking in there.”
Mr Parish added that the most important asset at Bowes House was the staff and they seemed really happy, with smiling faces, and a positive and enthusiastic attitude.
“They are living up to the ethos of Care UK and I have heard them speaking to visitors saying how proud they are of the training they have received. I am absolutely chuffed.”
A harpist, pianist and magician entertained visitors on Saturday, while in the garden children were able to cuddle guinea pigs which are pets at Bowes House.
One of the visitors Mary Laxton said she was very excited because her 86-year-old mother Alma Gunston was moving into Bowes House.
Mrs Gunston is currently in another nursing home but her daughter said she has sent out cards to all her friends saying she will be moving back to Hailsham.
“We have watched Bowes House being built and I have always promised Mum that when it was built she would come here. I was the first person through the door when they started taking enquiries Mum has dementia and nursing needs but she knows she is coming and she can’t wait to get into the Fanny Cradock kitchen. She was a cook with Age Concern for 20 years and a member of the WI for 20-plus years too.”