The team at Francis Court in Copthorne includes many unpaid volunteers who donate their time and skills to enhance the home – and the lives of our residents. And last week we put on a garden party to show our appreciation for their untiring efforts.
Our chef made cakes and finger sandwiches and we opened bottles of bubbly in honour of our special guests, Lesley Dawson, Rosemary Pockett and Alex Langridge, who give their time and skills with such enthusiasm.
Lesley is our gardening lady. She has singlehandedly been keeping our gardens looking stunning for more than two years. Lesley at the home at least twice a week and she does absolutely everything, from buying plants and collecting seed to sowing and weeding. She has a collection of sensory plants which residents enjoy, but it’s the colourful display and variety of blooms throughout the garden that our residents really appreciate.
Rosemary brings her Sussex Caring Pets dog, Yasmin, to the home every Friday and has done so without fail for a couple of years – she never lets us down. There are some residents in the home who don’t communicate with people, but who instantly brighten up when they see Yasmin and chat happily to her. Seeing this incredible response from residents, Rosemary’s and Yasmin’s visits have led us to develop more animal-related activities, including organising visits from small ponies and even smaller lapdogs.
Alex is a trained storyteller who started volunteering at Francis Court this year and comes to see us once a month. She tells stories to residents, often about distant lands, and then talks to them to draw out their own experiences of travel, holidays, food and much more. It’s a fantastic way to engage with, and learn more about, our residents, who love sharing their life stories.
Carol Oxley-Shaw, activities coordinator at Francis Court says, “The party was a wonderful way of saying ‘thank you’ for everything that our wonderful volunteers do for us – we try to do something like this every year. They’re fantastic people to work with and they enhance residents’ lives in so many ways. The home wouldn’t be the same without them.
“On the day, some of the residents had made handmade truffles and cards which they presented to our volunteers with huge love. Then many more residents turned up to show their appreciation – and the party really got started, with ball games, stories and jokes.”