Story by Adrian Lake | Photo by Kelly Munroe
Abbeyfield Grange Residential Home celebrated their thirtieth birthday in August, with Heeley City Farms Farming Comes To You there to help.
Some residents were a little scared of handling the animals initially, but soon overcame their fears – “I didn’t want to let that rabbit go” one told us. It was a great day for the young team who brought the animals too, with Declan, 13, saying:
“I do it to see the looks on their faces when they get the enjoyment they get out of it. It also makes me realise that I can get up in a morning, brush my own teeth. Especially at the homes where they get full time care, someone to shower and feed them, it’s just a big eye opener.”
Rachel Coates, who became owner-manager two years ago, told us “the staff encourage people to cook and do other tasks to maintain their independence.” Staff have started to introduce more activities for the residents to get involved in, including massage and chair aerobics. It’s quite relaxed at nights. At weekends they run movie nights and bingo nights. “Every Friday night is a theme night or a take away night” Kelly the trainee senior support worker and activities coordinator said.
With enough space for twenty-six residents, Abbeyfield’s emphasis is on helping individuals to feel like part of the community, not just giving them a place to live. They operate a ‘recovery model’ which consists of assisting men who live in supported accommodation before progressing into more independent living. Abbeyfield Grange itself also offers a more independent living space where staff do regular checks.
They also run a befriending service and they go to the residents homes and ask them what they want to do. If they wish, they can go out for coffee or tea, or be helped to access public transport and attend medical appointments and the like.