When I sat down to write this, it was with gloomy despondency as the country has just entered another national COVID lockdown. But then I looked back at The Lawns Facebook posts over Christmas and felt uplifted. We may be unable to meet our loved ones, but the sense of community is stronger than ever. We have been so thankful for so much support from residents families and our local community. Here are our highlights from Christmas to brighten up your day.
Carols in the Community
We are incredibly thankful to Reverend Mark Badger and his team for organising such a safe community carol event in the huge park area to the front of The Lawns. Over 250 people gathered, in their bubbles, all socially distanced, for this incredible COVID safe event. After the year we have all had, an opportunity to come together (at a distance) to sing was amazing and so emotional for everyone.
It was one of the Christmas highlights for our residents They were able to share in the occasion, safely distanced and wrapped up warm outside in our garden area and could also listen and sing along inside. We are thankful for our glass atrium reception, which has fabulous acoustics and visibility. It was a truly magical village occasion.
The community elves
Father Christmas has elves all over our village! Two with fantastic carpentry skills cut wood blocks for residents and came up with brilliant crafting ideas. We copied their templates and were delighted with our handiwork. From scented fruit and cinnamon decorations, to wood block reindeer and snowmen, to our very own Nutcrackers. Homespun crafting – that wonderful sense of achievement to make something from scratch. And gifting – to have a gift made with love for family when there are no opportunities to get to the shops.
Then there’s the knitting elves. They rallied to our requests for knitted decorations to go into residents Christmas stockings. From gingerbread men, to Christmas trees, to snowmen and elves. The St Mary’s Needles Group made 45 knitted angels!
And the paper craft elves of Kempsey Craft Group making hand made Christmas cards for all our residents.
So many other fabulous donations from a games station, to a WiiFit, to toiletries, scarves, painting books and stocking fillers. Plus, individual wrapped gifts for each resident from Councillor David Harrison and his wife. We have been overwhelmed by your generosity. Thank you all.
Christmas trees galore
Nothing like a bit of a Christmas tree competition with our residents – we did have a lot of trees to decorate – including the BIG one in our atrium over 20 feet!
The most special tree through was the one we decorated for Worcester Cathedral. Residents made the baubles and chose the words for messages hung on the tree. A time to reflect on the year and be hopeful for the new year. A lovely way for those residents who wished, to spiritually connect with the Church, which some have missed through lockdown.
Connecting to our community on technology
We are so thankful for our two iPad tables which have enabled residents to see and interact with their loved ones on the big screens. Lots of our families took part in our We All Sing Together carolling project. They filmed themselves singing and we were astounded by the efforts everyone went to: From festive hats and jumpers to props – all added to the hilarity and residents loved seeing you.
We also were able to watch the Kempsey Primary School Carol Service virtually. Nothing better than hearing children singing and you never forget the traditional songs from the nativity. Seeing residents singing along to Little Donkey and Away in a Manger brought a tear to many eyes.
Four legged friends
Is that Rudolph?? Not quite, but a visiting puppy brought so much joy. One of our residents Norma has had pets all her life including a corgi and a collie. A moment to snuggle a little pup was super special.
We also now have another resident four legged friend, Henry the Hedgehog. One of our talented RGN’s Ruth is a keen gardener and on her day off is often back at The Lawns helping residents in the garden. After our garden revamp this year, to include a wild corner and hedgehog hotel, imagine everyone’s delight when Ruth discovered Henry! He was curled up hibernating, but not in a very sensible spot. So she scooped him up, leaves and all and he is now settled into our Hedgehog Hotel until spring.
In home entertainment throughout Christmas time
A special heartfelt thank you for Team Lawns for pulling out all the stops, as always, to make Christmas magical for our residents. Everyone was so conscious that without visits from family and friends there would be a feeling of sadness, but we have kept the mood jolly.
Nothing like a staff panto!! A Christmas classic – Booing the villain! A female Prince Charming and male Fairy Godmother! The Queen of Hearts wicked stepmother and a Panto Dame. A fabulous rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas – now a Lawns tradition. Lots of “He’s behind You’s” crazy capers and laughter all round.
We have been carolling, baking, pampering, painting, potting bulbs, icing cakes, puzzling, quizzing and reminiscing. Not to mention Skyping, Zooming, Face-timing, emailing.
And of course eating, drinking (frequently restocking the residents’ bar!) and merry making. As one of our residents succinctly put it “Christmas cards are always telling us to stay merry!!”
And now looking ahead to 2021 with hope
The COVID vaccination role out for out staffing team began before Christmas. Resident vaccinations are expected in a matter of days. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Best wishes for a happy healthy 2021 from all of us at The Lawns.