What a challenging time we have been through. My teams across Whitgift Care have worked tirelessly over the last 14 months or so and I would like to start by saying how very grateful we all are for the kind and encouraging letters of support we have received during this period. I am sure when we look back on these times and reflect, we will recognise things we might have done differently. However, I would like to reassure you that my team has been working with the best of intentions to keep you safe and well. We have all been affected by the isolation of having to stay at home and not mixing as we would normally. Many activities and normal routines have changed but I am delighted that “lockdown” is now being eased and more usual activities can be resumed - albeit still following the guidance “Hands, Face, Space”. Home Managers have been keeping everyone informed as to when we can open more areas and, for home residents, on the visiting policies which are continually being updated in line with government guidance.
The vaccination programme has been going well; all care home residents have now received both doses of the vaccine and the uptake with staff has been very high compared to other providers which is really great news.
We feel that this year, gardening will play a key role in promoting residents’ mental health and reducing social isolation. We are delighted to be working with Whitgift School to create a community garden at Whitgift House and we will also be piloting the Royal Horticultural Society’s Grow Social programme across all our care settings. This is part of the John Whitgift Foundation’s Grow with John initiative to celebrate its 425th anniversary. Another activity in the pipeline is a chess club with students from Foundation schools. We are also setting up a Residents Information Group with the first meeting set to take place in June to provide a forum for feedback to improve our community.
With very best wishes
Director of Care