Hopes of making a Dorset town more dementia-friendly received a boost


Hopes of making a Dorset town more dementia-friendly have received a boost thanks to the success of a care home’s community day.


Ferndown Mayor Cathy Lugg and Town Crier Mike Andrews with them are Fernhill Activities Organiser Ann-Marie Knight, left, and Home Manager Gina Smith.

Around 140 people visited Colten Care’s Fernhill home for the inaugural Ferndown & Longham Family Festival.


It was organised as a fun, free-to-enter event for all ages with proceeds going to the Ferndown Dementia Action Alliance and other local charities. Altogether, £1,400 was raised.


The Mayor of Ferndown, Councillor Cathy Lugg, brought her own family along while Ferndown Town Crier Mike Andrews welcomed visitors in customary fine voice.


Families with young children, including several from Longham Pre-School, enjoyed a ‘cuddle corner’, petting rabbits, guinea pigs and baby goats specially brought along by nearby High Mead Farm.


There was live music from the Skittle Alley Strummers and Salvation Army Brass Band while a range of stalls offered plants, wood carvings, bags, jewellery and other goodies.


Further attractions included face painting, barbecue, stocks, raffle, tombola, lucky dip and Punch & Judy.


Home Manager Gina Smith said: “This was a lovely family event and a great example of a team working together to stage something of direct benefit to our local community. It was really nice to welcome many people who have never been to see us before.”

One Fernhill resident’s son said the event was a great chance to learn about other families and friends of the home, adding: “It was a clear demonstration of the imagination and energy across all Colten staff – most reassuring and great fun.”


Another relative said: “As always, there is such a huge family feel at Fernhill with staff making everyone feel welcome and for me, like many family members, this is incredibly important.  Well done to everyone at Fernhill for making this event such a success and I will look forward to the next one.”


Councillor Lugg said: “It was a pleasure to see so many people having a good time. There was a good range of stalls, live music and lovely food.  It was especially nice to wish two of Fernhill’s residents a happy birthday. I hope it will become an annual event.”


Residents at Fernhill live in small, friendly house groups tailored to their stage of dementia. The home has been rated Good by care sector regulator the CQC and currently has a high score of 9.7 out of ten on the independent review site Carehome.co.uk.


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