The idea to turn a summer house in the garden into a pub was put forward during residents meetings and then to families at a relatives focus group. Transforming the summer house was a real team effort with staff, their spouses and residents families all pitching in to help. Caroline McCallum, a Domestic Assistant at Willow House, offered to project manage spending a lot of her own time helping out.
The residents were consulted throughout the project, even with the colour scheme and décor.
When it came to naming the pub several names were shortlisted but the residents settled on “The Hip Joint” as a rather amusing but appropriate name given that its customers can discuss the problems we all have with our hips as we get older and “hip” as the word meant in the swinging sixties.
Gareth Watson, whose wife Caitlin is a Senior Care Assistant at Willow, constructed a bar and seating area from wood donated by a local contractor. Local pubs donated optics, ice buckets etc, relatives of residents donated alcohol – all in all a real community project evolved.
Willow House resident, Moira Lang, volunteered to officially open the pub and wrote her own speech which is now framed on the wall in the pub. The press became interested in the project and sent a photographer along to take photos with Willow House hitting the front page of The Courier newspaper.