Caring through Covid-19 in Cambridgeshire

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The Coronavirus Pandemic has seen a huge shift in daily life across the world; with schools closing and the community being advised to stay at home as much as possible, and with care homes across the UK going into ‘lockdown’ to protect those most vulnerable to the virus.

A key part of the community surrounding Histon in Cambridgeshire, Etheldred House Care Home were sad to close their doors in March. Despite their home being closed to visitors, the team have not forgotten their surrounding community. While going above and beyond caring for the people living at the home, they have also been reaching out to the community, where many vulnerable people live alone and are in need of help, and where many jobs have been affected, forcing families to live more carefully.

General Manager, Santall Horn, explains “The virus should not affect our responsibility as a part of this community, with so many shops and services closed, it is our pleasure to do all we can to support not only those who we care for here, but our neighbours, too.”

During the trips to the shops that many of the care team take for the residents of Etheldred House, they have also been picking up essential items for vulnerable people living nearby and supporting them by dropping items off, non-contact, on their doorsteps. With the care home’s kitchen cooking freshly cooked meals each day, they have also been supplying meals to be delivered locally as well as delivering to those nearby who may not be able to cook for themselves. Team members have also been collecting food and essential items to donate to the local food banks, knowing that their helping hands can reach even further afield!

As Easter approached, the thoughtful team put a plan together to share some Easter joy, and delivered Easter eggs to all the local schools, nurseries, GP surgeries and their local Post Office.

“It’s the little things that count!”

Santall Horn – General Manager “We heard of a local family who could do with a bit of a boost during the pandemic” Santall said, “we felt that we could help to make them all smile, so we went out and bought some toys and sweets for the children, and a little something for their mum, too. Just imagining their faces as they open the gifts makes us happy – it’s the little things that count!”

Another group who have been in receipt of the home’s generosity is a group of local seamstresses, who have banded together, busy sewing items such as scrubs, masks, clothes bags and jewellery bags, as part of the ‘Scrubs for Cambridgeshire’ scheme for local services who are in urgent need of PPE. Etheldred House have continuously encouraged donations of linens and cottons which are needed to make these items, from their colleagues, and the families and friends of the people they care for.

Each year, Etheldred House celebrates VE Day, although this year, with the 75th anniversary taking place on Friday 8th May, the celebrations were a little different! “We didn’t want anyone to miss out, so we put a very careful plan together, being sure that everyone was as safe as possible,” explained Santall. “We were treated to such lovely weather as we held the main event in our front car park. From the road, we offered cakes and drinks to people from the community who passed by, while enjoying music in the open air from a regular entertainer, The Banjo Man.”

The care home also arranged for a local Elvis tribute act to sing in their back garden, whilst a resident watched from the home during their birthday celebrations.

Regional Director of Excelcare’s Cambridge Region, Louise Jones, shared how incredibly proud she is of the community spirit seen at all the homes, including Etheldred House, “Everyone has been absolutely astounding during such a difficult time,” she said, “despite all that is going on, the amazing team at Etheldred House are still thinking of others, while still doing such an excellent job looking after those they support within the home. Each Thursday evening, as we step outside to clap for carers and the NHS, teams such as the Etheldred Team should be safe in the knowledge that so many of their community will be outside, clapping for the wonderful people who work at care homes such as Etheldred House!”

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