Sunday, 21 April 2024
Sunday, 21 April 2024

HM Lord-Lieutenant Opens Transformed Lounges at Hft’s Shefford Care Home

TWO refurbished lounges at a supported living service in Hitchin Road, Shefford, which have helped to change the culture and social inclusion of the learning disabled adults who live there, have been officially opened by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Susan Lousada.

Claire Davies-Sond, the registered manager of the care home, which is run by the learning disability charity Hft, explains:

“The surroundings just didn’t provide the people we support to enjoy their best lives.”

She says the bedrooms were initially a priority for redecoration but Claire and her staff knew the lounges had to be included in the project, as they were looking dark and gloomy and the sofas had passed their best.

She added:

“We are very lucky to have the support of the Mayor of Shefford, Ken Pollard, and on a recent Race Night, he raised £250 for us to put towards a new sofa for the overall project. It’s amazing what you can do with that sort of money if you shop wisely on online second-hand sites.”

Shortly after this generous donation from the Mayor, the service was also given a grant from Hft of a further £800 to finish the project.

The residents arranged a meeting where everyone discussed colour palettes and other decorating ideas such as which photos and prints to hang. They ultimately chose a combination of mustard and teal for one lounge and bright pink for the second.

In addition, the rooms have been decorated with objects that have meaning to the adults who live there. For example, Claire found a world globe on Facebook Marketplace, which was appropriate seeing as the residents had learnt about the cultures of different countries last year and the new globe enabled them to identify the countries they had been discussing.

Claire explained:

“Each lounge now has a different vibe so the people we support have a choice as to where they socialise in the evenings.

“The new look has had a much more positive effect than I ever imagined. Once we had finished, the faces of the people we support stopped us in our tracks – they had the biggest smiles on their faces and we would have loved to have captured the feelings they expressed when they sat on their new chairs for the first time. We saw their joy, and that they felt so cared for.

“This transformation is all down to the hard work of our staff who got their hands – and everything else – dirty painting and decorating. It has also made a big impact with new families visiting to view our facilities and on new staff who join us because we are so proud to show the facilities off to everyone.

“I have the best job in the world! You can see from the photos how happy everyone is and the lasting memories the changes will create.”

Ms Lousada said:

“What a wonderful way to spend a Friday afternoon. The service is a special place because of the lovely people who make it their home – it was a very special visit for me and I look forward to returning.”

After the formalities were over, everyone attended an after-party until well into the evening at Shefford’s best pub – the service’s very own Buzz Inn.

Claire concluded:

“I truly believe the people we support do live their best lives possible.”

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