Ahead of Dementia Action Week (21-27 May) led by the Alzheimer’s Society, we decided to launch a new initiative, which aims to encourage new friendships and tackle isolation through a regular programme of events and social activities.
With support from local company Legrand Assisted Living & Healthcare, based in Blyth, we launched ‘Hay Days’ on VE Day with a tea dance and welcomed over 80 service users and their carers from a number of care homes and community groups in Northumberland and Tyneside.
Our events coordinator Dawn had this to say about our new initiative- “The aim of Hay Days is to bring isolated community groups together to take part in weekly and monthly activities which encourage new friendships and tackle isolation through fun, social events hosted on the Farm. Even though some people experience physical or mental infirmities, age should not be a barrier to meeting people and enjoying new experiences."
After our pilot session in February with the aid of the charity Mind Active Northumberland we were spurred us on to launch Hay Days- which will enable us to engage with older people in the local community.
Attendees at the VE Day- themed launch danced and sang along with talented vintage singing sensation Kayley Cares from Sunderland. They were then treated to a tasty lunch by our catering team which was followed by a tour of the Farm.
Residents came from Scarbrough Court Care Home in Cramlington, Mind Active Northumberland, Frank Bushell House in South Shields and The Caddy Shacks, a group covering Northumberland and Tyneside which brings adults with learning disabilities and physical disabilities together for trips and activities to help them make new friends and integrate with the local community.
June Shone, coordinator for The Caddy Shacks, said: “We had a great day at Whitehouse Farm. Hay Days is a fantastic idea, everyone in our group said what a fantastic day out and how brilliant the organisation was. It was great to see so many people from different groups get up and dance and mix with one another. I’d like to thank the team at Whitehouse Farm, who were lovely, so friendly and helpful and wish them every success with Hay Days.”
In order to minimise the cost of running Hays Days events and activities to ensure they are affordable for people, we are receiving support from Legrand Assisted Living & Healthcare. The company designs, manufactures and supplies innovative technology solutions for the supported housing, health and social care sectors through their Tynetec, Jontek and Aid Call brands.
Managing director for Legrand Assisted Living & Healthcare, Chris Dodd, explains: “We are delighted to be involved in this fantastic initiative. Hay Days aims to tackle many of the key issues that are prevalent within our market, given that our products and services are designed to empower individuals to be safe, happy and independent in their own environments.
“Without a safe and friendly environment, many of the most vulnerable members within our community experience loneliness and isolation. As we are a Northumberland-based company that has been designing and manufacturing products in Blyth for over 40 years, we are fully invested in tackling the lack of activities available to combat loneliness in our local area, which is why we are working in partnership with Whitehouse Farm to support an event that is providing a much-needed social environment for elderly people to enjoy.”
We are keen to hear from local companies who may wish to support future events and local organisations and community groups who would like to take part in Hay Days- so don't hesitate to get in touch!
Our next Hay Days event is ‘Rookie Golf’ with Rookie Sports on 6 June.