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Team building day reflects fun ethos of Fernhill House
Putting the fun into retirement living is a key part of the ethos of Fernhill House, and with that in mind, its new 100 strong team were invited to take part in a range of zany activities as part of a team building day held in the run up to its opening this week.   

The event, organised by manager Peta Mandleberg and deputy manager Clair Gurteen, saw the entire staff being asked to do weird and wacky things to help them to get to know each other and really get under the skin of Fernhill House’s dynamic approach to retirement living. 

Among the activities was a competition to see which team could build the tallest giraffe out of spaghetti and marshmallows. Needless to say the spaghetti was uncooked – or the result would have been both very sticky and a little droopy!   The teams were predominantly made up of trained nurses and wellbeing ambassadors. The latter were selected for their passion and enthusiasm and will look after the residents’ day-to-day requirements.   

Peta explained: “Appointing people who will help our residents at all stages of their day – from their morning cup of tea and bathing to organising craft and fitness activities and joining the residents for a potter in the garden – provides reassuring continuity.”   

All members of the senior leadership team helped out on the day, including award winning chef Chris Williams, maintenance manager David Smith, dementia lead Jo Hopkins and administrators George Carr and Debs Jones.   

Peta Mandleberg, a registered nurse who has worked in the care sector for many years, is passionate about the ethos of the home and specifically recruited people who share that passion and enthusiasm.   “We will offer a different approach to life for over-65s and want to put the fun and fulfilment back into retirement living. That will be reflected in all we do,” she said.

Care Fees Presentation
Join us next Wednesday for a presentation on care fees and how to plan for them. You can also take a tour of the home while you're here. It's looking delicious.
Dementia specialist is poised to welcome residents to unique new community
The dementia lead at Fernhill House is looking forward to welcoming her first residents when the doors open later this month. 

Jo Hopkins, a dedicated care manager with more than 15 years’ experience, has plenty of ideas to ensure those living in the unique 36 bed dementia community enjoy themselves with a variety of day-to-day activities. 

Residents will choose for themselves what they want to do – rather than adhering to a timetable laid down by others. Staff will dress informally with a 50s and 60s theme. 

An indoor putting shed, shop and pub will provide places in which to socialise and continue hobbies, while residents can also enjoy safe access to a secure sensory garden.
The all inclusive price package means residents can enjoy wholesome nutritious meals created by award winning chef Chris Williams – and invite friends and family to dine with them as often as they like at no extra cost. The same goes for drinks in the bar, and tea and cakes in the bistro. The beauty therapists, chiropodist and hairdresser all have experience of working with people with dementia – making a trip to the salon a relaxing experience.

Jo, as well as making daily life fun and enjoyable, has a plethora of professional qualifications ensuring she understands the needs of residents with particular requirements and helping relatives feel comfortable knowing their loved ones are in safe and welcoming hands. 

As if that isn’t enough, three types of up-to-the-minute technology are in use across both the dementia and the over 65s community, which are aimed at ensuring residents’ wellbeing, keeping families informed and making the best use of staff time. 

Fernhill House is one of the first in the UK to install an acoustic monitoring system which keeps a virtual eye on residents while they are asleep and alerts staff to any unusual activity – such as falling out of bed or being distressed. 

It is one of only 270 homes in the country to have a Smartphone tool which replaces old fashioned notes, enabling all information to be shared to the central computer and making it instantly available for all members of the team. And an e-medication admin record – Wellpad - ensures residents have precisely the right dose of medication at the right time and removes any margin of error. 

Top raconteur, Reiki therapist and finance gurus top the Fernhill House speakers list 

Fernhill House has lined up a galaxy of events to entertain its new residents and the wider public – ready for its much anticipated opening later this month.

As well as daily pre-lunch sherry, afternoon film matinee events, beauty pampering sessions and regular shopping trips for residents, home manager Peta Mandleberg has lined up a series of interesting, informative and amusing guest speakers for the first few weeks. These are open to those living at Fernhill as well as other people in the area with no connection to the home other than an interest in its activities!

First up is a care planning event on April 26 from 6 til 8pm. The evening, with wealth management specialists St James’ Place, is open to anyone either looking ahead at their own retirement or with elderly parents, and examines the importance of strategic financial planning as one grows older.

By way of comparative light entertainment, Worcestershire meditation and holistic therapy specialist Sheree Hall will be talking about – and demonstrating – the benefits of Meditation and Reiki Healing on May 11 from 6 – 8pm.  A meditation teacher and Reiki Practitioner, Sheree runs Finding Sunshine Holistic Therapies in and around Worcester.  Sheree will be offering her services at Fernhill House on a regular basis and residents will be able to enjoy meditation groups and Reiki treatments free of charge.

And finally (for now) former aviation boss Dr David Bryon, who helped found low cost airline BMI Baby, will be delivering amusing anecdotes about life above the clouds on May 25, again from 6 til 8pm. A much in demand after dinner speaker for some of the world’s biggest corporate names – BP, Barclays, HSBC   - as well as unusual contenders such as the government of Kuwait, David also delivers business development and leadership training courses.

He makes regular guest appearances on various national programmes including Five Live, Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show, BBC News 24 and Sky News – so he’s quite a coup for Fernhill House!

Book your free places now for any or all three events. A glass of wine, a cocktail and a little snack will probably be included too – and it’s a chance to have a nose around and see just how different Fernhill House is from many other care homes in the area!

Award winning organic MasterChef contestant to run Fernhill House restaurant 
Fernhill House has appointed a chef with a passion for home grown organic produce and a national TV appearance under his belt to run its dining room and bistro. 

Chris Williams, who has worked with Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White,  is looking forward to cooking for and growing vegetables with residents at Fernhill House in Fernhill Heath. He appeared on MasterChef when he was working at an organic café he set up a few years ago at Stourbridge College, which provided work placements for young adults with autism and learning difficulties. 

He was, until recently, community chef at the award winning Big Lottery funded growing and cooking project, Kingstanding Food Community in Birmingham, is raring to get his teeth into the new project – and already has plans to build a pizza oven within Fernhill House’s two acre grounds. He will also grow his own veg – inviting residents to help if they wish – and will be asking local schools to get involved. Chris’ cooking prowess matches his community credentials. 

He has been head chef and executive chef at a number of prestigious hotels, winning AA rosettes and culinary accolades aplenty over the course of his 25 year career. Chris said: “My work in Kingstanding was incredibly satisfying. I worked with families and local organisations, teaching growing and cooking skills and we used our own, home grown seasonal produce as much as possible. I enjoyed making a difference to the community by being able to inspire, enable  and motivate local people to eat more healthily. 

“Food is such a vital part of wellbeing. I want the residents at Fernhill House to tell me the kind of meals they enjoy.  Families and friends are welcome to join whenever they wish – every day if they like – at no extra cost, so eating at Fernhill is a genuine community experience and I can’t wait to start cooking.”