July was an exciting month in the Home, when we welcomed new friends, went new places and tried new things.  There was simply too much happening to be able to include it all so we've brought you some of the highlights:

The Theatre visited us for an outdoor performance on the most glorious of summer days in the Walled Garden. We were lucky to be one of the successful Care Homes in the area who were chosen to be part of the Scottish leg of the 'In The Light Of Day' tour directed by Magdelana Schamberger.  You can read more about this amazing production and more of the photos taken by professional photographer, Brian Hartley, within the dedicated news story available here:  The Day the Theatre came to visit... | William Simpsons.  Suffice to say this non-verbal performance was captivating, funny, touching and meaningful. What a special day!

We were out on the trishaws again with the intrepid volunteer 'pilots' from Cycling Without Age, this time they took us on a trip along the Forth and Clyde Canal to reach the famous Falkirk Wheel! There was plenty of beautiful scenery and some watery wildlife to see as we rode along this historic canal, riding the path which was once trodden by the great heavy horses of the past.  Travelling by bike is a lovely, social thing to do and we spoke to passers by, petted friendly dogs that were intrigued by our transport and waved as we cycled by.  We stopped for ice-cream and a breather to admire the Falkirk Wheel before heading back to our starting point in the historic Dollar Park.

The residents who ride the trishaws really love the sense of freedom they get from the trip, for some residents it is the scenery which captivates them, others it's the chatting with the pilots and people they meet during their adventure, one or two have mentioned the sense of speed and the feel of having the wind in their hair! Though we don't get much faster than a steady jogging pace, it's such a smooth ride that it can feel much faster.  The staff who have accompanied residents on trishaw journeys  mention the lovely countryside scents they can smell,  like fresh mown grass and that gorgeous smell you get on a hot day after a summer shower and all the birdsong and natural sounds they can hear like the wind in the trees.  A trishaw trip is so much more than just getting from viewpoint to viewpoint, it's a complete immersion of the senses and it's a whole lot of fun!

This month we welcomed professional multi-media artist, Sam Bell, to the Home. Sam will be encouraging and inspiring residents to unlock their creativity and to express themselves through the medium of art within fortnightly, drop in  'Art Cafe' sessions. Through Sam's carefully curated lesson plan, residents will grow in confidence and ability as she guides and encourages each individual to challenge their expectations and push their personal boundaries. Art is so much more than just painting a picture and although residents will be using every kind of paint, brush, tool and artist's technique during these classes, there will be clay, collage, environmental art, print making, indoor art, outdoor art,  recycling art, interpretative art, 3D modelling, sculpture and so much more! 

The real magic of 'art' is the creative thinking it sparks, all the problem solving, concentration and attention to detail it demands.  Art encourages physical dexterity and mental stamina, it promotes self expression and provides a safe release for pent up feelings and difficult emotions.  It's the binding element which gets conversations flowing and friendships growing when we come together in a shared 'Art Cafe' experience.

We went fishing at Wellsfield Trout Fishery where resident fishermen reconnected with their lifelong love of the sport.  With packed lunches and flasks all prepared, the friends set off early to get the best of the day. Once the camp was established and their rods were in the water, residents had plenty of time to share their fishing stories and tell their tales of 'the one that got away!'. It was a lovely relaxing way to spend the day, surrounded by nature without the busy interruptions of the everyday.  For residents it was a link to their past, a time for reflection and a change to let their instincts take over as they cast their lines and readied their landing nets in the same way they've been doing for years.

What makes this outing really special is that Wellsfield Trout Fishery donated the entire day, from pond permit though to rod hire and bait completely for free! That would have been incredible in itself but they have gone further and have gifted an all-inclusive fishing day for residents to enjoy on a monthly basis!  Huge thanks to Tony and his amazing team at Wellsfield Farm for their generous support.

'Donations in kind' are a great way for organisations and individuals to show support whilst providing residents with enriching opportunities and encouraging connections with new communities we may not have previously explored. We'd love to hear any ideas you might have, please contact us on [email protected].

The month ended on a real high as we hosted the fantastic Freddie Mercury Tribute Act, Neil Angus who wowed residents and rocked the Home with a concert the likes of which we've never seen before!  It felt like the whole Home was singing along as Freddie's backing band and the man himself took time to duet with residents and gave the mic over for some superb solos.  Each and every resident who was there, whether it was in the room or listening on the balcony outside, was placed firmly in the spotlight and was made to feel absolutely amazing! Freddie was the resident's choice of entertainer and they certainly picked the perfect performer!

Entertainment like this takes the Home to a whole new level but it would not have been possible without the generosity of those who sponsored and supported the 12-hour-cycle-a-socialcare-shift fundraiser back in March. A huge 'Thank You' to everyone who took part and to everyone who donated so generously, your pennies and pounds have been spent well and and you can share in the satisfaction of seeing some of the smiles you've helped to raise through this extraordinary concert!