HC-One embraces Harvest Festival celebrations with fun activities across its care homesHC-One care homes across the country celebrated Harvest Festival, which is a religious event that marks the start of autumn, in style as they donned their creative hats and community spirit to give back to their local communities. Due to current visiting restrictions, HC-One adapted and hosted events to ensure that Residents and Colleagues could still enjoy the festivities safely. 

To mark Harvest Festival, HC-One care homes collected donations of non-perishable tinned food and goods (following sanitisation) to share with people who do not have enough access to basic provisions; participated in arts and crafts sessions to create Harvest Festival decorations and displays including scarecrows and autumnal wreaths; attended virtual church services; played Harvest Festival music, danced and sang Hymns and songs; played games, quizzes and read poems about the Harvest Festival; reminisced about past Harvest Festivals, reflected on being thankful and enjoyed a selection of home-made delicious food. 

Ailsa Craig Care Home in Glasgow created a Harvest Festival display with help from Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Donna, and Residents, Irys and Florence. This included stuffing scarecrows which formed the centrepiece of the homes Harvest Festival display. Once the Harvest Festival display was finalised, Donna took Residents from all three units of the home on a stroll around the garden area to view the display, explained some history about the Harvest Festival and why it is celebrated. Residents loved the display that Donna, Irys and Florence had put together and were overjoyed at having their photos taken with the scarecrows and bunting displays. 

In Newcastle, Sutherland Court Colleagues and Residents decorated Harvest Festival crafts, sang Hymns and songs, participated in quizzes and poems; watched YouTube clips of Harvest Festival activities, as well as films. They also enjoyed a wonderful selection of food choices. As Harvest Festival is seen as a religious event that celebrates the winter harvest, Residents, Relatives and Colleagues took time to reflect and think of their local community. 

Colleagues at the home asked their fellow team members and Relatives for donations of non-perishable food to donate these items to their local food bank, Newcastle West End Foodbank so that Sutherland Court could give back to their local community, as a way of saying thank you from all of the Residents and Colleagues at the home for their community’s kind support and help during the difficult and challenging months of the pandemic. Sutherland Court Care Home donated eight large bags of food and the staff at the food bank were overwhelmed by the donation. 

Sutherland Court Care Home’s Wellbeing Co-Ordinator, Judith Snowdon said, “It was absolutely fantastic seeing Residents and Colleagues enjoying themselves, and giving back to our community at the same time.” 

Carole Rowland, Welfare Manager at Newcastle West End Foodbank commented, “We are so very grateful to Sutherland Care home in Fenham. Resident's families and staff collected a wonderful amount of food for us at their Harvest Festival. Judith Snowdon brought it all in this week. Thanks to everyone who contributed.”

Cedar House Care Home in Middlesex were thrilled to participate in a day of Harvest Festival themed activities. This year, Residents and Colleagues were entertained with Harvest Festival bingo, games and crafts, as well as fruit and vegetable tasting. A trolley of fruit and vegetables was taken around the home by Joan, a Resident who has a role of Activities Assistant at Cedar House, to ask Residents if they would like to try something.

Residents told Joan they liked experimenting and trying different types of food. Cedar House also received a number of food donations sent in from generous Relatives to be added to the home’s Harvest Festival donation box that were donated to their local food bank, The Denham Foodbank to help those in need. 

Patience Sibanda, Cedar House’s Home Manager remarked, “We are very grateful for all the kind food donations. These donations will be taken to a local food bank and given out to those in need at this difficult time.” 

Craig Alexander, a volunteer at The Denham Foodbank said, “At Denham Foodbank we are so grateful for the donations from Cedar House Care Home. It means that we can carry on supporting families in the local area that need some extra help. It’s thanks to the generosity of your wonderful Colleagues, Residents, Relatives and all of our helpers that gives us the drive to carry on. Thank you so much.” 

At The Beeches Care Home in Tameside, Residents and Colleagues celebrated the Harvest Festival by attending their regular church service virtually, held by St John’s Church, who would usually visit and attend the home in person for the Harvest Festival festivities. The service included three Hymns ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, ‘We Plough the Fields and Scatter’ and ‘How Great Thou Art’ which Residents and Colleagues proudly joined in with singing along to. Reverend Trevor Green from St John’s Church, preceded the Hymns with a speech and readings about harvest and thanksgiving. 

Following the virtual church service, Residents and Colleagues made a scarecrow to form part of their Harvest Festival display which Residents happily helping with as well as participating in quizzes and word games. Residents at The Beeches Care Home also spent time reminiscing about Harvest Festivals and attending Sunday school. Colleagues at The Beeches Care Home collected food donations to create a Harvest Festival hamper to donate to St John’s Church for their local food bank Tameside East Foodbank, as a way of saying thank you for all of their help and for the virtual church services they have provided to the home during the pandemic. 

Reverend Trevor Green from St John’s Church commented, “We are very grateful at St John’s for the partnership we have with The Beeches. For the last few years we have been going in monthly to put on a service but with the current crisis, we weren’t able to visit. We settled on the idea of producing a service which we recorded and played via a Bluetooth speaker. It included Hymns, prayers, a bible reading and a short thought for the day. We supplied the words of the Hymns, readings and prayers for Colleagues and Residents at the care home to read and sing along to. It was well received by the Residents who miss our usual visit and we understand it is much appreciated. This month the home has reciprocated by collecting a parcel of food for the Tameside East Foodbank, which is very gratefully received. The current demand is very high and every donation counts. Hats off to The Beeches and thank you for your thoughtfulness!”  

HC-One care homes have delighted in embracing Harvest Festival festivities and getting involved in various activities this year. This event has provided care homes with a time of reflection, to give thanks, to help support, build strong links, give back to those living in their local communities and contribute by making charitable donations to help those in need. 
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