Issue #6
November 2016


Welcome to the Autumn Edition

Hello everyone

I hope you are all well and like our latest newsletter letting you know of the great things we have been doing here at Abbeyfield Newcastle.

As always we have had a busy schedule. The Abbeyfield Annual Conference was held in Manchester in early October and the Agenda included a review of last year, discussions on the year ahead as well as keynote speeches on Dementia, Ageing better and the work of the Charity Commission. There was also a number of workshops, some designed directly for member societies like ours, with one specifically around a “Golden Moments “ theme, which is about local fundraising opportunities – more of that to follow. As always there was time to network and meet old friends and share experiences and thoughts. More importantly perhaps was the Royal Patron Awards ceremony on the evening when I am delighted to tell you that our own Kath Brown from the Grove received an award for her 30 years’ service, fantastic for our Kath to get the recognition she richly deserves. There was also a posthumous award to John Kilner which was received by his son Andrew. A rather special and emotional moment, and once again we are delighted that John received the National recognition for all of his hard work and commitment to Abbeyfield Newcastle.

We have a new Volunteer co-ordinator – Claire Murphy- Morgan - who has been engaging well with our staff, residents and volunteers as she makes plans for future activities and events. You will meet Claire later in the newsletter.

We have had our first Staff liaison meeting when I have had the chance to meet staff representatives from all areas of the business. This has been formed to provide better two-way communication, information and consultation and promote closer and more effective relationships. Our first meeting was very positive and I look forward to future meetings when we can really focus in on any issues that we may need to address to ensure that we are keeping our staff and residents as our number one priority.

I am still looking at future development opportunities and have been busy visiting a number of different care facilities to understand how they operate, so that we are in a better informed position to decide our future. I have also had a number meaningful discussions about possible funding for such projects and will be delivering several options to the Executive Committee for their consideration.

And finally and by no means least, By Special Appointment our own Winifred Spoor is meeting our patron His Royal Highness Prince Charles at a drinks reception on the 16th November. If you recall Winifred had some of her excellent artwork exhibited by Abbeyfield at a travelling exhibition recently and in recognition of that she and others will be meeting him for a special day – sounds like a good “selfie” opportunity!!

Christmas is around the corner – watch out for that special edition newsletter.

So, until next time

My very best wishes 



Abbeyfield Conference

Earlier this month our two care home managers, Kath Brown and Chris Major, attended the annual Abbeyfield Conference held in Manchester. The conference is an opportunity for staff and trustees throughout the Abbeyfield family to get together to share ideas and experiences through workshops and more informal discussions. Keynote speakers gave an insight into several areas of elderly care including Keith Oliver from the Alzheimer’s Society, who himself is living with dementia.

The event also holds an annual dinner during which several awards are handed out. The most prestigious being the Royal Patron’s Award which is endorsed by HRH The Prince of Wales. This year this award was presented to two people connected with Abbeyfield Newcastle. 

Kath Brown, manager of The Grove, was presented with the award by Abbeyfield’s President, Baroness Brenda Dean of Thornton-le Fylde, in recognition for her outstanding and valued commitment to the care of older people for over 30 years. 

There was also a posthumous award made to Mr Kilner, our former Chair of Trustees, for his tireless work and inspirational leadership.  John was a hard-working and committed trustee and volunteer for over 13 years who placed our residents firmly at the heart of every decision. Today the Newcastle upon Tyne Society continues to flourish and grow; a testament to John’s dedication and vision. The award was collected by his son, Andrew. John sadly passed away earlier this year. 

Mr Kilner and Mrs Brown were two of only seven people chosen from amongst 10,500 volunteers and staff throughout the UK to be recognised for this year’s Royal Patron’s Award.  



Harvest Coffee Morning

Castle Farm residents celebrated the arrival of autumn with a harvest themed coffee morning. The event was well attended and the assembled crowd reminisced about past harvest events whilst enjoying the refreshments on offer. The morning included a tombola stall and for those who wanted to get ahead with their Christmas shopping, or wanted a treat for themselves, there was the opportunity to purchase locally produced seasonal produce. 


Blue Reef visit

A few brave residents from The Grove recently visited the Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth and made a new friend! 

Volunteers at the heart of ABBEYFIELD NEWCASTLE

We have appointed a new Volunteer and Activities Coordinator

Claire Murphy-Morgan has just joined us in September.  She has a background in the arts, and when she is not with us she divides her time between her role as Managing Director for Monkfish Productions, an arts organisation based in Newcastle, and part-time study of post-graduate psychology at Northumbria University.

Claire has considerable experience of working with volunteers in the community, and is looking forward to being part of the Abbeyfield team.

Claire says: “I am very excited to be joining Abbeyfield Newcastle.  I am passionate about supporting older people to have fulfilling and enriching lives, and to combat loneliness and isolation.  Volunteers are absolutely key to achieving this, whether it’s helping to run activities in one of our homes, simply calling in to spend quality time with a resident, organising events or supporting our residents to get out and about.  It’s also reciprocal: volunteers get an enormous amount out of volunteering too.”

Over the next few months, Claire will be consulting with residents on what activities they have enjoyed, and what other activities they might be interested in.  She will also be working with staff and current volunteers, building on the previous good and attracting some new volunteers to Abbeyfield too. 

You can contact Claire at 



Lorraine Lawson - Payroll Officer

Lorraine has been our payroll officer for 26 years and has seen lots of changes during that time. When she started with Abbeyfield there was only one care home, The Grove, and nine sheltered houses throughout the Newcastle area. In 1993 our Castle Farm care home opened and our staff numbers increased substantially. Our sheltered houses were all run by volunteer committees and each house had their own treasurer who dealt with the finances; the only centralised part was the payroll which Lorraine did one day a week. ‘When I started the payroll was done manually and staff were paid by cheque, but now it’s all computerised with wages paid directly into staff’s bank accounts. There is also a lot more legislation we have to adhere to, for example, everyone has to be enrolled in a pension scheme’. The payroll has developed over the years and as well as ensuring the correct payment of wages the computerised system also helps us keep our personnel records up to date.

‘I run three payroll; weekly, four-weekly and monthly. Some weeks all three have to be prepared and as I only work two days a week it can be very busy.’ 

Lorraine and her husband have two grown up daughters; when not working Lorraine is an avid reader and likes to catch-up with family and friends. 


Abbeyfield Worship

At Castle Farm


Thursday 3rd November

Thursday 8th December

Thursday 19th January

Thursday 2nd March

All services take place from 3-4.30pm

Refreshments available.

A friendly multi-denominational service where everyone is welcome



Help us spread the word about Abbeyfield Newcastle!

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Our recently relaunched site has lots of information and articles that we think will be interesting to many people who are considering residential care or supported sheltered housing.

We would like to ask you, as a subscriber to our newsletter, to help inform those who face the difficult decision of finding the right care home by sharing articles on your social media accounts. Fortunately, it is really easy to share!

Below each article on our website there are a series of social media buttons. Simply click on one of the buttons to share that article with your friends and family on your Facebook page or followers on your Twitter feed. With the click of a button you can help someone make the right decision in the search for a place with exceptional levels of care for loved ones and a real sense of community.


Join us on Facebook

facebook iconJust a reminder to visit our Facebook page- Abbeyfield Newcastle. The page provides us with another great platform to keep in touch.  We would welcome your contributions to the page; so if you have photos and comments that you are happy to share please post them.

We obviously take safeguarding and privacy seriously and ensure that we have all the correct permissions in place before posting any images on to our page, but if you would like to discuss this further, please speak to us.

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