The charity was set up on the Island in late 2019 and seeks to improve the lives of care home residents. Volunteers are recruited and trained to offer friendship and support to elderly residents who have been widowed and have no family or friends left. This support can include befriending, reading aloud to the visually impaired, going for a walk or just playing a board game.
However, Rebecca Savage, Co-ordinator Isle of Wight Care Home Friends, said: “Our core function as a project has been unable to move forward in the current situation, so we have been looking at other ways we can connect with residents this year.
“We have started four new projects, the first being the ‘Care Home Friends’ Cards of Kindness scheme. We have engaged some local Island artists and photographers and we are asking the Island community, from adults to children, to make cards and send them to residents identified by our volunteers.
“Next is ‘Project Aquarium’ where we are creating knitted/crocheted aquariums for care homes and we’re looking for people across the Island to get creative with us. We will gather them together to create some wonderful aquariums for residents who would benefit from a sensory experience. Patterns can be found on our website for all things under the sea.
“Our third project is ‘Care Home Connections through Alexa’ where we aim to connect residents with their loved ones, whenever they want. Using the Alexa technology, relatives and friends can ‘drop in’ on residents virtually and create treasured moments.
“Finally, there is ‘The Flower Bouquet Blessing’. Last year, we were supported by Ryde Tesco and donations of flowers from the community. A small group of volunteers then made bouquets and flower arrangements. Each week we gave to a different care home. To date we have given approximately 260 bouquets away and we will be continuing to run this project in 2021.”
Anyone who would like to support the charity with any of these projects, or knows someone who would benefit, can email: rebecca @embracingage.org.uk or go through the Isle of Wight Care Home Friends Facebook page.