Just before the new Care Home in Fairfield Gardens opened its doors to its first few residents, FM’s Penny Daffarn dropped in for a guided tour.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting the new Care Home, built on the Fairfield Gardens site. There were no residents in occupation when I was there, but the first occupants were expected very soon. The plan is not to fill up the home straight away, but to admit four to six residents a month, until all 75 rooms are occupied in about two years’ time.
As I walked through the automatic doors into the splendid reception area, I was blown away by the décor and ambiance. I felt as if I had walked into a posh hotel or indeed a new-build show home.
While I waited to meet the manager of the Home, I studied the panel by the lift giving floor information: as well as the 75 en-suite bedrooms, I counted four lounges, a lounge diner, two restaurants and a café, two spa bathrooms, a hair, nail and beauty salon, a library, fitness studio, cinema, children’s entertainment room, an activity room and guest bedroom! I was later shown around and these rooms were all as impressive as they sound. There is also an outdoor area on the ground floor and an upper terrace.
Cheryl Forshaw, the manager, took me into one of the (several) beautifully decorated and furnished lounges and we talked about her background which, after her degree, has been almost totally in care, managing care homes for the past 19 years.
She explained that the company that runs this Home and others is a not-for-profit organisation, with profits going into social projects.
Yvonne Rolfe, the customer relations manager, joined us and explained how she hopes that Baycroft will reach out into the local area and become a real part of the community. They have already taken huge strides, making contact with the cubs and scouts, the Friends of Fairfield, the Bowls Club, the WI and Stotfold Football Club, just to name a few. Particular links have been made with Fairfield Park Lower School: Home residents have been invited to the school Christmas play, and there are plans for the school to go in carol singing.
Baycroft has a minibus and a chauffeured car, so that residents can get out and about, and there are plans for them to join in with some of the activities that go on in Fairfield.
But it isn’t just a one-way street, as Baycroft wants to open its doors to Fairfield residents as well and invite interested people to activities and events that will be organised in the Home. Some of the things we spoke about were barbecues, cinema showings, book talks and coffee mornings.
I was really impressed with the atmosphere and the setting of the Home; it is certainly very luxurious and well appointed. Without residents it is peaceful and quiet, so hard to judge long-term, but the enthusiasm and sincerity of the staff and their keenness to be open and friendly to the local community bodes very well for this new undertaking in Fairfield.