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Danshell Attends Learning Disability Today 2016

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Danshell staff and service users attended Learning Disability Today 2016 at the end of last month, aiming to promote our services and meet likeminded people within the industry. It was also a great opportunity for service users to do something different, visit a new place and take part in some fun activities.

Learning Disability Today is the country’s largest inclusive event for people with learning disabilities and hosted a range of activities, talks and seminars. The programme of the day focused on topics that are important to people with learning disabilities, their carers and the professionals who support them. Everyone from across the learning disability community was represented – commissioners, policy makers, charities, providers, family carers, support workers, and most importantly, people with learning disabilities. Attendees could also peruse the many stands with providers and charities that support people with learning disabilities to live full lives as independently as possible.

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The hall was full of people all day and we were very grateful of the help provided by service users and staff at some of our South East services, who came and assisted on the Danshell stand. The ladies and gentlemen really enjoyed the day, particularly when they were talking to people as they stood at the stand. A gentlemen from one of our services in Essex attended some of the talks and found them interesting. As an avid artist, he also took a particular liking to the free pens that were being handed out!

Another young man had fun chatting to everyone and particularly liked the chocolates being handed out at most of the stands. He also took part in an activity at a stand where they were lobbying the government to make changes. Helped by Suzy Wood, Occupational Therapist in the South East, he wrote a card with suggestions, and hung it on a tree set up to collect the ideas.

Suzy said of the day, “I really enjoyed the day, especially spending time with the service users, having our photos taken and meeting other providers.”

Thank you to our service users and staff that came and helped out on the stand. We’re glad you had a good time!

Update from Bostall House

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Bostall House has been busy over the last few months! In October they celebrated Denis’ birthday with a party, which his family all came to. Staff decorated the dining room with birthday banners and bunting. The chef cooked a delicious spread and Denis had a black forest gateaux for his birthday cake. Denis was overwhelmed with the celebrations and thanked everyone. Robert also gave a wonderful speech, which he had been practicing throughout the morning. Everyone agreed it was a great celebration, and they all enjoyed tucking into the party food and helping Denis have a very happy birthday!

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After Denis’ party, Bostall House continued to celebrate with a Halloween Party. The activities room was decorated in spider webs, bunting and scary signs. Everyone joined in with a treasure hunt throughout the house and garden. The best costume prize was presented to Robert, who came dressed as a spooky skeleton in a suit. Well done Robert!

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Joseph has been practicing for the ‘Bake Off’ competition. He made some tasty fairy cakes, which he decorated by piping on chocolate butter icing. Joseph was very careful and meticulous, and has said he enjoyed the baking.

Recently Bostall House has been taking part in the Christmas card competition, having fun with the stickers, stencils and other stationery on offer in the activity room. Everyone had good ideas and were eager to show their enthusiasm. They are looking forward to finding out who the winner will be!

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There have been lots of other activities at Bostall House over the last month, including; service users coming up with lots of new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals; everyone helping to replant the front garden with winter flowers to add colour during the colder months; Ryan and Rayne have completed their Tree of Life projects, creating beautiful artworks to tell people who they are and what is important to them.

Click here to see more about Bostall House

Fantastic Family Evening at Toller Road

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On the 19th October, Old Earl Redston Hall opened its doors for the first time for service to a selected guest list.

The team at Toller Road were looking for ways to engage further with family members. During his appraisal, Guy Churchill, Chef at Toller Road, came up with the idea of transforming the dining room in the service into a fabulous restaurant.

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So the whole team set about making this happen, devising a menu, inviting family members, transforming the dining area with flowers, candles, low lighting and soft music, and they even gave the restaurant its own name, Old Earl Redston Hall, which is an anagram of Danshell Toller Road!

Families were invited to join the staff and service users for a welcome drink at 6pm with dinner being served at 6.30pm.  There was a delicious three course meal plus cheese and biscuits served.  Guy and Kitchen Assistant Zoe worked extremely hard to deliver this fine cuisine.

The evening went without a hitch and all the guests went away extremely happy, with some of the family members being given the flower table arrangements to take home with them.

Positive comments have been received from a number of people including Marie Greenberry, our Director of Nursing and Governance who was able to attend the evening.

She commented,

“It was a great evening for all who attended; Cate and her team really did a fantastic job. They are a credit to Danshell.”

Mr and Mrs Reid, whose son lives at Toller Road, sent a message to Cate, the Manager, saying,

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“Just the most amazing evening. Congratulations to all the staff and residents for making it a magical evening.  The food that Guy produced was fab, in particular he was able to get around my dietary restrictions and come up with a really tasty meal.

As the Manager at Toller Road, you are clearly making a difference to the shared experiences of residents and their families.  Your ability to come up with and take on board other people’s ideas has certainly outshone our memories of previous managers’ performances.

P.S  Bring on the 2017 Sunday carvery . . . !!!”

Well done to Cate, Guy and the whole team at Toller Road.

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Spooky Halloween Fun Across the Country

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Services across the country have had a fun Halloween, holding parties with spooky crafts and tasty cakes!

Our North East services held a Halloween party at ASE club in Darlington. Everyone got involved and into the spooky spirit, dressing up and bringing party food. They held a 'best dressed' competition, which was won by Catherine (left), a lady from one of our North East services, who had a brilliant pirate costume.

Johnathan Whitwell, Danshell's Sports Coordinator in the North East, said, "Everyone looked great! It was difficult to pick the winner but Catherine made a fantastic pirate and a brilliant effort. Everyone appeared to enjoy the afternoon, with the disco and food."

NE Halloween 2016


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Hollyhurst also held their own Halloween party, with fun activities including carving pumpkins. Staff had arranged for Zoo Lab to come and bring their creepy crawlies, which really fitted in with the theme of the day. Lee, Hollyhurst DJ, put a spectacular disco on in the evening for Halloween. It was extra special as it was his 45th birthday too. Happy Birthday Lee, looks like you had everyone partying!

Hollyhurst Halloween 2016



Willow House held their own party, with amazing costumes and fab face paint! Everyone joined in the fun decorating the house and having fun with party games.


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The ladies at Ducks Halt have also been having fun this Halloween with Chantel, the Activity Coordinator! They have been shopping for decorations, and got creative decorating all of Ducks Halt. There have been specific Halloween arts and crafts sessions, where they have created some beautiful pictures to put on the walls. You can see their Halloween themed paintings below. They have also been baking some delicious spooky cakes whilst listening to Halloween music.

The ladies went and picked their own pumpkins and carved them together on Halloween evening. They then had a face-painting session and got all dressed up before heading out to a party at the Rock it Club, dancing all night and enjoying a spooky-themed buffet.

Service users at Whorlton Hall also got into the swing of things with a Halloween themed buffet and music at their party on Monday. Christopher said, “It was great, love parties.” Danielle loved the party and is looking forward to another one at Christmas, saying “This time all the staff can get dressed up as well!” When Claire was asked if she enjoyed the party, the answer was a resounding “Yeeeeaaahhh!”

Whorlton Hall Halloween 2016 Collage

Thank you to everyone who sent through these fab pictures – we’ve loved seeing them and hope you do too!

Hope House turns pink to support cancer charity

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Service users and staff at Hope House and Hope Lodge in Hartlepool raised more than £150 for Breast Cancer Now at a special Pink-themed party.

Featuring painted pottery, delicious cakes and a fundraising raffle and tombola and attended by the Mayor of Hartlepool, Cllr Rob Cook, the day was organised by service users to raise awareness of breast cancer ahead of Wear it Pink Day.

Diane Chisholm, Hope House Manager, said: “It was a lovely day for everyone who attended and our service users did a fantastic job, supported by our staff, in arranging everything.

“Sadly cancer touches the lives of many people so I am delighted that we have been able to make this donation to help the vital work of the charity.”

Cllr Cook said: “I would like to thank everyone at Hope House for the kind invitation and to be given the opportunity to support their excellent fundraising efforts.

“The party was great fun and I would like to congratulate all involved in raising this much-needed sum of money which will help to pay for vital research into breast cancer.”

Hope House in Hartlepool is a residentialcare home with nursing which delivers 24 hour care and support for up to 6 people in self-contained bespoke apartments adapted to meet their individual needs.

Hope Lodge, which opened earlier this year complements the Hope House service, and offers similar accommodation for five adults, with the addition of a communal area to enable service users to socialise and interact.

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