The sun shone at Blaise Weston Court on Saturday, when residents, family and friends got together to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the opening of the scheme which houses older people in Lawrence Weston.
Over 100 guests enjoyed food and drink and entertainment by local band ‘Ramblin Tyme’. Residents who have lived in the development since it opened – Graly Thornton, Fred and Beryl Chapman, Eileen O’Brien, Beryl Burnham, Ella Smith, Kathleen Rollings, and Pearl Williams - were delighted to be presented with certificates, chocolates and bouquets of flowers to mark the milestone. There was also recognition for staff members Sue Appoo, Angie Pickford, Ange Pickford, Louise Melias and Paul Welling, who have also been there since the opening.
The event was organised by Mears who provide care to the Blaise Weston residents and Hanover Housing who look after the building. Care Manager, Sue Appoo said: “We wanted to do something special for the residents to celebrate the 10 great years we’ve had since we opened on this day in 2008. We’re fortunate to have a fantastic sense of community here – both among the residents and the wider community – and that was really evident on Saturday.”
95-year-old Ella Smith was the very first resident to move into Blaise Weston in 2008. She was at the party with her daughters, Sue Jones and Pat Russell who – in their 70’s themselves – make Ella ‘feel old’! Speaking about her time living at Blaise Weston, she said:
“It’s wonderful. It’s friendly, there’s company, there’s something going on all the time. We’re very, very lucky.
“My husband passed away two weeks after I moved in. And like my daughters say ‘it’s the best thing you ever did, mum, giving up your house and moving in here when you did. I’d have been in the house on my own, you see.”
95-year old Ella Smith receives certificate and flowers from staff to mark 10 years living at Blaise Weston Court
For Pat and Sue, it’s knowing that there’s help at hand IF their mum needs it that means so much.
“It’s peace of mind for us – knowing that if there was a problem, or if she was taken ill, there’s someone to call on. We both live at least 15 minutes drive away. We have our own lives and responsibilities, so having mum safe and secure here, it makes us feel relieved that if she needs help, she’s got it.”
Another resident celebrating 10 years was 81 year old Beryl Burnham. She said she was ‘lost’ until she came to Blaise.
“I was in and out of hospital,” she said. “The place where I lived was closed in. I got myself a mobility scooter and I tried to get myself out. But I didn’t want to go out – it was so lonely. I only had myself.
“When my doctor got me in here, I just broke down and cried – I was so happy,” she said.
The scheme, which is classed as an ‘Extra Care Scheme’, provides private, self-contained accommodation for people who have care needs but want to continue to live as independently as possible.
Manager, Sue Appoo explains “It’s all about helping people to continue enjoying good quality of life in older age.
“The care must be right, of course, but the social aspect is just as important. No one wants their life to be defined by their care needs. At whatever age, people want to live good, fulfilling lives in the context of a wider community. That’s what we focus on here at Blaise.”
And they seem to be getting it right. As Ella said: “It’s surprising how many people come to visit and say “I’m going to put my name down”! We’re very lucky and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”