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Clients receive a special birthday surprise

Published on 05 August 2020 03:07 PM

We noticed that many of our clients had big birthdays coming up, so wanted to cheer them up and make sure they had a special day during these difficult times.

We teamed up with local choir, Sing! Bentley Heath, who recorded a personalised birthday message and song for our clients. Our staff and volunteers then began visiting the older people on their birthdays to show them the video and present them with a card, lovingly handmade by Age UK Solihull volunteers, and a cake, kindly donated by the recently-opened Fountains Care Home, Solihull (our Linking People Together Coordinator, Amanda, collected the cakes from Lorraine Shannon from Fountains, left).

The choir and the care home have both been a huge support to Age UK Solihull both before and throughout the coronavirus pandemic. As well as making the birthday videos, Sing! Bentley Heath also donated £400 towards our Coronavirus Appeal. They have kept up their support since they partnered with us back in 2016.

Fountains Care Home also donated food and other supplies for our emergency food bank, as well as getting involved in our 2.6 Challenge, raising funds by walking 26 laps of the care home. Barchester Healthcare, which owns Fountains Care Home, also sponsored our Autumn 2019 newsletter.

Age UK Solihull Volunteer Coordinator, Catherine Gulati, first experienced the catering at Fountains after they hosted a delicious afternoon tea for the Volunteers Managers Forum run by Solihull CAVA. Catherine said, “Fountains Care Home is so beautiful and the catering was fantastic, so I asked Lorraine at Barchester if she could help with some special treats for our isolated older people celebrating birthday whilst they are unable to go out.”

The cakes, the song and the cards have all gone down a treat with the clients. Our Linking People Together Coordinator, Amanda Wilkinson, said, “It is so lovely to have such kind and caring people and organisations supporting our charity at this particularly difficult time. When we drop off their birthday card, cake and play their happy birthday video (all at a safe social distance, of course) it not only brings them happiness but us too. Thanks to all involved.”

Volunteer Befriender, Jon, went with Amanda to visit Geoff in his garden on his 100th birthday (above). Jon has been visiting Geoff for nearly two years, and has recently recommenced outdoor visits from a safe distance now shielding guidelines have been relaxed. Geoff was delighted with the visit and very proud to show off his letter from the Queen (left). Jon commented, “What a privilege to share time with Geoff on his 100th birthday.”

Another client, Dennis, received a visit for his 90th birthday. His daughter, Helen, commented, “A big thank you to everyone for helping to make Dad’s 90th birthday a bit more special during lockdown. He was really pleased with the cards and cake – which was absolutely delicious (he needed a bit of help blowing out the candles though!).

“Thank you also to Bentley Heath choir for their lovely personal message and song which really surprised him – it was very kind of them. Presents, cards, birthday cake, singing and a chip supper, not a bad day at all.

“I am sure that Dad is not alone in feeling more isolated than ever now that everyone else he sees on the television seems to be going about things “as normal” while he is still stuck inside. It is reassuring to know that Age UK Solihull are there for support, especially through the next few months as lockdowns ease for the more vulnerable and we try to return to some kind of new normal.”

Albert (left) also received a visit on his 90th birthday. He had been out for lunch with his family, which was the first time time he had been out since March, so he really enjoyed. He was also delighted to receive his cake made by Fountains Care Home and card, handmade by a volunteer's granddaughter.