Magic Me’s Cocktails in Care Homes project has been shortlisted for a 2018 Team London award. The project, from intergenerational arts charity Magic Me, is nominated in the Social Integration category as in the sub-category “Innovative charity or project”. This category focuses on bringing people from different backgrounds together, allowing people to create bonds with each other. Team London recognizes charities and projects that are using innovative ideas or methods to solve local issues or further a cause.
The Cocktails In Care Homes project now runs in 14 care settings across London involving over 400 volunteers and bringing fun and laughter to more than 400 care home residents.
Magic Me’s director, Susan Langford said
“We are thrilled to have been honoured with this nomination. Although this is for innovative charity or project, we see it as honouring all the volunteers who have got involved and made this project such a success. Like most innovation the project came about because we could see the need for something and we worked out how to fill that need. Care home residents had told us that there were few activities in the evenings – so Cocktails In Care Homes fills that gap. We also understand the needs of our volunteers and created an opportunity that would work flexibility around already busy lives. When the two groups come together it really is magic!”
Cocktails in Care homes runs parties once a month in each home on either a Wednesday or Thursday night. They are working with homes in the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Islington, Camden, Waltham Forest, Brent, Hammersmith & Fulham, Southwark, Westminster and (from October) Lambeth.
The charity also provides decorations and themes for the rooms in which the party is held – recent themes have been ‘Roaring Twenties’ and ‘Solar Soiree’. Volunteer party managers liaise with the care home staff and the charity to make sure that drinks and nibbles are served safely and that all goes smoothly they get to know their community more closely, becoming a familiar face in the care home each month, hosting residents, care staff, family members and volunteer guests.
“I couldn’t think of better company to get a beer with on a Wednesday evening! At one party a lady said to me “I don’t know why you spend your time coming here, you must be so tired after work” automatically I took her hand and replied with “I come because I enjoy all of your company!” There are always laughs, stories and an impromptu sing song on the karaoke machine!” – Cocktails in Care Homes volunteer
All volunteers come to an induction before going to a party. Many people have never been in a care home and have little interaction with older people or people living with dementia. The inductions help to dispel myths and prepare people to have fun at the parties.
“I am so filled with joy at seeing you again” Myra resident to one of the Cocktails in Care Homes party managers.
“The residents have formed wonderful friendships at the parties, a resident who moved in a few months ago has saved a seat for his friend at every party!” – Care home staff member,
The annual Team London Awards celebrates the individuals, teams and corporate volunteers who are making outstanding contributions to their communities and helping to make London the best city it can be.
Each day, tens of thousands of volunteers help charities to deliver their services.The Awards are one of the ways the Mayor recognizes some of those volunteers who go above and beyond to create better local communities.
Staff and volunteer representatives from the project will be attending the awards ceremony in October where the winners will be announced.
If you would like to find out more about the project and/or volunteer for Cocktails In Care Homes please click here
Photo credits: featured image by Roxene Anderson, image above by Sarah Watson