Cocktails in Care Homes

written by Guest Angel

At Hel’s Angels we pride ourselves on doing things a bit differently. So last Christmas, instead of sending our lovely clients hampers or wine, we offered them our brilliant Hel’s Elves to aid their festive season. Clients could use our Angels to help them in the office or they could donate their time to charity.  One of our clients, Proximo Spirits, decided to donate their Elf to charity. So a few weeks ago we sent Angel Toby to make fabulous cocktails for residents of care homes, under the guidance of the charity Magic Me.

Here is his account of the experience:

“Magic Me is a creative arts charity based in Bethnal Green which has worked with connecting generations for over 25 years. They have a branch of their charity called Cocktails in Care Homes, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Twice a week they work with a range of volunteers to put on cocktail parties in care homes across London. The residents may not be able to make it out to the pub anymore, so Magic Me take the pub to them. Residents, volunteers, care home staff and party managers all come together and share stories, have a drink and sometimes even have a dance! It’s a beautiful charity that really makes the difference. Following the success of our Hel’s Elves campaign at Christmas, where Hel’s donated staff to offices to help them get ready for Christmas, I was lucky enough to get donated to Magic Me, a project I feel privileged to be a part of.

Training

Entering a care home can be daunting, as it is inevitable that you are going to come across somebody with Dementia, something we don’t all have to confront every day and so aren’t always sure how to approach. Therefore, Magic Me provide a training session for everyone before they sign up for parties. It was a chance to meet party managers, hear about the charity and learn about Dementia. We did an interesting exercise where you had to try and trace a picture of a star, when you could only see it in a mirror. On the face of it I thought it would be easy, but when giving it a go everyone got stuck in a corner at some point and struggled to get out of it. This was to replicate the feeling somebody with dementia has when they lose their place in a story. My own Grandmother had Dementia, so I was already familiar with the disease but this exercise and all the training available from Magic Me gave me a new perspective and was useful going into my first party.

First Party Feelings

I found myself feeling quite nervous at my first party. It suddenly dawned on me that these weren’t my grandparents, I might not know where to divert a conversation if somebody got lost and maybe I wasn’t as cut out for this as I first thought. But the party manager reassured me that everyone felt like this on their first one and sat me on a table with ‘the lads.’ So, I sat down and when all three of the lads told me they were called Bill I wasn’t sure if they were having me on or were confused. In fact they were just all called Bill! We talked, laughed, sang along to the music, ate monster munch like they were going out of fashion and I was educated on the West Indies Cricket Team of the 70’s by Jamaican Bill and before you knew it, it was time to go home.

Party On

I have attended three parties now and they seem to get better and better. I’ve met some lovely people, including May in Silk Court who was fascinated by our range of jobs at Hel’s, especially as Energisers at Wembley, she really put my SSE knowledge to the test! And then in Bermondsey I met Ashton, who used to live 2 streets away from where I live now.  I can really see the difference that Magic Me makes to people’s quality of life, connecting generations is crucial and the Cocktails in Care Homes campaign brightens up the residents evening. I’m so glad Hel’s got involved with this and I can’t wait to get to my next party”

For more information on the work of the charity Magic Me click here

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