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Knit and Natter in Kent

Pauline Jeffrey

Pauline Jeffree lives in a FirstPort managed development in Kent. We asked if she’d like to tells us what life’s like in Park Court…

I have been living at Park Court, in Beckenham, Kent for some six years now. I had to move just a short distance because where I was living did not have a lift and I had become physically disabled and wheelchair bound.

When I first came to Park Court I felt a warmth  and caring atmosphere with residents being welcoming and wanting to help. That good feeling is still much apparent and often commented on when family and friends come to visit.

I have always been a busy person and until relatively recently I have been in full-time employment. However my life changed and I began to think about how we at Park Court could get involved and think about ways of helping others. For me, I felt it was sort of payback time to somehow say ‘Thank You’ for all the wonderful kindnesses I had and continue to receive.

My professional background has been in the National Health Service (NHS) both training and qualifying as a Registered Nurse and Certified Midwife. I have had wonderful opportunities as a University Lecturer, Researcher and Student supervisor, helping NHS students to complete successfully their Degree programmes.

What I am about to share with you didn’t happen overnight, but they are some of the different sorts of activities the residents at Park Court are involved in and with, all of which have helped to bring us together and made us more discerning as we look out for each other.

Manicure, eyebrow threading, and any other treatments we might like

Every four weeks a small group of us enjoy a visit from a local Beautician who looks after our nails and arranges other appointments as appropriate. We chat, of course, enjoy a cup of tea with biscuits or cake whilst our nails and hands are being professionally cared for.

Tea Party

Every four weeks we have a Tea Party for those who are on their own. Park Court residents, their friends, acquaintances and family are invited by personal invitation. A team of volunteers, personal friends, help prepare Park Court Lounge, lay tables with pretty afternoon tablecloths, pretty China and flowers. There are platters of sandwiches and homemade cakes made by my friends. At any one time we have some six volunteers to help serve tea and to chat with some 15-20 guests. We arrange transport if necessary and if there are any unexpected non-attendees we follow up to make sure all is well.

Knit and Natter

We started with just three of us but now we can have up to 20 knitters, sewers and natterers. It all started when a friend working in the Intensive Care Baby Unit at King’s College Hospital, London asked if I could get some friends together to help me with making cardigans, mittens, booties, blankets, hats, teddy bears, toys  and specially made incubator covers.

It didn’t stop there, in October, 2017 we were asked to make 40 Christmas Stockings one to be hung at the end of each little one’s cot or incubator.   We filled each stocking with a cardigan, hat, booties, blanket, teddy bear and toy.

We had such fun filling the stockings (now changed to shoe bags)  over a cup of tea and hot mince pies and then we went to King’s College Hospital. We were so warmly welcomed enjoying refreshments with some members of staff. We also had the great joy of touring the Unit and meeting some parents and their little ones.

We knit for others: St Christopher’s Hospice

We knit chicks for Easter, at Christmas time we made Father Christmas and Christmas Puddings. These are used as decorations or sold to raise funds to support the work of St Christopher’s.

We have been most fortunate because we have been given material and baby knitting wool from very kind people and undoubtedly their help has been marvellous and most generous.

Playing Cards

Each week up to eight of us play cards together (we don’t gamble)! It is a card game on the theme of Lexicon. If you recall playing this card game you will know it taxes your brain to make words from the cards you are dealt or pick up. We have to use the dictionary quite often!

Gardening

A small number of us enjoy gardening. We care for the flower beds whilst maintenance teams undertake the heavy gardening  work. It is great fun and like everyone we can’t wait for spring to come. Although, having said that, the autumn tree colours are magnificent and putting bulbs in seems to bring spring a bit nearer.

Entertainment

We have been entertained by a Great Nephew singing for his Great Aunt on the occasion of her 100th birthday. We, the residents,  made a special birthday party for this lovely lady.

We have had other musical entertainment with groups, individuals coming to sing to us and professional musicians providing a concert of light classical music.

Going out

We have enjoyed going out to different Garden Centres, visiting the Lavender Farm, enjoying a day out at Eastbourne with the obligatory fish and chip lunch!

At Home

We have shared activities such as a Chinese meal, fish and chip supper, celebrating anniversaries and birthdays. It is usually party time at Easter with our Easter Bonnet competition and again we get together at New Year. This year, as something new, it is being planned that we share Christmas lunch at home all waitress served followed by entertainment.

We usually support Macmillan and this year was no exception. Just a small team of us put together a Cream Tea and a raffle. It was £3 entrance with unlimited cake and tea. The raffle prizes were varied and many and the number and variety meant everybody would win something. We raised £280 which was £150:00 more than 2018.

We don’t live in each other’s pockets but it is fun to get together and do different things. It is also good to know that we are perhaps making a small contribution to helping others.

The different activities, apart from being discussed with the residents,  are also talked through with our Development Manager and  the detail is displayed on our Notice Board.

If any of the foregoing makes you want to do something similar where you live and I can in any way perhaps help, then please don’t hesitate to contact me via media@firstport.co.uk and I will get back to you.

I would also love to hear about the different activities and things you do so do please get in touch.

Thank you.

Pauline Jeffree

October, 2019

We don’t live in each other’s pockets but it is fun to get together and do different things. It is also good to know that we are perhaps making a small contribution to helping others.

Pauline Jeffree