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The Best of the Best … Clare Martin

Clare Martin

Clare sparkles at Milton Lodge

Each month we feature an Award-Winning finalist; inspirational individual or team who are really are The Best of the Best in social care. This month we feature Clare Martin, Activities Co-ordinator at Milton Lodge in Colchester, part of Sohal Healthcare, who gives a wonderful insight into making residents’ dreams come true.

My name is Clare Martin and I am an Activities Co-ordinator at Milton Lodge care home in Colchester. I start each day by chatting to the residents, which often leads to me finding out more about their life histories and the things they either wish they could have done or would like to do again. and this is how a ‘Sparkle’ begins.

Once I know the basis of a dream, or ‘Sparkle’ as we prefer to call it, I start to think about how we can make this dream become a reality. I will also chat to relatives and friends to see if they can lend a hand with making their loved one’s wish come true.

Sometimes a Sparkle can be granted in the home, such as a professional manicure or massage; sometimes they are bigger. Whatever the dream, we never say never!

We are so proud and honoured to have been able to make so many dreams a reality. Here are just a few of our Sparkle moments:

A rose garden

 One of our gentlemen wanted to go back to his old workplace, a rose nursery. During the visit colleagues remembered him for his work in creating a hybrid flower, the Just Joey rose. On the day of the visit, the company had arranged for some of his old colleagues to be there, waiting for him with old photos. Since this visit the company have donated a ‘Just Joey’ rose to the home for the gentleman, and indeed all our residents to enjoy.


Back to school

One of our ladies who is 103 year’s young longed to re-visit her old primary school. We researched which school she attended and were delighted to find that the school was still up and running. The Headteacher of the school couldn’t believe how much our lady could remember from her school days, and by going back through the archives was able to unearth the school register from the time she had attended.

Meeting Michael

One of our ladies was a huge Michael Bolton fan and her wish was to see him perform and meet him. A tall order, or so we first thought, so initially we bought her a life size cardboard cut-out of Michael, filmed the presentation and put it on Facebook. The reaction to this post was phenomenal! Bouyed along by the momentum we contacted the Lorraine show as we heard that Michael was scheduled to appear as a guest. We were absolutely thrilled when Michael sent our lady a message on live television and invited her to his show and a meet and greet; which of course she happily accepted!

Butlers in the Buff

As with many care homes, our home has predominantly female residents. Some of our ladies mentioned how they dreamed of having some male company to spice up their lives! After much thought and googling, staff found a company called Butlers in the Buff and arranged with them to come along to the home, where they entertained and served our ladies with a three-course gourmet meal. We shared this on Facebook and again this Sparkle went viral. Various TV stations, radios and magazines contacted us for a story but by far the most exciting was ITV’s This Morning who asked if we could re-enact this live on television. Not only did they send along their film crew but also presenter Alison Hammond.

As you can tell I am very passionate about my work, and it’s more than just a job to me. Just because you live in a care home it shouldn’t mean you stop being able to achieve your dreams and aspirations. Of course, none of this would be possible without a supportive manager and team. Here at Milton Lodge we are all so proud to play our part in making dreams, however big or small, come true and bringing a bit of sparkle to the lives of our residents.


Edel Harris





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