Cross Keys Care’s Inese Butlere describes how she has bought her very own style and creative flair – as well as resident involvement – to the busy social calendar at Lapwing Apartment extra care scheme.
I started at Lapwing Apartments as a receptionist. I instantly felt a connection with the building and the residents and could see so many ways to get them involved and build on the community feel. When you have a new build, where all the residents are new, it is important to get the events going and people mingling right from the word go.
The Manager, Maggie, and the team did a great job initially, but as the complex filled it was clear a dedicated activities co-ordinator was needed to keep the momentum going and make sure everyone felt at home the minute they moved in, reducing social isolation.
I was very keen to go for this job, as I knew I had many creative skills I could bring to the role, as well as already having a good understanding of the residents’ preferences. I was thrilled when I was offered the position – my dream come true!
I really focus on making sure the residents have full say on what they want to do, and so, at the regular residents’ meetings I open-up the floor for new ideas. I also get them involved with the planning and making decorations so they feel involved in every event and activity.
I try to bring some variety to activities, and because traditional entertainment is expensive, I have had to think outside the box. For instance, when walking through the city centre, I heard a brilliant busker singing, and so I asked them if they would be interested in coming to play for my residents. They were, and they went down a storm.
The daughter of one of our care workers is part of a Latvian dance troupe and so I asked if they would come in as well. I like to get something different in that the residents may not have seen before. The troupe were fantastic and got everyone moving and clapping.
I’m very keen to do things that reflect the multi-culture within Peterborough and the workforce at Lapwing Apartments – like the Latvian dance troupe and taking the residents to a Polish restaurant. I firmly believe that variety is the spice of life.
Funding entertainment is always a problem, but we have come up with a solution. When residents have items of furniture that they no longer want, I sell them on their behalf on Facebook, and all the money raised goes into the social fund. We have raised over £400 so far. This means we can be more adventurous and go out to the cinema and on trips to restaurants. Some of the residents hadn’t been to the cinema for twenty years.
I also make sure that the events are varied and focus the residents’ health and wellbeing. l paint the ladies’ nails to build on their self-esteem, and we do chair exercises, to build up strength. We also have a church service from the Salvation Army – I really do try to cater to everyone’s tastes.
The last word goes to resident Grace Banks: “Inese really gets us involved; doing crafts, making sandwiches for our tea parties. She is so enthusiastic, and she encourages us so much and makes us feel like we can really do it. She also spurs us on to get involved. Sometimes we need a little kindly cajoling or else we end up sitting around! She’s just great fun to have around.