Phase II of FaNs celebrated at Freda Gunton Lodge in Colchester
Charity My Home Life Essex Community Association (MHLECA), supported by Essex County Council and Age UK Essex, officially launched its new campaign on Thursday 16th April at the Freda Gunton Lodge care home in Colchester. The campaign, Friends and Neighbours (FaNs), looks to encourage volunteers to support older people living in care homes across Essex and 'Make Every Moment Count'.
Over 70 people attended the event. This included a number of different FaNs; statutory and voluntary groups, care home representatives from across Essex, individual volunteers, the Head of St Johns Primary School and three young students and the Bishop of Colchester.
Brian Mister MBE, Chair of MHLECA welcomed everyone to the event and Jan Lockyer, FaNs Programme Manager spoke about the idea behind the FaNs movement.
“The event was for those interested in the campaign to learn more about the FaNs moment. It was great to have so many brilliant speakers, sharing their stories and reiterating the importance of looking after the older members of our community. The campaign message, Make Every Moment Count, embodies the sentiment of what we want to achieve with FaNs.” said Jan, FaNs Programme Manager.
Les Nicolls spoke on behalf of the Essex Fire and Rescue service about its involvement as a FaNs ambassador. Les said, “Our fire cadets have thoroughly enjoyed working with the older community in Essex and we're proud to be a part of this movement. The team behind FaNs often say how thankful they are of our involvement, but in fact, we feel like the lucky ones.”
Anya Visegorodceva spoke on behalf of the Essex University Union about FaNs in practice, how students are already acting as FaNs to their local care homes and the sense of community students receive from being part of the movement.
Paul Davis, a care home resident from Freda Gunton Lodge was one of the final speakers. He spoke of his experience of moving into a care home and the importance of community in older life. He closed the event with a heart-warming message, on behalf of the older community in Essex and to all those involved in the campaign, “We thank you for being our FaNs.”
Tania O'Keefe, the care home manager at Freda Gunton Lodge said, “FaNs is bridging the gap between care homes and the wider community. It is a win win situation, as the lives of everyone involved become a lot more meaningful.”
Research and marketing agency, Mackman Group, has worked with My Home Life Essex to deliver the marketing for the campaign, creating the FaNs visual look, printed material and interactive website.
Director, Paul Mackman said, “The event was a great success, everyone had a story to tell that explained what FaNs is all about and it really brought the campaign to life.”
After the presentations, guests were invited to meet the team behind FaNs, enjoy music and an afternoon of tea and cakes provided by Freda Gunton Lodge.