An American-style hoedown brought together people of all ages – and left residents at St Wilfrid’s Arundel Priory with the biggest smiles.
The care home, set in a beautiful Grade II listed castle, opened its doors yesterday to help bust some of the myths about living in an old people’s home.
Rachel Staker, home manager, said: “It was truly a fantastic day for everyone involved. The smiles on our residents’ faces when we line danced said it all.”
Staff and residents were dressed up as cowgirls and cowboys and visiting children from the nearby St Philip’s Catholic Primary School loved getting in character for the Wild West theme.
Rachel added: “It was brilliant to see the local school there, we have a wonderful relationship with them and it always brightens our residents’ day when children visit.
“We’d like to thank everyone who came along to make it such a special day.”
Two ponies were provided by Arundel Riding Centre for residents and visitors to greet and feed, there was American diner style food on the lunch menu and the dining area was turned into an old Western set, including bales of hay provided by Marsh Farm in Walberton and decorations made by residents.
Lucy Horne, head teacher at St Philip’s, said: “Being close neighbours, the children of St Philip’s have had a relationship with St Wilfrid’s Priory for many years.
“The school choir visits annually to share carols with the residents and the children have spent time working in the priory gardens.
“More recently, our year six children have started a penpal scheme and regular newsletters.
“We were delighted to be invited to join their hoedown. The children returned from their visit with cowboy hats and full of talk about the event they shared with the older generation.
“The intergenerational link is a wonderful opportunity for our children to recognise how much that generation have to offer and the impact they have on society.”
The priory is run by The Order of St Johns Care Trust and, along with the trust’s other homes across the country, opened its doors to the public for the day.
Ellie, one of the visiting pupils, said: “It was great learning about what the residents have done with their lives and the stories they have to tell.
“We spent time chatting with them and they joined in the line dancing. It was great fun.”
The priory is a 24-bed care home offering residential and respite care.
Rachel said: “It is important to show the local community what life is really like in a care home. Our goal is to be enriching the lives of all our residents.”
The Orders of St John is a not-for-profit charitable trust and financial surplus is reinvested for the benefit of the residents. Visit www.osjct.co.uk for more details.