Everyone who lives at Livability Bradbury Court will be invited to this year’s carols and mulled wine night next month, to get in the Christmas spirit with their housemates who share this North London residential care home.
This year, the carols will be hosted by Bradbury’s ‘church at home’ group, which was launched by staff member Sharda Norman when residents could not get out to church during the pandemic. ‘When isolation was in place, some of the residents were missing church and that spiritual input into their lives, so they asked if I would visit their rooms and read the Bible with them or pray together,’ says Sharda.
When restrictions eased, some residents wanted to meet together so Sharda launched a Sunday morning informal service. ‘About ten people come regularly, and we start by going round and finding out how everyone is doing, how their week has been. We have songs and music via YouTube, which people love and many have their favourites. And we pray and read the Bible, often psalms, because they are so encouraging.’
As well as enjoying meeting together, this group has been a stepping-stone for learning new skills and building confidence. The group uses the Accessible Bible for readings, which was produced by Biblica, in partnership with Livability, for those with learning disabilities or lower literacy levels. Using a simpler text and being in a small, intimate group has enabled some in the group to try reading aloud, something not tried before by those individuals. ‘One or two of our residents are good readers but they definitely wouldn’t have had the confidence to read out loud in a bigger church setting,’ says Sharda. ‘I hope they’ll be able to build on these reading skills, now they know they can do it.’
Enabling people supported by Livability to try new things and learn new skills is at the heart of the charity’s approach to care, and is the focus of this Christmas’ ‘Skills for Life’ appeal. Learning is often a key which opens up new horizons for the people we support. Residential service manager Chika Chukwu, at one of our Welsh services, has seen this very clearly in action with deaf resident, Carlos.
‘As his confidence grew, he and a group of fellow residents took on private gardening and carpentry jobs. Carlos then worked in grounds maintenance – and he made a lot of friends along the way. At Livability, for the first time ever, Carlos had arrived at the right place. I know at firsthand the difference this makes, supporting someone like Carlos to develop the skills for life they need.’
Back at Bradbury, plans are underway for a fun Christmas carols night – which Sharda hopes will feature a reading to a bigger group by one of the church at home group, stepping out a little further with a new skill.