Retired policewoman at Hastings Court Care Home in East Sussex has gone back to ‘work’ after finding a life of leisure isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Our Hastings Court resident Diana Cornwell, 86,  worked as a Police Officer in Penge, South London and moved to Hastings for a life by the sea when she came to the end of her career. But the desire to be useful never left her and made her restless – so Hastings Court Care Home has given her a ‘job’.

Along with fellow residents Doreen Harmer, 89, and Claire Braybon, 59, Diana has become a ‘Bistro Belle’. The three ladies serve refreshments in the home’s Bistro and tour the floors twice a day with the snack trolley. The trio have tabards and name badges and are thrilled to have a purpose to their day.

Diana said: “I like to feel that I am useful. I worked for many years and much as it’s lovely to be able to relax and enjoy the entertainment here, I wanted to have a role, something people expected me to be there to do.”

The ladies are responsible for taking orders, serving drinks, clearing glasses and making sure tables are re-stocked. Their roles have been fully risk-assessed and all three Bistro Belles are supported by staff at the home.

Hastings Court General Manager, Georgina Gamble said: “There’s always the chance that when our families grow up or retirement comes along, we can feel a little adrift so we are thrilled to be able to give these ladies the purpose they sought.

“Years ago, homes just wouldn’t have allowed residents to get involved in this way. But our care is about helping people to live the kind of lives they want to, and if that means supporting them to work here, then that’s what we’ll do.

“It has the added benefit of keeping them mentally and physically fit but most of all it’s making them happy.”

It’s not the first time Hastings Court has responded to residents’ requests to take responsibility for activities. With the support of the staff, Doreen organised a teddy bears’ picnic back in February 2019 for residents’ families which nearly 30 youngsters and their parents enjoyed.

“Having a significant task to do can be transformational,” said Georgina. “These ladies go to bed at the end of the day feeling happy and fulfilled, and we do too.”

“It’s just wonderful,” agreed Diana. “I feel like one of the staff team with my badge and my ‘uniform.’ I love it!”

Hastings Court Care Home Bistro Belles

Hastings Court Care Home Bistro Belles