Hastings Court Crier helps residents and families stay connected during COVID-19

Residents at our Hastings Court Care Home in East Sussex have created their own weekly newspaper, the Hastings Court Crier. The newspaper aims to keep relatives and loved ones up to date with its latest news.

Kimberley Mann led the Lifestyles team in originating the idea of the newspaper: “We started the Crier as a stimulating activity but it’s really come into its own now. The residents meet each week to decide on the stories they are going to cover and which articles to include.”

Residents taking part in the weekly editorial meeting

Maintaining contact with loved ones

Residents are unable to receive visits from relatives at the moment as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Hastings Court Crier gives families a window into residents’ day-to-day life.

“It’s keeping residents occupied as we can’t invite our usual entertainers in and it’s another way of keeping families in touch. They used to pick it up in the bistro here but now we can email copies out to them” said Kimberley.

Hastings Court Crier gives creative boost

The newspaper has enabled residents to be more creative. The residents interview people around the home on a weekly basis. As a result, this encourages them to interact with each other and allows them to build their confidence.

Care Home Manager Georgina Gamble said: “The paper’s been up and running for four weeks and already we’re seeing such a change in our residents.”

“People don’t move into residential care because they’ve come to the end of their useful life. This newspaper, and The League of Residents, our political discussion group, are showing how engaged people want to be and the benefits it brings them.

“It’s helping them to get to know each other, which is particularly useful when new people move in, and involving people who can’t or don’t want to leave their room.”

Making a difference

The newspaper is inclusive to residents who may find it difficult to socialise. Resident Hilda Wright, likes to spend most of her time in her room. Therefore, the team have appointed her the Crier’s Agony Aunt to make sure she doesn’t feel isolated.

“We bring her people’s daily dilemmas from a post box we’ve set up downstairs,” said Kimberley.  “She feels part of what’s going on and her advice can be very amusing!”

A story for everyone

Residents choose what type of content they would like to be included in the Crier. “The content is very much decided by the residents and they want to focus on good news,” said Kimberley. “Having something to smile about is great for everyone’s well-being.”

Residents are allocated different sections of the Crier. David Lee is the Sports Reporter and covers the in-house table football tournaments between residents. The paper also has an Entertainment Correspondent, a Beauty Writer, an Art Critic and a Cartoonist.

Clare Braybon, 60, is the Crier’s Social Correspondent and has been a resident at Hastings for the past three years. “I’m enjoying it so much. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about interviewing people. It does keep me awake at night sometimes thinking about whether I want to change the copy I’ve written. I feel now I could go and talk to anyone about anything!”

Clare Braybon interviewing Georgina Gamble

Last month the Crier featured technology story VR headsets at Hastings Court Care Home. The paper has also uncovered a former board member of Crystal Palace football club among other stories.

Find out more about Hastings Court Care Home.