A Buckinghamshire care home has scooped a national award for its “Swinging Six-teas” themed tea party.
Tickford Abbey care home in Newport Pagnell was named the winner of the Best Ever Tea Party award at a gala awards ceremony. The National Activity Providers Association (NAPA) launched its Best Ever Tea Party award, which was supported by Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) and PG tips. NAPA is a national charity that supports care home staff to enable older people to live life the way they choose with meaning and purpose.

Tickford Abbey’s activity co-ordinator Amie Leveridge explains what made the care home’s event such a stand-out success, and how it helped build bonds between residents and staff: “When we began planning our tea party we decided on a 1960s theme. In the build-up to the event we spent time with each of the residents asking them what they remember about the 60s, what the decade meant to them and what memories we could evoke on the day.
“We decided to decorate the main house with bright colours and 60s slogans, and that we would make the event fancy dress. We were determined residents would play a full and active role in organising the tea party and ensuring it was everything they wanted it to be. Our residents posted invites around the community, giving them the chance to represent Tickford Abbey and talk to local people.
“During the planning stages, we held weekly meetings for the organising committee, which was made up of 10 residents. We put an action plan in place and each resident fed back on how their project or task was going. The group then shared their ideas and discussed how we could make them happen. Three weeks before the event I worked with small groups of residents to plan the look and feel of the tea party. We used the care home computer to research and choose what to order as decorations for both inside and outside of the main building.”

The residents’ careful planning ensured the day was a big success. Some of the residents ran stalls and served refreshments, whilst others took part in a mini sports day. Amie continues: “Residents and staff had a great time on the day and really enjoyed the event. But the benefits of the day were more far-reaching than this.
“The tea party has helped us get to know our residents better and understand their likes and dislikes. Some of the residents who took part found it gave them the confidence to open up more to the care home team, and spend longer periods out of their rooms. This helped build better relationships between staff and residents and promote interaction.
“It just shows how even a simple event like a tea party can have an ongoing positive impact for everyone that’s involved. We can’t wait to do it all again next year.”

James Allred, UFS channel marketing manager, said: “The NICE quality standard 50 highlights eating as a daily activity that can be made into a meaningful experience for care home residents. To support our customers, one of our key goals in the care sector is to help make meal and snack times the highlight of residents’ days.