Building true communities


Posted on July 17th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 6 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Nightingale House, a care home in South London, is soon to include a children’s nursery on the same site; the first example in the UK, so far as I am aware, of this kind of co-provision.

While there will always be some who will seek the sense of protection and security afforded by gated communities and the like, I think a true sense of community can only come from a mix of age groups, all of whom see a particular group of buildings and open spaces as being very much a ‘shared turf’ where the generations can engage with each other and all enjoy richer lives as a consequence.

There will always be limitations on how truly a ‘home’ a care home can be but, by integrating a care home with its surrounding social environment, I think that sense of ‘home’ can be widened.

So hats off to Nightingale House and the soon-to-be-opened Apples and Honey nursery. This kind of development can only help to counter the negative image of care homes which the national media take such delight in reinforcing.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.




6 responses to “Building true communities”

  1. Julian Ball says:

    Nightingale House is many, many years behind the first example as far as I know.

    Tynefield Court in South Derbyshire had Little Jack Horner’s Day Nursery built on the site in the late 80s, initially to help encourage nurses back to work after maternity leave. I managed both services for a number of years and exactly as you say created another dimension to the services we provided and engagement with the community. The children were also a fantastic boost for the people in the home as well. I believe both services continue today.

    The owner Jon Horner (of Tynefield Care Ltd), was an enlightened individual who also created a core and cluster model with what we called close care apartments and bungalows surrounding the dual registered home which at the time was always full and offered a very dynamic range of support to individuals.

  2. I think this is a great idea, and it harks back to the Eden Alternative idea that’s grounded in the idea of residential care being at the centre of the community, with people still feeling as active and involved in society as they want to be. Next stop a primary school?

  3. John Burton says:

    Yes, well done Nightingale House, but it’s certainly not the first to do it. I haven’t been to Nightingale House for at least twenty years, but my guess is that it is still a self-confident, well resourced, community with a shared ethos and clear task, and it has developed and changed with the times. Thirty years ago I was leading a large local authority,a mixed-age, care community where we provided a base for social clubs, adult education, entertainment, healthy living and children’s dance classes on a Saturday morning. Life and good care are about imagination, creativity, relationship and variety. Compliance and conformity kills care and community.

  4. Bob Ferguson says:

    Let’s hope the sound insulation is up to scratch!

  5. Andrew Long says:

    McArdle Care – Helen and her son Mark developed several children’s day nurseries on sites alongside the care homes. They are known as “Kids 1st” and is a business still run by the McArdle’s after they sold the care homes to HC One.

  6. Here at Erskine, Bishopton Home we have had a nursery on-site with us for several years. The nursery children are frequently in and about the Home as well as regularly walking round the grounds.


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