FitzRoy staff create surprise festive forest

18th December 2020

The people we support at Linden Cottage woke up to a festive surprise last week when they found their conservatory had been transformed into a forest overnight.

The creative staff team at our East Sussex registered care home stayed up until the early hours of the morning to turn the room into an immersive festive experience. We caught up with deputy manager Dean to find out more.

He told us: “The idea came from Sharon, one of our night staff, and with the help of support workers Alma, Vita and Colin, they set up the room as a surprise for the people we support.

“They cut some fern branches to create this woodland scene, complete with foxes, reindeer and penguins – they wanted to bring a bit of Christmas into our home. The people we support at Linden Cottage have a range of needs and the staff really thought about each person when creating the festive forest, making it a sensory experience that every one of them could enjoy. We have two residents who are registered blind who loved being able to feel the branches and smell the fern and the lavender. Staff worked to make sure the forest covered the whole experience  – look, feel and smell – amazing.

When I saw the room I just thought wow – I am so lucky to have the team I have.

“The people we support also love being able to go to the local café and meet with family, but as that has been a bit difficult recently we decided to be creative and turn our neglected garden room into a tea room, which we have named ‘Cupcake Cottage Tea Room’. We all put our heads together and reached out to the community to help us, and we were just overwhelmed by their response. Everyone wanted to donate items that we could use for the tea room – we were really taken aback by the support. This has been such a challenging year for everyone, and yet people are still showing so much kindness and generosity.

“People offered us furniture, and a local courier driver offered to collect everything and drop it off for no charge – he spent the whole day doing this for us. A local sign writer dropped off a handmade sign and the local boutique on the high street is donating some accessories for us.

“It has been so heart warming to have so much support, and our residents have loved helping to create our tea room – Audrey especially has helped so much with the painting! We’ve even got a CD of coffee shop background music so our residents can get a full sensory experience of being in a café again.

“This year has forced us all to be more creative and to think about our values more than ever before, we have been brave, creative and we have seen the person, and I’m so proud of everything my team has achieved, and so grateful to our incredible local community who have come together to help us.”