Christopher Biggins Visits Bridge House Care Home

The team at Bridge House celebrate winning this year's Making a Difference Challenge with the special celebrity guest

Actor and TV presenter, Christopher Biggins visited Bridge House care home in Abingdon on 18th October 2017.

He came to present the home with a cheque for £1,000, as the home is the winner of a competition which challenged the 13 homes in Bridge House’s group* to come up with new, creative ways to enhance the everyday lives of their residents, with a focus on improving wellbeing through positive interactions.

Bridge House’s response to this challenge has been to introduce themed days – including food, fitness, music and games – and ensure that the whole team – whether carers, nurses, domestics, kitchen staff and maintenance teams join together to make this daily programme of activities specific and meaningful for each resident.

During his visit, Christopher took part in a selection of these themed experiences.  This included a fitness class, cocktail making and a pamper session. He also joined in with a quiz – taking on the resident quiz group – and danced with resident Joan Brice (82).  He then took part in a sing a-long with the Bridge House resident choir, singing their theme tune ‘Can’t help falling in love with you.’

Wish Wednesday

One particularly popular themed day is ‘Wish Wednesday’ – when team members seek to make resident’s wishes come true.  During the afternoon Christopher witnessed the team make two resident’s wishes come true.  Pam Thompson (86) wished to dance with Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton Dubec.  The team had contacted the dancing star who sent a video message to Pam promising her a dance when his Strictly commitments are over.  Resident Duncan Osborne (83) wished to see a professional dance show – this was organised with local dancers ‘Golden Toes’.

Christopher said: “I was overwhelmed by the dedication of the whole team at Bridge. These themed experiences are truly inspirational and I am delighted to have been able to be involved with some of them – particularly my lovely dance with Joan!  It was such a fun afternoon and not something you would expect from a care home.  The vibe in their bistro was electric!”

June Maharaj, home manager said: “It was lovely for everyone here to meet Christopher today.  And we enjoyed showing him what we have achieved here at Bridge House.  Our mantra is ‘every connection counts’ and we have introduced a training scheme for all staff to make sure that each and every interaction with a resident is meaningful and that all team members make the effort to really get to know every resident as an individual’.

Christopher Biggins has a particular and very personal interest in care.  His 92 year old mother is living with dementia and in 2016 he hosted the Great British Care Awards.

June adds: “We are thrilled to have won £1,000 and plan to invest it in some exciting new equipment so we can further enhance our themed ideas for the enjoyment of all residents.  This will include a virtual reality headset, a Jukebox and further additions to our mobile sensory equipment”.

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