Birdwatch benefits care home residents in Rustington

Vera Hyrons, left, and Julia Joy prepare for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
Vera Hyrons, left, and Julia Joy prepare for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

BIRD feeders are filled and binoculars are ready for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch at a Rustington care home.

Residents and the Care UK team at Darlington Court, in The Leas, are gearing up to take part in the world’s largest wildlife survey on Saturday and Sunday.

Julie Bartholomew from Littlehampton joins Darlington Court as customer relations manager. 'Photo: Simon Jacobs

Julie Bartholomew from Littlehampton joins Darlington Court as customer relations manager. 'Photo: Simon Jacobs

The long-standing RSPB scheme encourages people throughout the UK to take a closer look at the nature on their doorsteps by counting the different birds which visit their garden in any one hour over the last weekend of January, as well as recording any non-bird species such as badgers and hedgehogs.

Fiona Wiederkehr, home manager, said: “Staying active and enjoying the outdoors can be extremely valuable for the residents, particularly those living with dementia.

“The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch provides a great opportunity for residents to access outside spaces and reap the emotional, social and physical benefits this can bring.

“The quiet, calming nature of birdwatching can help lower anxiety, while the colourful sights and distinctive sounds of our feathered friends provide plenty of sensory stimulation. Birdwatching can also be a valuable reminiscence activity, with the appearance of certain species and the sounds of birdsong evoking memories and helping residents recall their love of nature.

“With so many benefits, we are all looking forward to taking part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. We have been preparing our garden to ensure it is bird friendly and even making fat balls to provide the birds with vital nourishment over the winter months.

“Playing an active role in preparations for the birdwatch has helped to provide meaningful and fulfilling occupation for the residents, who are now all looking forward to playing their part in the RSPB’s important national survey.”

Care UK recently announced a senior level appointment at Darlington Court, strengthening the home’s 62-strong team.

Julie Bartholomew from Littlehampton is the new customer relations manager, providing an important link between prospective residents, their friends and families, and the care home.

She will also act as the lynchpin between the home and the community, developing relationships with local businesses, charities and individuals.

Having worked in the retail pharmacy industry for the past ten years, Julie brings a host of key skills to her new role.

She said: “I am delighted to be joining the team at Darlington Court and I am looking forward to making the most of the opportunity to build on the home’s reputation in Littlehampton and beyond.

“I am already getting to know residents and their families, and I will also be forging strong working relationships with the local community as I help to put Darlington Court firmly on the map, to ensure local people are aware of everything the home has to offer.”

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