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Bloom Awards 2011

The Bloom Awards are presented by Lemos&Crane for excellence in improving the quality of life, dignity and well-being of older people. 

Over 150 entries were received from sheltered housing schemes, care homes, extra care settings, retirement villages, floating support, and other services provided to older people in the community.  Entries demonstrated positive outcomes in promoting relationships, enhancing and sustaining identity and interests, and fostering independence.

All the work was of a high standard and inspiring and we are grateful to everyone who took part. We are also grateful to more than 200 voters who participated in the final selection process and to our panel of judges: Andrew Barnett, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation; David Cutler, The Baring Foundation; Tim Joss, The Rayne Foundation; Katherine Payne, The Mercers’ Company; Louise Telford, Northern Rock Foundation.

The Winner receives the Bloom Award trophy and a prize of £1,000.  The five Finalists receive Bloom certificates and a prize of £100 each. 




FINALISTS (in alphabetical order):


Bloom Awards 2011 WINNER:


Organisation: The Abbeyfield Society
Service: Brown's Field House
Project Name: Identity and Interests
Type: Residential care home for older people with dementia

The Abbeyfield SocietyThe Abbeyfield Society has created a unique person-centered environment at Brown's Field House, a 26 bed residential care for older people who have some form of dementia. The home has been designed by the carers with funds raised by volunteers and family members and with works carried out by volunteers. The aim was to create a ‘home from home’.  No area is institutionalized. There are themed areas reflecting residents’ personal interests and histories and bags of reminiscence items. The themed areas act as a prompt for families and friends to sustain and engage with their relative or friend in meaningful conversations. Visitors in the past often struggled to maintain good conversations – they would get upset by their loved one’s behaviour that suggested a detachment from reality, living in a private world. Now the themed areas reflect this private world and make it public, validating residents’ experiences and feelings in the here and now.  For example, one resident used to be a post master so the home has a fully working post office, and when a family member visits they can go along together to buy stamps. Great grandchildren now visit more often and stay longer because of the themed areas around the house, buying sweets from the fully functioning shop, feeding the animals or collecting eggs from the chickens or ducks.        


The impact has been that families, friends of all ages are much more relaxed, visits are longer and more meaningful whilst being more frequent – strained relationships are being rebuilt all the time and family and friends are losing the sight of dementia but regaining and valuing the role and identity of their loved one. Residents can tap more easily into memories from their past, giving them grounding and inner peace, when they may be feeling dazed and confused. Many residents are now less dependent on the usage of Anti-Psychotic Drugs.






 “I liked the idea of various different destinations and using person centred activities throughout the home to reduce dependence on medication.  It is important that family visitors come into an atmosphere where they feel  they can take an active role and this idea of universal engagement is excellent. I can well believe that the impact has been very high.”

“Reimagining the space in a home as a physical demonstration of engagement, attention and love towards residents by staff and management.”

"Brown's Field House is an inspiration to all homes caring for those with dementia. It has banished the institutional air, replacing it with themed areas: a working post office, a shop, animals to feed and eggs to be collected. Everyone is amazed by the results. Memories and feelings are stirred, relatives want to stay longer and the National Clinical Director for Dementia was bowled over."


Click here for an account of a visit to Brown's Field House.


Bloom Awards 2011 FINALISTS (in alphabetical order)


Organisation: Avante Care and Support
Location: Court Regis Care Home
Project: Community Gardening
Type: Residential Care Home

Avante Care and Support

Court Regis Care Home encourages the local community to get involved in the life of its care home while getting residents to become more involved within the local community. Residents use the local hairdressers, pub, café, and shops.  Fund-raisers and events (garden fetes, ‘wine and wisdom’ evenings, and seasonal parties) are held in the home and members of the community are encouraged to attend. Local schools, families and friends are encouraged to visit the home as much as possible – up to date information on what is happening in the home is provided through newsletters, emails, photo-walls and announcement boards. People are asked for their advice, opinions and ideas. Local volunteers help in running the home, assisting at events and attaining work experience. Several small businesses have made the home their main local charity with fundraisers organized throughout the year, which in turn helps to promote their business through the home’s newsletters and contacts with local media. (Photographs of residents are shown at fundraising venues to provide visual evidence to people of who they are supporting).  On a social and therapeutic level, residents have benefited greatly, with some now taking part in community life who haven’t been out of the home in nearly two years. The local community is getting to know the residents and stopping to talk to them in the street and local café.  This in turn is creating a greater awareness of the care home, and of dementia in general.



“I liked the way that the whole community was involved in this project – residents, volunteers and businesses and the way that the community came in, but also that residents were supported to re-engage with the local village and were supported to access the pub and café. Simple, replicable ideas that really make a difference.”  

"Court Regis Care Home has been inspired by the Eden Project. It is now a ‘Green’ home and it has a thriving community garden. The key is involvement of the residents: in the running of the home; with the local community; and in working with local businesses."


Organisation: Connect Housing Association
Location: Hawthorn Mill Sheltered Housing
Project Name: Achieving Dreams for Mr. O
Type: Sheltered housing

Mr O.

Mr O, a resident at Hawthorn Mill Sheltered Housing, has been playing the piano, organ and accordion since he was nine years old, and has been composing his own music since was just 20. Mr O, now 90, is looking back on a long life in which he has performed for every sort of social club, sports club and church community. Much of that music has been captured on cassette tapes, but because of their age and the obsolete format they were at risk of being lost forever. Hawthorn Mill staff recruited the help of a computer whiz, a young man called Leon who first visited Hawthorn Mill when he was at the local infant school, who brought along his laptop computer, complete with music transfer software, and working together with  Mr O successfully preserved these precious recordings.  


Mr O’s friends at Hawthorn Mill – staff and residents alike – also wanted to crown a lifetime’s work by helping him recruit a brass band to play his latest composition, the ‘Hawthorn Mill March’, a tribute to his new home. Hearing one of his pieces arranged and played by a brass band has been one of Mr O’s lifelong dreams. The Senior Scheme Manager at Hawthorn Mill, has been consulting with the Yorkshire & Humberside Brass Band Association, and Mr O’s ‘Hawthorn Mill March’ is now being transcribed to a score suitable to for a brass band. Music is central to Mr O’s life, and it provides a wonderful source of motivation for him to think that he’s been able to make a permanent record of his life’s musical work whilst at the same time getting so close to achieving one of his lifelong ambitions. Just as significant has been the impact on the other residents of Hawthorn Mill. He provides a clear example of how motivating and sustaining a hobby can be, and how we are never too old to try new things and reach new heights.



“An inspiring story of how to make one man’s dream come true. Though a very particular example, the work shown in understanding Mr O’s musical aspirations and in going the extra mile to make them happen, should inspire all those providing care and support services to older people to believe in the art of the possible.”

"Mr O lives at Hawthorn Mill sheltered housing in Leeds. He’s composed music for 70 of his 90 years and his dream is to have a piece played by a brass band. Everyone has rallied round and called in favours. All is now ready for the rehearsal and performance of the ‘Hawthorn Hill March’."


Organisation: Greensleeves Homes Trust
Location: Queen Elizabeth House
Type: Residential Care Home

Greensleeves Homes Trust

Queen Elizabeth House has a unique way of encouraging and supporting residents to lead fulfilling lives. Firstly, it encourages staff to get to know their residents by asking about their life stories. Key workers meet up with residents each month to discuss their wishes and needs. Secondly, it gives residents jobs to do. Residents are encouraged and supported to get actively involved in daily activities around the home. They make their beds with staff if they want to. Residents take part in staff interviews. Three of the residents take turn to show prospective residents or relatives around the home and tell them what the home is all about. One resident runs the home’s main office and answers the phone at weekends. Two residents have set up a shop and run it weekly, selling the merchandise, budgeting, balancing the takings, stock control etc. Residents manage the dining room and set tables. Residents water the garden, one resident has a dedicated patch in the garden and manages it with her daughter. Another resident carries out surveys on social activities and provides feedback.  The residents committee is producing an information pack for all the rooms. Relatives are also involved and drive the minibus to take residents on outings, produce newsletters, chair meetings etc.



“A really good example of how to treat people as individuals and how to put them in charge of the care they receive. Simple ideas that could easily be replicated if you are using a person centred approach.”

“A very original approach within a residential care home. I am sure the impact on residents will be significant because of the encouragement to feel useful and active: residents are more likely to form relationships with each other and with staff as a result. “

"Each resident is involved as much as they want in the life of Queen Elizabeth House. They have an email address, and can use a laptop and webcam to connect with relatives. They take part in staff interviews and show people around. Two residents run a shop. And there’s a wishing tree – each month two residents’ wishes come true."


Organisation: Midland Heart
Project Name: Magic Moments
Type: Extra care and sheltered housing

Magic Moments

Residents at Midland Heart's extra care and sheltered housing schemes are offered the chance to experience exhilarating Magic Moments. The project took 130 people on helicopter flights which took in views of the castles at Warwick and at Kenilworth. Three hundred people have been taken to Albrighton Moat and Sensory Gardens where they fished for carp, played croquet and picnicked in landscaped gardens. Other residents have enjoyed canal boat trips, cruising to the Norwegian Fjords on the QE2 and taken a ride on the Orient Express's Northern Belle.  Trips to the West End, the seaside and the Ashes, and the experience of scuba diving, abseiling and looping-the-loop in an aeroplane have all been fun for residents who might usually spend a lot of time at home. Staying active helps residents to stay fitter and happier for longer. One 92-year-old woman looped-the-loop in a Slingsby aeroplane and later enjoyed telling her grandchildren about the experience. She said, "It's a bit different to when I tell them I've been to the hairdressers and had a game of cards with the lady at the end of the corridor."


Magic Moments is also developing scheme-based activities for people who don't feel quite so adventurous including darts and dominoes tournaments, snooker, bowling, arts and craft classes, thai chi, line dancing, Nintendo Wii, garden parties and playing ‘Deal or No Deal’. Due to Magic Moment’s popularity and success within Midland Heart’s extra care housing schemes and sheltered housing schemes, there is a plan to roll out opportunities to the wider community to target older people, who may be able to live independently, but who are isolated and would benefit from the social interaction and enjoyment that Magic Moments provides.



“A great name for a great idea that gives sheltered housing tenants the feeling that the future lies before them. That the project has recently expanded to offer a wider range of activities, and that it is also being rolled out to older people living independently, is testimony to its success.”

"Picture an older person in a Midland Heart extra care or sheltered housing scheme. Picture them with a distant dream to do something they’ve never done or take up a hobby they gave up years ago. Magic Moments realises such dreams: scuba diving, singing along to Mamma Mia or looping the loop in an aeroplane. You stay fitter and happier for longer."


Organisation: St Helen’s Council – Arts Service
Project Name: Art of the Unexpected
Type: Community

St Helen's CouncilArts of the Unexpected engages older and homebound people in arts, poetry and reminiscence activity in the Four Acre Neighbourhood area in St Helens. There is no sheltered housing, care home or extra care settings within the area and so the project takes place in the local library, GP’s Surgery, Community Centres, Church Hall, Bingo Sessions, Local Tesco Store, Schools, 1 to1 activity in people’s homes.


Arts organisation Arthur and Martha deliver a series of workshops encouraging older and homebound people to participate in various activities including writing poetry about people’s life experiences on cakes and plates; working with the local bingo group to create group poems; training school children to become journalists to interview their grandparents or older people in the community about their life experiences; and working with homebound people in reminiscence, poetry and arts activity in their own homes.


Though still in its early stages, the project has already generated positive feedback: 

 “It has been really great to be involved in this project, I never used to think that art was for me! – However being involved in this has been fantastic – it hasn’t really felt like art at all”

“Telling my life story and having read back to me has been a really cathartic experience, it has made me feel like I have had a rich life, a good life, it’s been good to get it off my chest” 



“A really good way to identify really isolated older people who are not in touch with statutory services.”

“A well conceived, executed and documented example of the stimulation and fun that the arts can give.”

"Here is an area of St Helen’s with no sheltered housing, care home or extra care settings but with many isolated older people – people who wouldn’t dream of participating in visual arts and poetry activities in the local library and GPs’ surgery. But they did! And the resulting work is to be exhibited in the centre of St Helen’s."


Bloom Awards 2011 SHORTLIST (in alphabetical order)


Carmarthenshire County Council: “Clwb Iechyd Da” – Good Health Club

Cross Keys Homes: Remain Active – Nintendo Wii Challenge

Edinburgh City Council: Wishing Tree

Genesis Housing Association: The Rainbow Project

Gentoo Living: Croftside House Intergenerational Project

Gwalia Neighbourhood: Swansea Telly Project

Health In Mind: Communities Connecting

Living Lively: Living Lively Choirs

National Youth Theatre of Great Britain: Ghost Office

Orbit South: Wii With Mii

PSS: Trio

Relationships Scotland, Family Mediation South Lanarkshire: Connecting Generations – Grandparents Matter Too

Riverside ECHG: The “Get Digital” Campaign

Sanctuary Housing Association: Sanctuary’s Got Talent

Sanctuary Housing Association: Macklands House Community Triptych Wall Hanging

Sanctuary Care: Identity and Interests / Relationships (Rosary Nursing Home)

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