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By Debbie le Quesne

National Open Day – please get on board

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The UK’s care homes are to stage a national open day – great news, but only if we are prepared to join this groundbreaking initiative.

Already homes from Scotland to Cornwall are making plans for the event on 21 June which aims to encourage communities to visit their local care homes and to connect residents and communities together.

It is hoped that as many care homes as possible will join the and it is open to any care home, regardless of whether it is council run, or independent.

For far too long the care home sector has been marred by the negative Press generated by a small number of badly run homes, and here’s an opportunity to show people what residential care is really about.

And this fantastic opportunity gives a chance to make new friends, turn distant neighbours into part of the community in which we live, show the world what good care is and to do something to give us a voice.

At a meeting of our West Midlands Care Association directors last week I was reminded of Sir Digby Jones’s words ten years ago about the care sector. He said: “We are at five to midnight and still don’t have a voice in the corridors of power.”

Although we are much better at presenting a corporate face, there’s still much to do and this event is just one way we can do it.

Don’t you want the world to know that care homes really can be inspiring places, full of unique, intelligent and charming characters, and run by special people that really do care?

The time is now to build thousands of friendships, to change long-held perceptions, to create thousands of memories, and to have a fantastic day that will enrich lives.

Helping to make it all happen are Anchor, Barchester, BUPA, Care UK, Four Seasons Healthcare, HC-One, Care Forum Wales, English Community Care Association (ECCA), Independent Health Care Providers (Northern Ireland), National Association for Providers of Activities for Older People (NAPA), the National Care Forum (England), and Scottish Care

A spokesman for the group said: “The home is free to put on any activities that they think will attract their local community into their homes and we are looking forward to dispelling some of the myths about residential care and showing local people what excellent services are at the heart of their community.”

Please, please, please get involved and if you’re having an event let us know and we’ll post it on our Facebook page. Send out newsletters, emails, put up posters . . . tell the world and its wife we have something amazing to offer.

I am determined to make some positive noise about our care homes, and I so want all of us to be part of it! Stage an event, big it up and let’s be seen and heard.

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