Chigwell care home extends welcome for festive cuppa and a chat

“No need to be lonely in Chigwell this Christmas!”

A Chigwell care centre, Belmont Lodge, will be opening its doors to members of the local community this Christmas season, as it promises that no-one needs to spend the festive period on their own.

“Christmas is a very hard time for many, particularly older people, who can find themselves feeling lonely and isolated at this time of year, so we’re making a special effort to invite them in for a lovely hot drink, a mince pie and a good old chinwag,” comments centre manager, Maureen McDonagh.  “Our residents always have company around – whether visiting family, fellow residents or our friendly staff – but we know that many people are not so fortunate, so we wanted to share our warm winter welcome with anyone living around the area with an hour or so to spare.”

Residents in the home already enjoy visits from local musicians and school groups, but it is hoped that this festive idea encourages more members of the community to befriend residents, and vice versa.  “For many of our residents, getting out and about is no longer an option, so where possible, we like to encourage people from the outside to come in.  Within the home, we hear some amazing stories from residents – jobs they have done, places they have been – so spending time just chatting is a fantastically rewarding experience,” adds Maureen.

The idea stems from an initiative within the home called ‘People like me’ which encourages conversations between residents of the home, staff and visitors who share common interests – from football to needlecraft, gardening to tattoos!

“People living in their own homes have networks of friends who share common interests, and ‘People like me’ is a great way of finding people who love to talk about similar things with like-minded people,” explains Maureen.  “Who needs social media sites like Facebook and Twitter when you discover that you support the same rugby team as someone you see every day?  We’re now looking to extend this beyond our doors to our neighbours in the community so that they too can connect with our residents, making new friendships and sparking some wonderful conversations over a brew and a biscuit!”

Members of the community are welcome to pop in to the home any time between 10am and 3pm on Wednesday 30 December.  If the open invitation proves successful, Maureen will look to introduce ‘community chat time’ to the home’s weekly event calendar.

Belmont Lodge is located on Fencepiece Road in Chigwell, and offers 24-hour residential care for older people, with a particular specialism in dementia care.  It also provides respite care and post-operative care.  The home has 40 bedrooms, most of which have ensuite facilities, and five day rooms where residents can enjoy views over the beautiful gardens.  The home is one of 13 in the Forest Healthcare family of homes, offering excellent care throughout Greater London and the South East.  For more information, please call 0208 500 5222 or visit


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About Us

Forest Healthcare operates 12 individual care homes, specialising in dementia and neurological rehabilitation services. With Forest Healthcare’s management team all coming from clinical or care backgrounds, the focus of the company is entirely on providing the best possible environments to improve the lives of their clients and families, providing a safe and secure environment that motivates clients to live a full and happy life.