Introducing ‘Queenies’ Vintage Tea Room

The team at Queen Elizabeth Park showcase their entry for the Making a Difference Challenge to the judging panel

The team at Queen Elizabeth Park Care Home showcased their entry in response to a competition launched by celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott to come up with new, creative and innovative dining experience for residents that can be sustained in the years ahead.

Queen Elizabeth Park’s entry, ‘Queenies’ Vintage Tea Room, was visited on Tuesday 11th October by the judging panel (constituting of the group Directors). If the home’s concept is shortlisted, Ainsley will visit on October 20th to present them with a top of the range Weber gas barbeque for everyone to enjoy next summer.

All the home’s residents and staff were involved in developing the ‘Queenie’s’ Vintage Tea Room, contributing ideas for décor and for the selection of speciality teas, coffees, cakes and pastries to be made available.

“We have been refining the tea room over the last few months ready for the judging” said Heather De-Ninis, home manager.

“And because we wanted to make this as valuable to the wider community as to our residents, we have been working with Freemantles School in Surrey – for children and young people with complex social communications needs – who send two students every week to serve in the tea room and interact with our residents. We hope that they will gain confidence and experience in a real working environment that may help them find work when they leave school”.

Resident Frank Jupp, age 92 said: “We are overwhelmed by the transformation, it’s very attractive”. Violet Amass, age 92 said: “It’s a lovely place to go and have something really different”. Mary Darke, age 96 said: “It’s so bright and cheerful. I really enjoy spending time there”.

The judging panel was joined by Nigel Manning, the Deputy Mayor of Guildford, local councillor Pauline Searle and Rachel Mason from the Royal Surrey Hospital Charitable Fund. Judges and guests viewed the room, tasted the selection of teas, coffees, cakes and pastries on offer and talked to residents, staff and the children from Freemantles about their view of the concept.

Judge Nicola Coveney said: “The home was asked to come up with something that was involving for the residents and would have a permanent impact on their day to day lives, as well as looking to involve the local community. We think they have done a fantastic job”.

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