As part of our wider Outdoor Spaces feature, we caught up with Chris Stimpson, the Home Manager at Churchfields Care Home, as we learn about their shortlisting for the highly-esteemed ‘Best Outdoor Environment Award’ and the other elements which make the venue stand out in the ambitious care industry.

Churchfields Care Home is a large, beautifully restored residential in the stunning Oxfordshire location of Cassington, and markets itself as having the residents at the centre of what they do. Chris revealed that the centre of their philosophy is that Churchfields is, first and foremost, their residents’ home: “Our values are centred on residents having a sense of purpose and of belonging, to live well, and to find enjoyment. This is supported by ensuring residents have choice, every day, on how they want to spend their time and with whom. Our CQC Outstanding rating reinforces this ethos and the quality of care we provide.”

At Churchfields, they aim to create a home that empowers people to live every day to the fullest: “Providing accessible outdoor spaces that promote both wellbeing and independence are an important part of this.” Chris revealed.

The opportunity to connect with the natural world is paramount to the team and their residents, and Chris explained how they always encourage residents to spend more time in the garden: “Our garden is an important part of why many of our residents choose to reside with us here at Churchfields.

“We were recently shortlisted for a ‘Best Outdoor Environment Award’, for the development of our garden area, including a heated summerhouse, greenhouses and numerous vegetable patches.”

Feedback from prospective residents and their relatives has been that the home’s well-maintained garden is an attractive feature and has been a key factor in Churchfields being their residence of choice. 

Elaborating on some of the features in the garden, Chris explained that a lot of time has been invested in the home’s outdoor spaces, so residents can relax and enjoy the garden areas.

“Residents over the years have also been enjoying our eco-garden to encourage more wildlife to the home, following requests from nature-loving residents.

“The home’s meadow and prairie area feature paths that lead to bird boxes, surrounded by hedgehog homes, and a variety of plants and flowers which are all carefully positioned to make it accessible to residents.”

With many of Churchfields’ residents being keen gardeners, and others loving watching the wildlife coming into the garden, both commons include areas where residents can make the most of the outdoor spaces.

“We have added lots of bird feeders and boxes to invite nature in, and cameras so that we can capture the images to share with the residents.

“Every year we create seed bombs and take residents down to throw the flowers into the long grass so that we can grow wild flowers and encourage nature again. Work is underway for a bowls green which residents are very excited about.”

Churchfields places a high emphasis on maximising their marketing strategy to raise and maintain awareness of the home. This is essential for current residents and their family, plus really helps with increasing occupancy and enquiries.

“Communicating the ethos of our home to potential residents and their loved ones has been essential in ensuring we have consistent enquiries.

“We use Facebook to keep our audience up to date on everything – from what residents had for dinner and trips out to the garden centre, to what happened at the weekly activities class. We also include snippets of interesting information about residents and staff.” Added Chris.

Chris notices how your Facebook followers can become your home’s leading advocates, helping to engage with their own Facebook friends about your home’s quality care provision.

“‘Word of mouth’ as a marketing tool is so important, and Facebook is a great platform for this to be provided digitally.”

The team also use traditional PR and marketing methods to promote Churchfields, such as adverts in local newsletters, regular news distributed to the local press, content-rich website news, and digital advertising: “Our PR agency assists with our PR and marketing activities, and is an extension of our care home.” Said Chris.

With feedback being an important contributor to the growth of any care home, Chris sees that it’s essential to work in collaboration with others so that residents using the service have a better overall experience: “Staff play an active role in working with the residents and their families, and feedback has been extremely positive over the years . This has resulted in a carehome.co.uk score of 9.9/10, which we’re very proud of.”

A recent review of Churchfields comes from Mary T, daughter of a resident; she said: “The staff are always cheerful and sensitive and know the residents well. The garden is beautiful and the home is warm and comfortable.”

What a wonderful note to finish on! For more on Churchfields, visit: www.churchfieldscarehome.co.uk.