A summerhouse erected during the peak of the pandemic at a South Tyneside nursing and residential care home to provide a safe place for visitors to come and meet their family members has found a new role in helping with the mindfulness and mental well-being of those in its care. 

With the help of South Tyneside Council’s support and some funding for the project, the newly erected summerhouse originally provided a safe bubble for families to meet under strict COVID regulations but now, with the emergence of vaccines and changes in the way that the infection is controlled, the care home has repurposed the specially built shelter into an open-air space that can be used more recreationally for the benefit of the care homes residents.

The summerhouse is located in the grounds of Jarrow’s Deneside Court which provides accommodation and support to adults who have acquired brain injuries, mental health needs, neurological, learning or physical disabilities. Opened in 2013, the home is operated by Careline Lifestyles, an independent provider of high-quality nursing and residential care who manage nine homes spanning an area from Teesside in the south to North Northumberland. Deneside Court received an “overall good” report when it was last inspected by the Care Quality Commission in 2020.

The summerhouse comes fully equipped with everything the resident needs to ensure a safe and accessible visit including a ramp for wheelchair users, power for medical equipment and good protection from the weather on rainy mornings or scorching hot afternoons.

Karen Carrick, Team Leader at Deneside Court said: “Previously, the building was used to bring together our service users and their families. With restrictions being relaxed, we are now using the summerhouse for the benefit of the people we care for.

“Sometimes, just being able to change environment for a short while gives fantastic results in the way that people feel. We are very aware of the positive impact of open spaces and the summerhouse provides a safe, accessible outdoor venue with all the benefits of being indoors.”

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