This Saturday, care home residents from across Sussex will be coming together virtually for an online carol concert.
More than 100 homes from across East and West Sussex, as well as Brighton & Hove are getting involved in the interactive event.
Residents and staff will be entertained by the East Sussex Bach Choir, directed by John Hancorn, who will perform live from Kings Church in Lewes. In between performances, residents will be able to join in on a carol or two from the socially-distanced safety of their own care homes.
Any residents who have to remain in their rooms, as well as relatives and other colleagues, can also enjoy the whole event live from 4pm through the MeRAC Facebook page.
Hosted by Malitha Fernandes and Craig Stevens, the event will also be raising money and donations for Sussex food banks chosen by the choir.
Azhar Juri is the manager of Parkview Care Home in Brighton and the chair of the Skills for Care Mental Health Registered Managers Network for Sussex. She came up with the idea for the event. She said: “Since we can’t celebrate as usual, I wanted to put together something that would bring the carols to the residents. This started as a small event for Parkview and as we were organising it more people got involved. After such a challenging year I‘m so pleased we’ve been able to come up with something for residents and care home staff to look forward to.”
Mike Dawney, chair of the East Sussex Bach Choir, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to sing to so many people who will be missing some of the spirit of Christmas this year. Singing for Care Homes across Sussex will be such a pleasure for us and hopefully bring a bit of festive cheer to everyone who joins us online. We hope all residents, carers, friends and relatives will join in singing with us, wherever they are.”
Councillor Sue Shanks, chair of the Brighton & Hove Health & Wellbeing Board said: “Thank you to all the residents for your resilience in such a worrying and uncertain time. It’s great that there’s a safe way to still enjoy some Christmas festivities.”
Councillor Sarah Nield, lead member for adult social care in Brighton & Hove added: “An extraordinary amount of effort has been put in by all to make sure our most vulnerable residents stay safe and well this year. Not just the care staff but also the catering, cleaning, admin and managers that support the homes.”
The online event is a collaboration between the Skills for Care Registered Managers Network in Sussex and Mental Health Recovery in Action (MeRAC), a new local mental health charity that promotes community collaboration. This event is also supported by all the local authorities in Sussex.