News & Events

Smiles, art and the smell of coffee

May 6, 2020

The email comes in. Mandy Williamson, Lifestyle Coordinator, prints it out and takes it to the resident to read out loud and hands it across. She’s greeted with a huge smile and a thank you nod before leaving the room to allow the resident to cherish the moment.

“It’s the smile that always gets to me,” Mandy says.

“That and the emails of appreciation from the families.”

Mandy and her team are at the coalface of keeping families and loved ones in touch since OCAV restricted visitors  physically entering Liscombe House because of the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Behind her has been a taskforce of senior managers which is overseeing OCAV’s approach to minimising the risk of the coronavirus in Liscombe House and across the four villages.

Guiding the team has been the extensive infection control management plan which provides an A to Z guide of how to keep disease out to ensure the health and wellbeing of residents and staff.

At the heart of the planning is the understanding of the importance of ensuring the 81 residents in Liscombe House are active so that loneliness and anxiety does not creep in, according to Shaaron Robilliard, Director of Nursing.

“Zoning the wings, ordering in extra PPE, making sure we had enough food supplies, conducting daily temperature checks, providing additional specific training on the coronavirus are crucial,” Shaaron said.

“Equally as crucial are providing many different activities, enabling families to keep in touch, and being there to support everyone through these exceedingly difficult times,” she added.

Which is where Mandy and her team come in. From early March, the team has put in place over 20 activities a week spread over each wing. Once the restricted physical access began in April, they were ready for the window visits, the many emails that were expected, and helping residents out with skype and facetime calls.

“In just two weeks, we have had more than 30 window visits, scores of emails which we read out to residents and send a small note back to their families, as well as making sure every resident gets involved with the activities that we put on,” Mandy said.

There have been regular coffee afternoons each week, different walks around Liscombe House have been organised, a pen pal program has been initiated, birthday cakes baked and shared, and afternoon teas devoured.

“We are at the busiest that I can remember,” Mandy said.

“The smiles, the involvement of every resident in some or all of the activities, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee all make it worthwhile,” she said.

Picture: Norma reading an email filled with pictures and stories from her family.


“Our home has always been a place where family and friends are welcome.  Our cottage at Rushall Park is no different and the community of friends here is important to us and that’s why their work is part of my art box,” Jennifer Barden said.

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