We are our Community!
In this section we take a look at one of our volunteer locations and why they became a Safe Place.
Six Island Healthcare
Six Island Healthcare care homes across the Isle of Wight join the national network of Safe Places
Have you ever felt alone and vulnerable when out and about in a town or village on the Isle of Wight? Perhaps lost and unable to find your way to your destination or afraid that something or someone could cause you harm in some way? If this has never been something that you have experienced then I’m delighted but there are many people for whom even a trip to the bus station to get to work or meet friends, makes them feel vulnerable and scared.
I’m Maggie Bennett, proprietor and director of Island Healthcare Ltd, providing care and support services for 160 people living with dementia and others with complex health conditions that require nursing care. We also offer a service for people living in their own homes in our Community Hubs.
I am the Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer Café Isle of Wight CIO charity, which provides education about dementia for people living with the condition and their families and friends, in friendly, social settings. People come together to learn and share experiences about living well with dementia in our communities.
It is my work as a director of Inclusion Outright CIC, a small community interest company that develops creative solutions for education around safeguarding, where I have been privileged to work with expert colleagues here on the Island, who are also passionate about Safe Places.
Throughout my 35 year career, working in health and social care settings, with people from all walks of life, the most important thing I have learned is that each and every one of us is different and that our hopes and aspirations never follow the same pathway. Most of all, the issue people bring up most when asked about ‘what a good day might look like’ for them, is the ability to feel free and to continue to truly ‘live’ in their homes and communities, not just exist. I believe that a network of safe places across the Island (and the whole country) is just a small part that people with premises and a desire to be helpful, can do, to support that feeling of freedom by unobtrusively and non-judgementally offering a friendly face, a cup of tea and a safe place to just take some time out or make a phone call or network with someone who can help. Our care homes are open 24/7, there is always someone there to welcome people, at any time of the day or night.
One of our homes welcomed an older lady, with dementia, a couple of nights a week when she would pop across the road from her flat, sometimes in her nightie, knock on the door and enjoy a cup of tea and some company for a little while before being escorted back home by one of the staff. It made her feel safe and eventually she came for the day a couple of times a week and then moved in when the time came for her to feel she needed more help.
The Isle of Wight is considered to be a beautiful and safe place to live, work and bring up young families. As a native of the Island, having been born, brought up and educated here, I am fiercely protective of our sense of community. Island Healthcare is therefore very proud to be part of this brilliant initiative for our Island.