ALL ABOARD the Bluewater Express. Destination, Nostalgia.
Staff at Bluewater Care Home in North End have spent the last three years building a vintage train complete with authentic doors and vents sourced from old carriages and TV windows to emulate a moving train.
From there it is hop, skip and a jump to the station’s waffle and ice cream parlour.
Director David Sheppard says the project is all about the clients.
The 64-year-old said: ‘We have lots of people here who have dementia and the things they remember are taking journeys on trains and going to waffle bars and getting ice cream.
‘Nobody plans to go into a care home. You plan to get married and buy a house but not to go into a care home so we want to make it as fun as possible.’
Train experts were drafted in to help architect designer Don Boddy put the train together.
The 72-year-old said: ‘I have worked in lots of care homes but this is truly the one that puts the home in that.
‘This was a fabulous project to work on and David is one of those people who never stops working to make this place as good as it can be.
‘Every time I come back there is something new here.’
Don added: ‘David took one of the residents in the train for a cream tea and she said would they have to be quick and drink it before the train leaves so that just shows how effective this for them.’
Lord Mayor, Councillor Lee Mason officially opened the Bluewater Express and the ice cream parlour yesterday for clients, family, friends and students from Flying Bull Academy.
Care manager Hayley George said: ‘This will mean so much to the people we care for and their relatives as it is important for them to see this is somewhere their family members are being looked after.
‘Some of our clients can’t leave the home and go outside so to have the train and so much to do indoors to keep them entertained is really important.’
The care home are also opening a fairground and sensory garden at the end of the month.