Southsea charitable nursing home marks 125 years of 'exceptional' care

A special celebration has been held at the Home of Comfort Nursing Home, Southsea, as staff and residents marked its 125th anniversary.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 12:56 pm

A birthday party with tea, cake and a host of fun-filled entertainment was provided to the home’s 28 residents and team of ‘exceptional’ staff at the charitable registered home at Victoria Grove.

The home was founded in 1896 by Deaconess Mother Emma Marrett Day when she grew concerned about the many lonely people who had no one to care for them at the end of their lives. And after moving to London in her 20s Emma discovered there was nothing comparable in Portsmouth, to which she moved in 1884, to support its growing population.

The anniversary celebrations were attended by the lord mayor, Councillor Frank Jonas, the lady mayoress, Joy Maddox, and Lady Clarendon from the Queen Mother’s Clothing Guild, a charity which provides blankets and clothing to the home, two entertainers and the charity’s trustees.

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Home of Comfort staff member Magdalena Jones, resident Eileen Fryer, and staff member Sandra Hinks. Credit: Home of Comfort

Staff, residents and their families were thoroughly entertained with music, dancing and entertainment from a man making balloons and a ukulele singer.

Trustee Sue Smy from Southsea says: ‘The residents loved it. They absolutely came to life when the music played. We had someone playing on the guitar and they came to life and sang.

‘Not all of them obviously because not all of them could. But those who could really took part. It was lovely.’

Home of Comfort caters for residents with varying degrees of care needs from end-of- life care to people with chronic illnesses and those with health implications brought on by old age where their families can no longer provide the level of care necessary.

Staff cutting the cake on Home of Comfort's 125th anniversary. Picture: Sam Stephenson

To commemorate this special occasion, matron and manager Deepa Anil hosted an awards ceremony for the ‘exceptional performance’ of the home’s staff during the pandemic.

She announced her ‘immense pride’ for her team in Portsmouth.

Two members from the domestic team, Jan Wilson, of Dean Street, and Sally Barker, of Hatfield Road, Southsea, were handed long service awards for their hard work and dedication at Home of Comfort.

Jan received her award for her 20 years of service with the home and Sally for 10 years.

Home of Comfort staff and guests dressed in period clothing.

A further 10 awards were also given to the Portsmouth staff for their performance coping during the pandemic with staff also making their own nominations for those who went that extra mile in the unforeseen circumstances of the past two years.

Staff applauded for their efforts were Manisha Patel, Marie Thomson, Sally Barker, Stephen Swain, Eleanor West, Angela Morrison,

Kate Kwizera, Maria Vivit, Nazma Bibi and Salaha Bari.

Jay Maddow, Lady Clarendon and Mayor Cllr Frank Jonas. Picture: Sam Stephenson

Nominations awarded by staff went to Eleanor West and Magdalena Jones from the activities team.

Sue has been a trustee for the home for the last 12 years and a chair trustee for the last five.

After the ‘fantastic’ care provided to her own mother at the home she was spurred on to support the home herself.

‘I feel very thrilled about our anniversary. My mother was in our care initially for two years and then a couple of years later I was asked to be a trustee.

‘I thought yes they’ve done a lot for my mother and I’d like to support them.’

Sue puts the home’s successes down to the commitments made by staff.

Celebrating in front of Home of Comfort, Southsea.

She says: ‘We have a very steady group of staff. Many of them have been here for years. That helps, but it also helps when new staff come.

‘They settle in very easily and everybody works together here. The trained staff and the carers work together very successfully. We’re all here for one purpose and that is because of the residents.

‘I think the fact we’re a charity and not owned is better. We only take what we do to actually run it efficiently and we're not here to make a profit so we charge less than a lot of homes in the area.

‘The staff are very dedicated and we have a lot of staff who stay a very long time.

Sue shares how ‘lovely’ it was to finally come together again on November 30 to celebrate after the difficulties planning events due to Covid.

‘We haven't had any celebrations at all since the pandemic. It was lovely to finally come together. It was great having the lord mayor here and Lady Clarendon and everybody was relaxed and able to sing along with the music and eat their delicious cake and all the other things which were provided.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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