A Hastings care home has thrown a family fun barbecue event in its grounds in a bid to rebuild stronger community links and bolster resident morale following the pandemic.

Mountside Care Home, a branch of ACI Care that specialises in residential, respite and dementia care, recently hosted an open barbecue to integrate residents with the local community.

It was organised by the carers at ACI Care, with the home’s chef, Stephen Avery, showcasing his culinary skills by serving up much-loved favourites such as gourmet burgers and sausages in brioche buns, alongside lamb kebabs skewered with lightly roasted peppers.

An Elvis tribute act put smiles on everyone’s faces with his nostalgic renditions of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘Love Me Tender’, which saw residents and guests alike singing along.

Alongside residents’ family and friends in attendance, the event also garnered interest from prominent figures within the community, such as the deputy mayor of Hastings and councillor of Braybrooke Ward, Margi O’Callaghan.

She said: “I was invited to Mountside by a lovely lady named Sheila who lives near me in Silverhill. As deputy mayor of Hastings, I thought it would be a great idea to attend the barbecue. I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw — I felt as if I had stepped into a café almost, rather than a retirement home. Everyone had a wonderful time and I’m really pleased to have been invited.

“I think community events in residential care settings are extremely important, especially after the last couple of years spent in lockdown due to Covid-19. The barbecue was an excellent way of opening the community back up, enabling residents to see more people and begin enjoying life again.”

Ravi Sodha, director of the ACI Care group, said: “At Mountside, we strive to keep our residents entertained to allow them to lead fulfilling lives, and believe events like these are an excellent way of achieving just that. Following the unprecedented outbreak of Covid-19, we were keen to start reintegrating our residents with the local community, as we believe this greatly improves resident morale. Overall, the open barbecue was a huge success and we hope to host similar events in the near future.”

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