Ice and Easy Does It! – Care Home Residents Enjoy the Thrill of Skating

Published on: July 10th 2023

CARE home residents have taken to the ice at a North-East skating rink as part of a pioneering initiative to enrich their lives and keep them as active as possible.

More than 90 residents and carers, including many wheelchair users, from ten different care homes enjoyed a morning of ice skating at Billingham Forum, with one skater describing it as “one of the best days of my life”.

‘Residents on Ice’ was the latest event in Tees Active’s ‘Care Home Legends’ programme, working with care homes across the borough of Stockton-on-Tees to explore a host of opportunities to enable residents to use local venues.

Tees Active is a charitable trust dedicated to improving the physical and mental wellbeing of communities in Stockton-on-Tees and running a host of leisure venues and adventure attractions, including Billingham Forum, Air Trail, and Tees Barrage International White Water Centre.

Care Home Legends is supported by Tees Valley Community Foundation, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, and Care Home Physical Activity Co-ordinators to develop the programme of events throughout the year.

As well as taking to the ice themselves, the residents and carers were also treated to a figure-skating exhibition by Lola Reay, 12, Faith Freeman, 13, and Annalise Jones, 17, who are all performers from Tees Active Sports Academy.

Allan McDermott, Tees Active’s Community Engagement Manager, said: “Residents on Ice is another great example of partnership working, and it was fantastic to see how much care home residents and staff have enjoyed themselves.” 

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Transformation Manager for residential care, Julie Nisbet, who has been supporting the programme, said: “The main outcome was that the residents had a fantastic morning and left with smiles on their faces.” 

Hugh McGouran, Chief Executive of Tees Valley Community Foundation, added: “This event highlights what can be achieved by care home residents and their fantastic staff to change perceptions and create opportunities to increase physical activity levels and improve mental wellbeing.”

One of the residents taking part, Margaret Chaplin, who lives in Ayresome Court Care Home, said: “This morning was absolutely magic.” Another resident from Maple Care Home described it as “one of the best days of my life”.