Peter’s reasons to be cheerful in lockdown

Peter loves gardening and before the lockdown he was regularly spotted in town volunteering with the local gardening club. You could often find Peter taking care of the flower beds - much to the appreciation of his local community.

While the lockdown prevents Peter from volunteering, it hasn’t stopped him from enjoying his favourite hobby, safe at home. Peter continues to pursue his passion for gardening at Livability York House, a residential care home where he has lived for nearly seven years.

I really like gardening and baking,” says Peter. “And I especially enjoy eating the cakes once they’re cooked!”  

As a young boy, Peter had a brain injury which meant he needed ongoing specialist support. Peter’s disability means that he has poor short-term memory. To help him remember staff and his daily routines, Peter likes to put things into rhymes.

The staff at York House provide 24-hour care for Peter and the other residents there, who have a range of physical and intellectual disabilities. Helen Holt, manager at Livability York House, is mindful that with the lockdown in place, it’s important for residents to take part in activities (following social distancing guidelines) and, where possible, to continue doing the things they enjoy in the care home.

Peter’s been tending to the flowers at York House,” says Helen, “Although he isn’t able to volunteer with his gardening club, he’s taking part in other activities such as our online quiz nights, baking sessions and exercise classes that we’re running in the home.” 

“Some of our other residents are being shielded at this time and they like to look out the window and see Peter working hard tending to the plants or riding his specially adapted bike around the grounds.”

Another impact of the virus means that Peter’s family are unable to visit him. To help him stay connected to his loved ones, the team at York House provide Peter’s family with regular updates and arrange phone calls for Peter to connect with his relatives.

His sister Anita is thankful for the support Peter gets at York House and, although she misses being able to visit, she says she knows he’s in good hands.

Communities coming together

Like many of Livability’s care homes, York House have received a lot of local support which the team there are really grateful for. From masks provided by a local rugby club to a local sewing club stitching gowns, the local community has helped provide much-needed additional safety equipment to keep the residents safe.

Across the UK, many of Livability’s care homes are celebrating VE day this weekend and are working hard to keep residents smiling during this difficult time. York House is planning activities to commemorate VE Day at home, including an afternoon tea celebration, bunting and listening to songs from the 1940s.

While many local community activities can’t continue as normal during the pandemic, Livability’s care homes are finding ways to entertain residents and keep their spirits high. Livability Treetops, a residential home in Colchester, recently held its first ‘Over the Fence’ concert, with a live music performance from a neighbour’s garden. And other Livability care homes are hosting everything from regular quizzes to online karaoke nights.

Livability needs your help to support residents like Peter

Livability’s is committed to keeping residents at their care homes safe and preventing the spread of coronavirus. The safety measures brought in mean their staff need an increased amount of personal protective equipment (PPE). To date, the charity has spent over £250,000 on equipment such as face masks, surgical gloves and gowns.

Livability have launched an emergency appeal asking for donations to help fund more PPE so they can continue keeping residents like Peter safe in the current crisis.

If you would like to support Livability with a donation:

Text: SUPPORT 10 to 70755 to donate £10 

or visit Livability's website

If you’d like to know more about Livability's work, please call 0207 452 2121 or email

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