Coronation fun and community

The Huntington & Langham Estate pulled out all the stops for the King’s Coronation. Bunting and face painting brought back memories for many of the Queen’s Coronation street parties from 1953, while the Coronation quiche sparked conversation about traditions both new and old.

Events such as the Coronation are perfect opportunities for people who live and work in care homes to come together as one. Creating decorations together, painting each other’s faces, and chipping in with food preparation; it is not just a good excuse for a celebration (although of course it is!) but a reminder of everyone’s ability to contribute to their community.

Coronation face painting

The Huntington and Langham Estate encourages this type of mutual interaction daily by following a 100-point checklist, which is externally audited by Meaningful Care Matters to ensure it is embedded into the care culture.

Point No. 7 in the checklist is Two-Way Giving, which promotes people living in the home to offer love, care and support to the people working in the home.

This role reversal, of sorts, might sound mundane, or even a little odd, to people independent enough to cook, craft and communicate themselves, but for people in need of care, particularly specialist dementia care, it can bring much needed meaning to their lives and a feeling of being a help rather than a hinderance, which is a fear of so many.

Coronation fun

Not all septuagenarians can be king and serve their country, but even the most reliant care home residents can contribute more than they are often given credit for. Let the Coronation be a reminder that no-one is too old to serve, even if it is a slice of quiche!

You can find out more about our approach to Dementia Care HERE

April Newsletter from the H&L Estate

April seems to have gone by in a flash with lots of visitors to the Estate.  We have been delighted to welcome lots of visitors to Huntington House and Langham Court this month, as well as a few unusual guests waddling along the corridors!

Seeing the delight of those living in Huntington House, was a great reminder of the power of animal therapy.... 

Animal Fun On The Estate

March Newsletter from the H&L Estate

The residents at Huntington House have been busy again this month with a visit from Dolly Pots, who run mobile ceramics painting sessions, painting and generally enjoying their hobbies.

Around the Estate whilst the signs of Spring are slowly appearing, earlier in the month we had a blanket of snow, and captured some stunning photos all available in this months newsletter:

Around The Estate

Love is in the care

The origins of Valentine’s Day

As with many traditions, there are several theories about the origin of Valentine’s Day. One version claims that Saint Valentine restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter and gave her a letter signed ‘Your Valentine’.


Care with hope and love

The team at the Huntington & Langham Estate may not be able to restore people’s eyesight, but they regularly give similar gifts of independence, hope and love to people who need support in various aspects of their lives.

Giving people the freedom of feeling independent is a key part of the Butterfly approach to caring for people living with dementia in Langham Court where care works both ways. Care is not something that should be done to people, but rather an act of kindness that gives everyone a sense of purpose.

Crafting cards and arranging flowers to give as gifts is more than just a fun activity for Valentine’s Day, but an act of kindness that enables people living at Langham Court to care for others even when they need care themselves.

Hearts and craftsLove letters


From Care Home Resident to Managing Director

Growing up on The Huntington and Langham Estate, where his mother Marylin created our two specialist care homes in Surrey, gave Charlie a unique upbringing. Charlie now runs the family business and describes how his special upbringing has shaped his career.

As MD of Huntington House which offers Residential Nursing Care and Langham Court a Specialist Dementia Care Home, Charlie shares his journey from being a young care home resident to Managing Director and why he is so passionate about the holistic care they offer residents of both homes.

Located in Hindhead these family focused care homes are accredited Dragonfly and Butterfly homes and rated Good by the Quality Care Commission.

Professional Elderly Care in Surrey: Celebrating Our Award Shortlistings!

At our professional elderly care home in Surrey, we’re delighted to share some news with you!

This month, we’re celebrating our shortlisting in several categories in the regional Great British Care Awards, as well as at a national level in the Caring UK awards — two of the care sector’s leading forms of recognition.

Recognising Professional Elderly Care: The Awards

We’ve been shortlisted in four categories at the Great British Care Awards, including The Care Home Registered Manager Award for Maggie, who oversees Huntington House, as well as the The Dignity in Care Award, The Care Employer Award and The Care Team Award.

We’re also shortlisted at a national level in the Caring UK Awards, with our team at Langham Court gaining recognition for their hard work in dementia care. 

The format of the Great British Care Awards sees them celebrate the achievements of regional professional elderly care services, before the regional winners then compete at a national level – so this is an incredibly exciting opportunity for all at the estate!

Professional Elderly Care - Cosy living room at Huntington House in Surrey

Professional Elderly Care: Reflecting on the Past Year

The past couple of years has been incredibly difficult for everyone in the healthcare sector – so to be recognised at this point in time truly is an achievement.

Charlie, our director, said: “Being shortlisted in a leading industry award is always something to celebrate, but to be shortlisted in five separate categories really is fantastic and the team here are delighted. Everyone has worked so hard in the last 18 months to overcome the challenges of the pandemic, so to receive recognition for the services we’ve been providing during that time is a really wonderful feeling and we’re enormously excited at the prospect of winning.”

The Great British Care Awards will take place on the 6th November at the Hilton Hotel in Brighton — with the Caring UK Awards following later in the year on the 2nd December at an awards ceremony, hosted by Emmerdale actor Dean Andrews, at The Athena in Leicester.

Both events intend to celebrate those who have gone above and beyond in the care industry and will offer the opportunity for care providers across the UK to reflect on their resilience throughout the pandemic.

Charlie added: “The interviews that have occurred as part of the award shortlistings offered a moment of reflection for all the positives that we, as a team, have achieved during 18 months of dealing with almost relentless challenges. It’s so important to take stock at times like this, and whether or not we win, I am immensely grateful to have had everyone at the estate by my side through the ups and downs of the pandemic.


Countryside exterior at Huntington and Langham Estate in Surrey


“Our team have done a magnificent job under the most trying of circumstances to deliver consistently excellent care throughout the pandemic and it’s all thanks to their hard work and dedication that we’re in the running. So I’d like to say a huge thank you to them for their efforts, and in particular, Maggie and Anita who have done a tremendous job in managing their respective teams. Fingers crossed for the win!”

At the estate, we’d like to thank everyone who has supported us so far throughout our journey. Without our wonderful residents, family members and dedicated staff, we certainly wouldn’t have made it this far. 

If you’d like to find out more about our professional elderly care home, please do browse our website.


Alternatively, to book a tour today, please contact a member of our team.

Creating connections – that’s what it’s all about

I recently came across a lady who calls herself Granny Skills, and who is on a mission to preserve the skills, knowledge and traditions of her elders.

Granny skills

There has certainly been a resurgence in ‘granny skills‘ recently, and she alone has written five books on the subject and has tens of thousands of followers on social media.

Yet here we are, seeing the same elderly people who have these skills suffering from loneliness and boredom, often developing depression as a result. Yes, care homes help combat some of this with their communal living and 24/7 staff, but there’s so much more that could be being done.

Creating connections

It’s all very well having people around but unless you have connections with those people you can still feel lonely. I moved to London when I was younger and hated it – I lasted six months. I was surrounded by people but have never felt so lonely. I didn’t know anyone, or maybe more importantly, no-one knew me.

Care homes can be similar. With the majority of interactions being with people who are paid to look after you, it can be tricky to break down that ‘us and them’ barrier and form meaningful relationships.

When you need help with intimate personal care, you’d be forgiven for not wanting to invite the carers to sit down and have dinner with you afterwards. Likewise, carers are often encouraged to remain professional and not blur the lines between their personal lives.

Our Butterfly Model of care, however, promotes ‘attached professionalism’, which encourages the people who live and work here to be real with each other – to share their lives with each other.

I might have never known that Mrs Coley (who lives at Huntington House) made lace – she keeps herself to herself, like many of her generation – but I just happened to mention that my daughter, Rose, had started learning to sew and we struck up a conversation. One thing led to another and Mrs Coley invited Rose to come and see her lace-making in action. I’m not sure Rose quite has the patience to make lace yet (she’s only four years old!) but when she spotted her name on one of the commemorative bobbins in Mrs Coley’s collection, she was so excited.

We’ve arranged to get together again so Rose can bring in her own sewing to show Mrs Coley, and I think they’re both as excited as each other about it. I might be biased, but in my opinion, these inter-generational connections are the way forward for adult social care.

Whether it’s Ben, a Duke of Edinburgh volunteer, playing the piano for Mr Southgate, a former jazz musician, or Helen, a Greek national working as a laundry assistant, listening to Mrs Bond, a WWII survivor, recount stories of how she narrowly missed being bombed while on ‘lookout’ in Bath, the connections are always mutually beneficial.

The key is creating opportunities for these connections – a positive staff culture, volunteer visits, and liaising with local schools and nurseries etc. – and enabling them to happen as part of everyday life in a care home. It is often group activities such as quizzes and bingo that are considered the key to tackling loneliness, but while they will always have their place, I believe we should be tapping into the potential of each individual interaction to make people feel truly befriended.

Pets are welcome to join the Huntington & Langham family

A parrot who wasn’t shy of using the F-word and a cat with a sixth sense for when someone was close to the end of their life are just a couple of the pets I remember living with people at Huntington House over the years. Sadly, we couldn’t keep the parrot (I couldn’t understand why at the time – I must have been about six years old and didn’t understand the swearing), but I believe it is still behind the scenes at Birdworld to this day.

So, Shelley, the friendliest Bearded Collie you’ve ever met, is an absolute delight to look after in Langham Court. Since Langham Court opened in 2013, we’ve had a couple of resident cats, but Shelley is the first dog and is already making friends with Basil, the hairdresser’s sausage dog (who incidentally used to belong to someone living in Huntington House).

Pre-admission pet assessment

Shelley was subject to a pre-admission assessment and is currently on her probation period to ensure she settles in and gets on with everyone, but so far, so good! If she isn’t found lying in the lounge next to the fire (not a real one – but she doesn’t have to know that), she’ll be out walking around the grounds with her owner, Carol, or any one of the staff who all but queue up to take her out.

When I first met Shelley and Carol, we ended up chatting about my own dog, a six-year-old black Labrador, Poppy, who is still so excitable she often gets confused for being a puppy. Carol said I should bring her in to meet Shelley. I told her that the last time I tried that, within the first 30 seconds of being in the building, she wrapped herself around the cable to the computer monitor on the reception desk and nearly destroyed the place. Maybe in a couple more years, she said. I thought even that sounded optimistic, but I agreed, in principle.

Like with every aspect of life in a care home, risk assessments and common sense need to be exercised at all times, and we were a tad concerned when a recent enquirer had a pet pig that lived in the house (and then a bit disappointed to learn that it belongs to another family member and wouldn’t be moving in after all), but we have never had a blanket ‘no pets’ policy like many care homes do.

The benefits of pets for wellbeing

There has long been an understanding of the benefits of pets to people’s wellbeing and the sense of purpose it brings to be able to continue to look after pets when perhaps you are unable to look after yourself or have lost elements of your own independence, but these benefits are often not considered to outweigh the risks, such as infections, allergies, and trips/falls.

However, our model of care is based on the understanding that ‘Feelings matter most’ and that a positive risk taking philosophy can minimise risks while also ensuring that people can retain aspects of their life that are important to them, even when they have to move into a care home – it’s care without compromise.

There’s no business like snow business…

MD’s Musing

I used to have a love-love relationship with snow. Now it’s more love-stress. As an organisation, we’ve always offered lifts to our staff in our 4×4 in adverse weather, but with constantly increasing staffing numbers and the company’s 7-seater 4×4 in the middle of a repair job last week, the snow presented a particular logistical challenge this time.

With around 50 staff on duty over 24 hours and nearly 10 different shift changes across the various departments, it meant driving for the best part of 18 hours on Friday. Throw a couple of fallen trees into the mix, which blocked our drive, and it was probably a 20-hour shift for our stoic maintenance team.

Our maintenance Hero’s

Short of giving them an actual medal and thanking them on bended knee, I’m not quite sure how we can recognise such a valiant effort. Overtime rate and a box of biscuits doesn’t seem enough for the role they played in keeping everyone safe and sound.

Perhaps listening to them about how we can improve things for next time, and putting a more robust strategy in place that doesn’t rely so heavily on one or two vehicles and people is the kindest thing to do.

During my last driving shift on Saturday evening I was contemplating what takeaway I was going to pick up on my way home only to find our local village had turned into a ghost town. The takeaways and even the off-licence had closed early. And then the responsibility of our situation really struck me.

Open all hours

We can never simply shut our doors and close for the day. A nurse half an hour late for their shift could delay a time-specific medication for someone with Parkinson’s disease. And being short of care staff could put someone recovering from a stroke at risk of a pressure sore and infection.

By Sunday morning, everyone managed to make it to and from work under their own steam, for which I was extremely grateful, and remember thinking that I’ll never take people simply turning up for work for granted again!

Times like these really highlight what an amazing team we have, and how fortunate we are to have people working for us who put other people before themselves.

So, all that was left to do was spread some salt one last time before tentatively checking the weather forecast to make sure the temperature was indeed due to stay above zero for the foreseeable. Long may it last.

All the best,


Seeing the world of care through new eyes

MD Charlie Hoare shares his thoughts on the importance of putting yourself in the shoes of someone else to truly understand their reality.

Blindfolded role play.

Perhaps not the first thing you’d associate with a care home. But it’s something that happens quite regularly here at the Huntington & Langham Estate.

A lot of our training for staff focuses on empathy, and when asked what empathy means to them, the answer is often “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes”.

This is great in principle, but not so easy in practice given that our team members have never lived in a care home, permanently lost their independence or been at the end of their life.

Role play can temporarily immerse you into a life unknown. It can create unexpected feelings and highlight aspects of life we didn’t realise we took for granted.

Dining in the Dark

I once went to a ‘Dining in the Dark’ restaurant and spat out a perfectly edible salad leaf covered in dressing as it felt like I’d put a slug in my mouth. I felt an unexpected vulnerability – my mind went into a state of panic with each mouthful after that salad leaf.

The main benefit of role play is that it takes you out of your comfort zone and into a place where it’s so easy to feel as though you’re no longer in control. Whether it’s being assisted to eat, walk, dress, wash, or whatever, being the other side of the care helps staff to realise how fine the line is between enabling and disabling.

Is there too much food on the fork? Am I giving the next mouthful too soon? Have I explained what it is? If you’re helping someone to eat and not asking yourself these questions then I’d suggest it’s time to don the blindfold.