‘Ask Jan’ – Forming Community Links

Dear Jan, I’m always reading about how good it is to form links in the local community. We always advertise our events as open to everyone, but it’s unusual for anyone other than relatives to turn up. How can we start forming those links easily?

Maria, Care Home Manager

Dear Maria,

You’re absolutely right – links within the wider community are so important. They benefit everyone. Residents get more social interaction and fun. Your care home staff may form new friendships or recruit keen volunteers, not to mention how good it is to promote your home to potential future residents. It’s also lovely for people within the community to feel connected to a care home – it could bring them a great deal of satisfaction knowing that they are helping others, or bringing joy to the lives of your residents. It may help to equip them with new skills or knowledge, too.

Advertising your care home events locally is a really great way to start, so keep doing this even though you don’t feel it has been successful in the past. Events such as coffee mornings or charity fun days are informal and fun, so they are a great way to invite individuals in without any pressure.Try advertising in a different way to normal – use social media, try putting posters in different shop windows or in local newspapers or magazines. You could also try reaching out to particular groups of people. Perhaps there is a member of staff who has young children that attend a particular playgroup, school or childcare setting; if so, make a point of inviting that specific group of people. Sometimes people are worried about not being the right person to turn up to open events, so a little reassurance or extra effort to encourage them along could be all that it takes.

My daughter recently found some plain white butterflies dotted around her village. The butterflies had been left in a clear plastic pocket with a message saying “You have found one of River View Care Home’s butterflies. Decorate the front and wren your details on the back. Bring it to our summer fete and we will give you a tasty treat! There will be a prize for the best butterflies!”

I thought this was such a brilliant idea. It involves the local community in a really fun, focused way. You could use pre-cut butterfly shapes or make your own in a craft session with your residents. Remember to include details of your event (date, time, location).

Here is a little verse that I have written, that you could use –

Well done, you’ve found a butterfly

Colour me in, give it a try

Bring it along to our special fete

You could win a prize, so don’t be late!

Best wishes,


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