Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Families Matter

Nic, chatting at the Dementia Café

It may surprise you to know that Willow Wood has a growing dementia service focusing on end-of-life care for dementia patients in their own home, and giving support to their carers.

One well-loved extension of this service is our twice monthly dementia café, where patients and carers alike meet to socialise and have fun in a warm and friendly atmosphere.  The cafes, held on the second and fourth Friday of each month, have a planned activity or theme which over the next few months will include a garden party, a sing along, and craft sessions.  There’ll be ‘Play Your Cards Right’ and other games from the golden era of TV game shows, this coming Friday 26 May.

Nic, Willow Wood’s dementia nurse

Of course, our specialist dementia nurse Nic Lavery and her knowledgeable team are always on hand to offer any advice or support needed, and carers could even take advantage of the secure environment to have a relaxing session of reflexology or aromatherapy with one of our qualified therapists.

Nic said, “If you’re caring for someone with dementia please feel free to drop in.  The café is open from 1-3pm and it’s not just for existing patients, it’s open to everyone.  Like all our services it’s free of charge, and we’d look forward to welcoming you and offering any support we can.

“And if you just want to relax and enjoy some quality time together in a warm and sociable atmosphere, then join us for a nice cup of tea, a piece of cake or scone.  You’ll be with people who understand what you’re going through and who will become new friends.  It’s a great way to unwind.”

To check the dates for the dementia café, or to find out more about Willow Wood’s dementia service, just go to  

If you feel that you, or a loved one could benefit from this service please contact Nic by ringing 0161 330 1100.




Longdendale High School, part of the AspirePlus Educational Trust in Tameside, is proud to be the first school in Greater Manchester to be accredited with the AcSEED award, in recognition of the well-being support provided across the school community.

AcSEED is a charitable organisation exclusively focused on promoting the need for high quality emotional wellbeing and mental health support in UK schools and colleges. The award recognises those organisations that can demonstrate their commitment to providing high quality support.

AcSEED was founded by young people, with lived experience of well-being challenges at school.

The well-being framework, defined by AcSEED encourages a whole school approach to emotional development and wellbeing support.

The school have worked closely with consultant, Ali Sparkes from Tameside, Oldham and Glossop MIND, to develop a successful whole school approach to supporting well-being.

The AcSEED assessment team were impressed by the comprehensive wellbeing support provided by Longdendale High School, and by the wide range of wellbeing information, education and support provided to staff, students and families.

Julie Noble, Senior Inclusion Leader at the school said, “Longdendale have always had a strong focus on the continuous improvement of our well-being provision. Both the school and the AspirePlus Trust have a highly inclusive approach to education and understand that young people, families and staff all need as much support as possible to meet the demands of 21st century life.”

The picture shows the celebration event hosted at Longdendale where the award was presented by Ali Sparkes from MIND to Julie Noble, accompanied by Matthew Bowler, CEO and Andrea Jones, Headteacher, Sarah Linari, Deputy Headteacher, Catherine France, Inclusion Coordinator, Deputy Head Boys; Ciaran and Teddy and Deputy Head Girls, Jaya and Jade.



Sharon (left) and Donna are waiting to welcome you!

It’s widely acknowledged that Willow Wood, like many charities, could not continue its work without support from volunteers.  We currently have a wonderful team of around 650 volunteers who help in many different ways.

One area, however, where we really want more volunteers is in our retail division.  With eight shops, two cafes and a huge distribution centre all needing to be staffed six, or in some cases seven days a week, there are always roles to be filled.

Sharon Hodgkiess, retail operations manager, said “Our shops, cafes and distribution centre are always very busy, and whether you’d like to help in a town centre shop dealing with customers or would rather be behind the scenes we’re sure to have a role to suit you.”

Donna Fitton, community volunteer officer agreed. “You don’t need to have experience as training is given.  All you need is a friendly smile, a willingness to help and you’ll fit right in with our great team.”

If you’re interested in volunteering just drop in your nearest Willow Wood shop and have a chat to the manager.  We can even arrange a trial taster day to see how you enjoy it! 

Alternatively, go to the volunteering page at to find out more and to download a volunteer application form.





Sue (left), presenting Gill with the legacy

Willow Wood is very grateful to all our supporters out in the community, and this week we received a wonderful donation – a legacy for £20,000.

This was left to the Hospice by Ray Stubbs, who last year attended our Day Services START Clinic for just seven weeks.  In that short space of time Ray, who had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, enjoyed four complementary therapy sessions and then joined our O2 café which is for patients with breathing difficulties.

It is a real testament to our staff and our services that Ray included such a wonderful legacy in his will.  Indeed, his executor, Sue Turner was charged with presenting the cheque to the START Clinic’s staff nurse Gill Wills as, in his own words, “Gill is Willow Wood to me”.

£20,000 is a huge sum, and will pay the Hospice’s running costs for nearly three days, enabling us to provide our loving care to more people like Ray.  We do understand that few people are able to leave legacies as large as that, but every single penny we receive in donations is appreciated just as much.

And if this story has made you think about making, or updating your will, remember our Will Week coming soon between the 21 – 26 May, when our partner solicitors and will writers will not charge a fee.  Instead, they will ask for a donation to Willow Wood.

Find out more at



A KITCHEN fire at a Wythenshawe home overnight forced a mother of two children to call Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS).

Crews responded to the call from a property on Penarth Road at 1.47am and three fire engines – two from Wythenshawe station and one from Withington – were quickly at the scene.

Four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus had to use a ventilation fan to clear the kitchen of smoke before battling the flames with an extinguisher.

The fire, caused by a chip pan left on a stove, had spread with the extractor fan above the range also catching alight.

The three occupants required treatment for smoke inhalation at the scene before being taken to Wythenshawe Hospital by North West Ambulance Service.

GMFRS were at the house for just over an hour.

Watch Manager at Wythenshawe station, Gareth Lover, said: “Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service responded swiftly once called and we were on the scene in less than 10 minutes. A mother in her forties and her two children, a girl in her twenties and a boy aged 11, were still at the house. We looked after them while we tackled the blaze – there was a significant amount of smoke and we understand attempts had been made before our arrival to extinguish the flames.

“Remember, if your pan catches fire the important thing is not to panic and not to take risks. Don’t move the pan, and never throw water or use a water fire extinguisher on a hot fat fire. If it’s safe to do so turn off the heat.

“Leave the kitchen, close the door behind you, tell everyone else in the home to get out and don’t go back inside for any reason. And call 999 immediately.”

Most house fires start in the kitchen. Please help us to keep you and your family safe by reading the information on the GMFRS website.

Karen Vallantine (centre, back) with members from the clinical team

Willow Wood is delighted and extremely proud to have been shortlisted for the first ever Greater Manchester Health and Care Champion Awards. This nomination, in the category ‘People’s Champion’ is for outstanding commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of others.

Head of Clinical Services Karen Vallantine said: “To have been shortlisted from nearly 400 nominations is an honour in itself, and we are absolutely thrilled.  The award really sums up our ethos, Willow Wood is all about improving and enhancing the lives of our patients and their families. Every member of our team is committed to making a difference.”

Chief Executive Karen Houlston agreed, “Our staff and volunteers are our biggest asset, and I feel so proud that they have been recognised in this way by our community.    They really do go that extra mile to provide outstanding care.”

The judging panel will be made up of heath and care leaders from across the region, and the winners will be announced on Friday 13 July at the awards ceremony at the Museum of Science and Industry.


Photo: Karen Vallantine (centre, back) with members from the clinical team.

L-R John Longworth, Court of Protection and Powers of Attorney team members Lynda Williams and Hannah Thomas, and David Hilton.

A solicitor who has clocked up more than 50 years at Bromleys has stepped down as head of the Tameside law firm’s flagship team in line with its succession plan.

John Longworth, 70, who joined the firm in 1967, has handed over the reins of the 10-strong Court of Protection and Powers of Attorney team to David Hilton.

David joined Bromleys last year as a senior associate from Irwin Mitchell.

John continues to practise at Bromleys as a solicitor, acting for clients who lack the mental capacity to manage their own property and financial affairs.

He began his career with the firm – which was then known as Bromley Hyde & Robinson – as a clerk earning £6 a week.

The married father-of-three, who has four grandchildren, became a partner in 1977 and rose to become senior partner, a post he held for 15 years until 2013.

Outside of work, John is a non-executive director – and former chairman – of Vernon Building Society and with his wife Diana is an active fundraiser for Community Action Nepal, a charity which helps the mountain people of Nepal.

In his younger days John was a keen climber and has reached the summits of mountains such as Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Machu Picchu in Peru and others in the Himalayas and the Alps.

He said: “When I reached 65 I stepped down as senior partner but agreed to carry on as head of the Court of Protection and Powers of Attorney team until the time was right to hand over.

“We recruited David last year and saw him as the right person to be my successor.

“I’m continuing to work closely with him and the rest of the department as a solicitor, with an active caseload.

“I have always gained a lot of satisfaction from helping people who are in substantial need of support. In my own way I hope I have helped to enhance and improve their lives.

“I’d definitely recommend a legal career to young people – it’s rewarding and you can make a real positive difference.”

David specialises in all aspects of Court of Protection work and is on the national committee of the Court of Protection Practitioners Association.

He said: “I have had the privilege to work alongside some of the biggest names in Court of Protection, and John is top of my list.

“I have a lot to live up to as the new head of department, but John has supported me over the last 12 months and the transition has been remarkably seamless.

“The department has tremendous strength in depth and rivals any other in the north west.

“We continue to expand and attract new sources of work while also cementing our partnerships with existing work referrers.

“The future is very bright and I am committed to building on John’s legacy.”

For more information visit

Bromleys’ media contact is Kevin Feddy on 0161 300 8543 or 07770 543112, or



Children in Denton have donned hi-viz vests to become “Junior PCSOs” and warn motorists about the dangers of inconsiderate parking outside their school.

Russell Scott Primary School pupils, supported by Tameside Council parking enforcement officers, Greater Manchester Police officers and school staff, handed out information leaflets to drivers asking them to park responsibly.

It’s part of the Denton school’s ongoing campaign, to tackle problems on neighbouring streets.

A small number of parents have been causing issues by parking across entrances, on footways and on ‘keep clear’ markings, which obstruct crossing points and reduces visibility. Some even park with their engines running, causing an environmental hazard.

The latest initiative has been developed and instigated by the school following a series of meetings with parents concerned about the safety of their children.

Head Teacher Steve Marsland has already written to parents and patrolled outside the school in an attempt to alleviate issues.

“Children’s safety is every school’s priority and road safety and inconsiderate parking is a problem for most of us,” he said.

“The Junior PCSO scheme we have initiated, is giving the children a strong voice and allowing them to take responsibility within their community using their work on pollution and road safety, to challenge the mums and dads to be more considerate during the school run and where possible, encourage them to walk to school. If it has the positive outcomes that we believe it will the scheme could be rolled out by schools across Tameside.”

Assemblies have also taught pupils how to stay safe on the road, the importance of responsible parking and having regard to pedestrians and other road users.

The aim of the initiative is to make drivers think and act responsibly, with enforcement only being used as a last resort. It’s hoped that children handing out warnings, in the style of parking tickets, will shame persistent offenders into changing their behaviour.

Russell Scott is continuing with the scheme over the next few weeks and GMP will issue enforcement notices if problems persist. The effectiveness of the initiative will be reviewed after May half term.


As the season draws to a close, Curzon Ashton FC has revealed their new admission prices for the 2018/19 season! 

As a community club, their aim is to provide affordable football for all, from juniors to OAPs, students to carers and everyone in-between in the hope that their new initiatives and prices will cater to all!

Early bird season tickets are available now to pre-order, so don’t miss out on a fantastic opportunity to be part of Curzon Ashton’s journey next season.

* Prices subject to National League North status.*

 Season Tickets

 Adults: £180- Early Bird

           £220 – Full Price

 OAPs: £90 – Early Bird

           £110 – Full Price

Students*: Pay what you can afford – register for a free season ticket which will allow you to pay what you can afford at every Curzon Ashton home game.

(£3 donation recommended per game, minimum £1 donation for entry, student ID required.)

U16*: Free – U16 can now register for a free season ticket.

(The U16 season ticket will also allow half price entry to every home game for one accompanying adult.)

General Admission

Adults: £12

Concessions (OAPs & Students): £6

U16: £3

Carers: Free

(Please note the deadline for Early Bird season tickets is Friday 1st June!)

*PWYCA offer applicable to students at Tameside, Ashton, Oldham & Clarendon College & Uni of Manchester, Manchester Met & UCFB.

* U16 season ticket offer applies to those with a Tameside/Oldham postcode.

To register for a season ticket please contact Andy Cheshire:  

Don Newton (l), Pat Walklate (third right) and Martin Willescroft (second right) at the laying of the Willow Wood keystone in 1998

Unbelievably, its 25 years since the Appeal for funds to build Willow Wood was launched back in 1993.  The very first meeting was held on 28 April and the first fundraising event, a Sequence Ball, held less than a month later on Thursday 20 May 1993.

Thanks to the dedication and commitment of the team of volunteers, including Martin Willescroft who is president of our board of trustees and Pat Walklate who still volunteers as a receptionist, the £2million needed to build Willow Wood was raised.  Of course, there were many staunch supporters who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, notably the late Peter Wood and the late Sydney Rogerson, and Don Newton the chairman of the Appeal who later became the first chairman of Willow Wood.

Martin Willescroft, Pat Walklate and Don Newton in the Willow Wood gardens, April 2018

The trustees, the staff, the volunteers and all our past and present patients and their families extend sincere and grateful thanks to everyone who supported this Appeal.  As Karen Houlston, chief executive said, “Without their generosity and commitment Willow Wood would not have been built, and without their continued support we could not continue our loving care for the people of Tameside and Glossop.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”