Gillaroo gardens help clinch a prized ‘best kept’ award

A SEASON of celebration is continuing at Gillaroo Lodge Nursing Home at The Roddens, Larne.

The home is delighted to be starting its silver jubilee year by being named as a runner-up in the prestigious 2012 SuperValu Best Kept Health and Social Care facility awards.

Mrs Liz Rowan, a director in the family-run home, said: “We are delighted to receive the runner-up award on our first attempt of entering this prestigious and well-established competition.

“The judges told us that they were particularly impressed not only with the beautiful aspect from Gillaroo Lodge over Larne Lough, but also with the colourful terraced flower beds on the way in to the home. The credit for the garden is due to my father, owner/director Tom Boyle.

“Although many years past retirement age now, he still takes a very keen interest in planning the two acres of gardens for all the seasons and continues to oversee the work done in the garden.

“His favourite season is the summer. To provide the summer colour he buys really small plants well in advance, then grows them in his greenhouse before they are planted out in the beds. They look amazing every year.

“In addition, this year he has had a water feature refurbished in the garden, and our groundsman suggested putting some fish in the pond. One of our residents has taken responsibility for feeding the fish and really enjoys this.

“The fact that the garden is able to be used for the enjoyment of the residents as well as visitors was, I think another key factor in our success.

“It was a real boost for all of us associated with Gillaroo Lodge that independent judges realised that we pay as much attention to detail in the care of the external surroundings as we do to the standard of care we offer in the home.

“We have now set ourselves a challenge of trying to be the winners in this category next year,” said Mrs Rowan.

Health Minister Edwin Poots congratulated Gillaroo Lodge and the other winners on their success when he was a guest at the awards presentation ceremony.

Minister Poots said: “I would like to congratulate all of the winners in this year’s awards, and applaud them for putting so much effort into maintaining and improving their indoor and outdoor spaces.

“The awards highlight the hard work of health and social care teams, along with their clients, as it is very often a joint effort, and their commitment to making the very best of their shared surroundings,” he said.

. Doreen Muskett MBE, Chairman of NIAC also praised the winners; “The SuperValu Best Kept Awards were established to encourage Northern Ireland’s health and social care facilities to enhance their premises for everyone who uses them. We would like to add our congratulations to the Minister’s and commend Gillaroo Lodge Nursing Home and all of the winning facilities on their success.”

All winners receive a personalized sign, a perpetual trophy and a monetary award towards future projects. Runners up receive a special framed certificate and a monetary prize.

In addition to the ‘best kept’ award, a member of staff at the home has received an award to mark her 10 years of service.

Care assistant Marian McManus originally joined the staff as a kitchen assistant but soon realised she was interested in pursuing a career in caring.

To mark her 10-year milestone, Marian received a gold necklace at a celebratory tea dance at the home. Six members of staff have also received gifts to mark 20 years of service.

As a final bonus to the recent celebrations and awards at the home, Gillaroo Lodge’s cook manager Jenny McMurray was delighted that her kitchen was awarded the top ‘five star’ rating in food hygiene.