Black History Month

For Black History Month 2017, Birmingham care home Otterburn have run a series of activities and lessons with service users. At the heart of a diverse community, Otterburn’s residents are of various faiths, backgrounds and race. It is important to the home for everyone to share their backgrounds, educate one another, listen, learn and enjoy.


Otterburn have also had a visit this month by Community Worker, Patsy. Regularly visiting care homes and day centres, Patsy usually provides nostalgia sessions to those with Alzheimer’s and other progressive conditions. Patsy began creating interactive slideshows to present to a variety of service users. Having been contacted by her relative who works at Otterburn to present a lesson on Black History, Patsy was more than happy to accept.Kicking off their celebrations in style, a Caribbean breakfast banquet was prepared for all. The kitchen staff prepared foods including Plantain, Ackee, Salt Fish and Red Pepper Beans. Everyone from service users to staff thoroughly enjoyed the change to the breakfast menu, with most going back for second helpings. A few service users in particular let it be known how much they were enjoying their food – Vinnie’s eyes lit up and he couldn’t hide his delight in the variety of flavours. Meanwhile

Henderson, who suffered a stroke which has limited his ability to communicate verbally, had one strong opinion; “Moreeeeee!” boomed across the dining room accompanied by a rather large smile.

With family roots in the Caribbean, Patsy’s slideshow featured Afro-Caribbean musicians, actors, comedians and sportspersons. Henderson – originally from Barbados –

was very excited about the lesson, watching the television and cheering when the sportspersons were being shown. Footage of Frank Bruno

was shared with the group and Henderson danced along to the ‘Eye of the Tiger’ whilst sparing with the air. Taking it to the next level, he danced even more to the Calypso and wanted everyone to know it was his jam.



As part of Black History Month, Otterburn will carry out more activities including an African drum workshop, a Bob Marley quiz as well as a soul and reggae karaoke day.Many other service users were just as enthused, tapping along to the music, responding to the television images and joining in the discussion. Every service user was fully engaged as soon as the music began playing, all wanting a good boogie to the beat. Patsy has found over time, the best way to communicate with service users with various conditions is through music and visual aids. Enabling service users to hear what is happening around them, or clearly see what is being spoken about allows them to express their emotion in one way or another.

We make sure life at Exemplar is fun, person-centred and encourage service users to shape their day, their care plan and their treatment. Activities teams are a key aspect in care – ensuring service users have meaningful, fun activities across the months assists them in developing vital skills and management of behaviours.