top-secret science and technology laboratory

Roy relives top-secret MOD days

Roy relives top-secret MOD days

The team at Woodley Grange were so pleased to see resident, Dr Roy Fitzgeorge, return to the MOD’s (Ministry of Defense’s) top-secret science and technology laboratory for the first time in almost 30 years, as part of the Wish Maker Initiative.

As a former MOD microbiologist, Roy enjoyed revisiting Porton Down, near Salisbury, accompanied by his daughter. Roy, aged 92, toured the facility and met with current staff members to speak about his time with the MOD, as well as meeting some familiar faces from his old team!


MOD’s (Ministry of Defense's) top-secret science and technology laboratory

Woodley Grange’s Manager, Liliana Macieira, said: “Roy is so proud of his time with the MOD and is always talking about it and showing off his old pictures and stories to staff and residents.”

Since his visit, Roy remarked: “Well it’s been very nice to come back to this. I don’t think many people can say, ‘that was a lovely place to work’, but I think this is. And still is, by the looks of it. I hope it stays that way.”

Roy was amazed at how the place had expanded, continuing; “I’m so pleased that Porton Down has kept its place. It’s three or four times the size it was. I think you ought to be proud of yourselves. I’m proud I worked here.

“Thank you all for a nice episode in my life. Quite a big one.”

Woodley Granges’ Activities Coordinator, Erica Orchard, said: “He’s lived an incredible life and has done so many amazing things and we were all delighted to be able to arrange this trip for him.

“Reminiscence therapy forms a key part of what we do here at Woodley Grange and it’s so important for our residents to engage in these activities and spark such brilliant memories.

“I want to say a huge thank you to our wonderful team who arranged this for Roy as well as to the MOD for facilitating this experience. I’m sure we’ll never get him to stop talking about it now!”

Roy’s story made it into the Romsey Advertiser, click here for more details about his inspiring life.

Margaret makes her musical debut at Salisbury Cathedral thanks to Wish Maker initiative

Margaret makes her musical debut at Salisbury Cathedral thanks to Wish Maker initiative

Prior to joining Woodley Grange in December 2021, Margaret was an accomplished former music teacher, with over 50 years’ experience as a church organist. Throughout her amazing career, Margaret had one wish; to play at Salisbury Cathedral.

To help make her wish come true, Woodley Grange’s activities team organised a special visit to Salisbury Cathedral as part of the home’s Wish Maker initiative, where Margaret was given the chance to wow her daughter and care staff with a private performance on the cathedral’s organ.

As well as playing the organ at the cathedral, Margaret had the opportunity to visit a local music shop to watch her violin being repaired and gave a violin lesson to Erica, our Activities Coordinator, who really got into it.

Following her day out, Margaret said; “I had a wonderful day, I always really appreciate going into the cathedrals as they are beautiful, and it felt great to play in there.

“The sound of the organ was much lighter, and the keys were lighter than the one I play at church. It has a lovely tone.”

To read Margaret’s full story in the Romsey Advertiser, click here.

We’ve loved seeing Margaret in her element and can’t wait for the next time she shares her talents with our staff and residents! Keep an eye on our Facebook pages to see which wish will be granted next!



Woodley Grange residents get the full Burns Night experience

Woodley Grange residents get the full Burns Night experience

On 25th January, Woodley Grange residents were treated to a very special Burns Night, a well-loved Scottish tradition that celebrates the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns.

We were very lucky to welcome talented piper, Jim Stanley, who joined us in his kilt and full regalia and played several sets for us outside with the doors open. The residents thoroughly enjoyed singing along to familiar favourites of ‘Old Lang Syne’ and ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, whilst wrapped up warm in their blankets.

Jim then came in to address the haggis, which amazingly he did all from memory! The drinks trolley was brought in to toast the haggis and in full voice the residents cheered; “To the haggis!” before sampling it. Several of our residents tried haggis for the first time and liked it so much they had it for lunch and dinner, served with neeps and tatties.

Woodley’s Activities Coordinator, Erica, remarked that “it went down really well! We had a wonderful time.”

The residents all had a fantastic time. Sheila said; “That was splendid! You wouldn’t normally get to see something like that, as good as that, outside Scotland!”

Annette remarked; “Oh it was lovely! It’s so nice to see something like that so down to earth – see it live, you know.”

Everyone at Woodley Grange would like to say a “special thanks to Jim. You were brilliant!”









The residents are already looking forward to next year’s Burns Night celebrations! If you would like to know more about the events held at Woodley Grange, please click here.

hristmas shop at woodley grange

Pop-up Christmas shop spreads festive cheer throughout Woodley Grange

Pop-up Christmas shop spreads festive cheer throughout Woodley Grange 

Due to the huge success of last year’s Christmas shop and the ongoing pandemic, the team at Woodley Grange once again transformed their Romsey care home into a winter emporium for residents. The home received generous donations from staff, families and local businesses, including Becky’s Itsy Bitsy Books, Coal Newton Hand Woven Textiles and Lemon & Jinja.

The pop-up shop included an assortment of gifts for residents to choose from, such as perfume, chocolates, Christmas decorations and squeaky toys for pets. Staff were even on hand to provide a gift wrapping service.

Commenting on the Christmas shop, Anish Patel, home manager at Woodley Grange said; “Christmas shopping is an activity many of our residents look forward to, so we were determined to find a solution.

“We were amazed and humbled by the support we received from the community and local businesses. Lots of people donated a wide range of gifts which meant we were able to create our pop-up shop.

“To make it feel like a Christmas shopping experience, we had a till, shopping baskets, and fake money so the residents could ‘buy’ their presents. We also made tea and coffee, because everyone needs a break and a cuppa when they’re shopping.”

To read the full story in the Romsey Advertiser, please click here.

If you would like more information about the care and activities we provide at Woodley Grange, please contact our dedicated team here.

Woodley Grange host a special dinner party for Sheila & friends

Woodley Grange host a special dinner party for Sheila & friends

The activities team at Woodley Grange have been working hard making dreams come true for our residents with our Wish Maker initiative. When the team asked Sheila, a resident living with dementia, what her wish would be, she replied with a simple answer – “dinner with my husband”. Unfortunately, Sheila’s husband passed away some time ago.

The death of a loved one is difficult for anyone, but it’s particularly challenging when someone is living with dementia. For us, it’s extremely important that we’re there to support our residents emotionally, through the ups and the downs, and provide vital companionship.

Unable to fulfil Sheila’s wish, the activities team at Woodley Grange wanted to do something extra special for Sheila by organising a dinner party for her to enjoy with some of her friends at the home.

As staff at Woodley Grange are well aware, socialising has great benefits, especially for residents living with dementia. Expert-led research has shown that engaging in conversations and keeping mentally active, delays and even prevents the cognitive decline associated with dementia. Socialising with friends can also improve mental health, focus and create a stronger sense of inclusion and stability.

Whilst Sheila couldn’t spend time with her husband, she was surrounded by her close-knit community that provides her with support and companionship.

To make the evening extra special for Sheila, the team cooked some of Sheila’s favourite food – chicken soup, roast chicken and ice cream sundae.

Woodley’s Winter Emporium is back by popular demand!

Woodley’s Winter Emporium is back by popular demand!

Last year, as part of our Wish Maker initiative, Woodley Grange helped grant Pat’s Christmas wish. Pat wanted to go Christmas shopping with her daughter but was unable to due to the pandemic, so the team at Woodley Grange decided to bring the shops to Pat!

The home received generous donations by staff, relatives and local Romsey businesses to help make this special wish come true. Even a till was kindly donated to help create a realistic shopping experience for the residents.

Due to the huge success of last year’s event, the team at Woodley Grange plan on running the Winter Emporium again this December.

Commenting on the Winter Emporium, Woodley Grange’s activities team, said: “Our residents had such a lovely time – they really appreciated it. We’ve been asked by family members and our residents if we can do this again, and we can’t wait. We understand Christmas can be an expensive time of year, but if you would like to get involved and send in home-made or new gifts for the store, we would be delighted! Any items need to arrive in time to be quarantined for 72 hours before the shop opens on December 6th.”

If you have any questions, please contact

Clive takes to the sky thanks to Manucourt’s Wish Maker campaign

Clive takes to the sky thanks to Manucourt’s Wish Maker campaign

Clive, a resident at Woodley Grange, wanted to fly like his son in the RAF, so the activities team reached out to the local community for help.

The team received an overwhelming response to Clive’s wish – from people offering VR headsets so Clive and other residents at the home could experience flying, to British Airway’s Cabin Crew offering to visit the home and give an inflight safety briefing. The activities team were also approached by Simon Hughes, a Consultant at Southampton Hospital and Doctor for Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, who generously offered to take Clive for a trip on his plane.

On Wednesday 25th August, Clive and Tony, another resident from Woodley Grange who used to work with Spitfires as RAF Ground Crew in Gibraltar, were invited to Popham Airfield for their first outing since before the pandemic. Clive and Tony set off on a short flight with Simon around Hampshire, taking in the breath-taking scenery.

Watch Clive’s special wish come true below:

For more information about our Wish Maker campaign, please click here.

Ian and Mavis reunited for their 60th wedding anniversary!

Ian and Mavis reunited for their 60th wedding anniversary!

Here at Manucourt, we all like a good love story and couldn’t wait to help two new residents at Woodley Grange celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in style (especially as they had been separated for over two weeks!).

When Mavis went into respite care at another home, Ian said; “it felt like years”, but we were soon able to reunite the devoted pair for their extra special diamond wedding anniversary.

Ian, who served in the Royal Navy for over 50 years, met Mavis whilst ballroom dancing in a youth club in Romsey (a club Mavis went on to run for years). Having lived in Romsey for 47 years, the couple also enjoyed being part of the URC church.

In the run up to their wedding anniversary, we were busy working behind the scenes to make their day extra special by decorating their new room. Ever the romantic, Ian was worried he wouldn’t be able to get his wife the flowers she deserved. We were delighted to step in and help him purchase some for his wonderful wife.

It wouldn’t be an anniversary without some delicious cake, so our talented cooks got to work to create the happy couple a special masterpiece to celebrate.

Commenting on their anniversary, the activities team at Woodley Grange said; “It was wonderful that they were able to reunite for their 60th wedding anniversary and the team thoroughly enjoyed celebrating this important milestone with them.”

Ian and Mavis are now looking forward to spending many more years together!

To find out more life at Woodley Grange, please contact our team here.

The benefits of gardening for older people

The benefits of gardening for older people

With spring now in full swing, our residents at Barton Lodge and Woodley Grange have been making full use of our beautiful, landscaped grounds. From potting, digging and pruning, to helping water the plants, our residents love to give a helping hand. Not only is this a fun activity for all abilities to enjoy, it’s great for their health too. Here are just some of the reasons why:


Gardens are sensory places where the scenery is constantly changing. The herbs and flowers in summer and crisp golden leaves in autumn can be very stimulating for residents, which is why both our Homes have their very own sensory gardens. These are home to colourful flowers, aromatic herbs and feeding stations for visiting birds to help stimulate senses through touch, sight, scent, taste and hearing.

Encourages physical movement

As we get older it becomes more important than ever to make sure that physical movement is a part of life. Gardening works all of the major muscle groups. This makes it a good way for older people to continue with the aerobic and strength building exercises they need to stay mobile, helping prevent falls.

Improves mental health

While gardening has many physical benefits, it can also positively impact your mental health. After all, science has proven that people are happier in nature. Those who experience depression, which is more common as we age, can improve their mood when they come into contact with soil. When people inhale a certain bacteria that lives in the soil, it increases serotonin levels and reduces anxiety.

Gardening also allows our residents to focus on something that will give them a feeling of true achievement. There’s nothing more rewarding than watching something you have planted grow and blossom into something beautiful.

Vitamin D exposure

Vitamin D is a crucial component of healthy aging. Gardening outside in the sun exposes older people to a natural source of vitamin D. While this is good news, it’s also important to ensure that protective measures are taken to avoid the dangers of exposure to sunlight and problems with dehydration.

To find out more about the activities at Barton Lodge and Woodley Grange, contact our team here.

Helping residents living with dementia make their own choices

Helping residents living with dementia make their own choices

Choice is very important in the daily lives of all of us. However, for those living with dementia, having their preferences heard can be more challenging.

As someone’s dementia progresses, their cognitive (mental) abilities will decline, which will impact their ability to make their own decisions. As a result, they will require tailored support to help them keep a sense of self and maintain their quality of life.

Our approach:

Prior to joining our Homes, we speak to our residents’ loved ones to find out as much as possible about their tastes and interests, which can help shape the person-centred care they receive. However, we all know that our preferences can change over time, so it’s also important to find ways to engage and communicate with residents to give them as much choice as possible.  Here are some of the ways we achieve this:

  • By observing what our residents do rather than what they say, we can gain a clearer idea of their likes and dislikes. For example, to find out what a resident would like to wear, two outfits are presented together for the resident to choose. If the person is unable to speak, physical behaviours such as reaching, touching, picking up the item and smiling are watched to find out the item they prefer.
  • Our team try to explain things in a way that is easy to understand and use pictures to help residents choose the meals they would like to eat.
  • We give residents the time to make decisions. We don’t rush them.
  • We get to know our residents and when the best time of day to speak to them is. For example, many people living with dementia find it harder to concentrate later in the day.
  • We give residents the space to make their own decisions with activities that foster creativity and individual decision making, such as artwork, cooking, gardening and interacting with our large display screens. Some residents even want to get involved with household chores such as cleaning, which we encourage in a safe way.
  • We try to remove barriers to decision making by removing sources of potential frustration and introduce clear signage, wayfinding and the use of large clocks, which help orientate residents to a place and time.











How can families help:

Families can play a big part in helping us get to know residents by sharing their hobbies, favourite memories, photos and life achievements. It’s also important for families to have those early discussions with residents on their Alzheimer’s journey, helping them make their own advance decisions.

To find out more about our approach and how we can help a loved one living with dementia, contact our team here.