skip to main content

Arrival Of Extra Alexas Brings Added Pleasure

4th Jul 2022
Arrival Of Extra Alexas Brings Added Pleasure
A specialist centre providing temporary 24-hour respite care to people with learning difficulties is benefiting a second time from the latest round of charitable awards from Durham City’s freemen


Over two years ago Hawthorn House, a county council-run complex at Newton Hall and staffed by a specialist team, used their first £250 windfall to fund an internal decorative make-over which included clocks, cushions, wall art, safety mirrors and bed throws to brighten the surroundings.

The centre’s latest £300 gift will this time be devoted to taking the sensory benefits to a new level for users, whose ages range from their mid-teens to their sixties.

Respite manager Sue Smith explained: “Those who come to us all have a degree of sensory impairment ranging from mild to profound. They all derive great pleasure by tuning in themselves to music and stories available from the ‘Alexa’ listening and respond devices.

“We intend to use the money to buy three additional ‘Alexa’ machines as well as further develop our garden as a place of fun and enjoyment".

“Our summerhouse has been used to offer a variety of themed ventures and doubles up as a café where users can sit with soft drinks, cakes and ice creams. We now plan to add a garden water feature, incorporating a bird bath. They love watching the birds and it will also provide an opportunity during the summer months to enjoy splashing water with their hands.”

Eric Bulmer, chairman of the freemen’s charitable trust, said: “We are pleased once again to help organisations which support some of the most vulnerable groups in our community. They have come through an extremely difficult period, thanks to the care of a wonderful group of dedicated staff and volunteers.”