A SOUTH coast care home provider has expanded its companionship team to help maintain residents’ wellbeing during lockdown.

Colten Care has appointed 18 new recruits to lead group activities such as arts and music sessions and deliver meaningful and inspiring one-to-one time.

The new hires, including singers, musicians and teachers will provide up to 1,000 residents at Colten’s 21 homes with an extra 469 hours of companionship opportunities each week.

The expansion is intended to support residents and families faced with renewed restrictions on care home visiting under the latest government lockdown measures.

Elaine Farrer, Colten’s operations director, said: “During the pandemic, the constraints on family visiting have heightened the need for companionship because of the lack of opportunity for face-to-face contact with loved ones.

“That’s why we have ‘upped our game’ and invested in the expansion of our dedicated team.”

Ken Vivian, a resident at Brook View in West Moors, Dorset said quizzes and carpet bowls are his favourite activities provided.

He said: “There’s always something to do, and that’s down to the staff. I like them very much. They’re easy to talk to and they’ll do anything for you.”

Among the new recruits to the companionship team is singer and pianist Nicky Stevens, a member of the 1976 Eurovision-winning group Brotherhood of Man.

Nicky has joined the team at Amberwood House in Ferndown, Dorset.

She said: “Music is so uplifting and therapeutic. It’s wonderful to be able to use my talents to help provide residents who are vulnerable with stimulation and keep them cheered up.”

“I’m loving this opportunity.”