Seckford Care in Woodbridge, like all care homes, has shut its doors firmly to all visitors since the start of the pandemic, for the protection of the residents, but we are still busy with a variety of activities for the residents; although we now can only run smaller groups due to social distancing. So far, we have made bird feeders and Suffolk rusks, attending a virtual choir, watched some productions from the National Theatre and watched a virtual pantomime.
We have introduced ‘Fun-Day Fridays’ where the staff dress up or sing songs to the residents. This has been great in lifting spirits for residents and staff alike and is keeping a certain amount of normality to our lives here.
We also celebrated the anniversary of VE day on Friday 8th May. We held the minute of silence and also a ‘socially distanced’ special lunch (fish and chips, followed by an eye-catching and delicious red, white and blue pavlova) and ginger beer. We then had a sing song of some war songs. Later we held an afternoon tea with a specially made cake for the occasion, followed by another sing song. In the week leading up to the celebration, we collected some photos of residents and/or family members that served in the war.
The day was spent reminiscing, singing and eating, with lots of laughter and memories shared.
Moore Networking Limited, a small Norfolk based company with decades of experience working in skills management, has been awarded a £1m grant in the latest round of European Social Funding in Norfolk and Suffolk. Apprenticeships New Anglia will support small and medium sized employers in Norfolk and Suffolk to recruit new apprentices when they leave education. Sally Moore, Director of Moore Networking Limited said “As a small employer, we have been frustrated at how hard it has become to get all the required elements of an Apprenticeship to line up since the changes that were introduced in 2017. As we understand the value and importance of quality apprenticeships, we decided to do something positive locally to improve this. We are of course delighted that the European Social Fund has seen fit to award us this grant.
Project Partners, the Seckford Foundation, TrAC and the Kier Group have already committed to working with us to deliver the project outcomes and we are keen to hear from other businesses or organisations who would be interested in joining the partnership as we move forwards.
The Seckford Foundation is a charity based in Woodbridge, Suffolk who are committed to empowering Suffolk’s young people embarking on their journeys into the world beyond education. The Foundation manages a successful mentoring programme for young people alongside their Springboard Apprenticeship initiative.
TrAC, a local Apprenticeship Training Agency, already works closely with Moore Networking to provide risk free Apprenticeship solutions for small and medium sized businesses across East Anglia and the South East. TrAC employs the apprentice on behalf of the businesses and then places them with an employer for an agreed period. TrAC supports the apprentice and the host employer for the duration of the placement and is on hand if something unexpected should happen. Apprenticeships New Anglia will provide seamless support for smaller employers from recruitment to completion of the apprenticeship, ensuring that the business can access the funding, training and resources they need for success.
A new web portal www.apprenticeshipsnewanglia.co.uk is now available so that all employers can go online, request or share funding and plan their current and future Apprenticeship requirements.
To support this, the project is currently recruiting eight apprentice business mentors who will work with employers across the two counties to help them to register, plan and recruit in a way that best suits them.
To complement the support provided to businesses, the project will also recruit another eight apprentice mentors who will work across schools, colleges and sixth forms in Norfolk and Suffolk to identify those young people seeking to become an apprentice when they leave education. They will integrate with mentoring and support services already provided in schools and support these young people to build the confidence that they need to transition seamlessly into an Apprenticeship. Apprenticeships New Anglia will make conditional offers of Apprenticeship employment to young people at the same time as colleges and sixth forms make course offers so young people can be confident that choosing the apprenticeship route will not disadvantage them.
The 16 new mentors will be apprentices themselves and will have first-hand experience of Apprenticeships so that they are able to offer the very best advice and support to the businesses and individuals that they support, backed up by Apprenticeship expertise from the experienced management team.
Graham Watson, Director, from the Seckford Foundation said “this is an innovative and much needed project that looks set to greatly increase apprenticeship opportunities in the county as well as helping young people understand how to access them and how advantageous apprenticeships can be as a way of gaining further qualifications. This project will build on our existing work to support employers and young people into sustainable working relationships in rural Suffolk.”
Kevin Bennett, People Services Manager UK at BAM Nuttall and TrAC board member highlighted that “projects such as this are needed to ensure that Apprenticeships remain a viable option for young people leaving education.” He explained that the apprentice style recruitment approach being taken by the project to recruit the apprentice mentors will ensure that the project staff have the enthusiasm, drive and energy required to turn the Apprenticeship recruitment market around.
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It is great to see this level of dedicated support for SMEs wanting to take on apprentices.
“Our Youth Pledge – to ensure all 16 to 24-year-olds have support to access work, training or an apprenticeship – is essential to make sure young people have the opportunities they deserve and that businesses have the skilled staff they need. Projects like Apprenticeships New Anglia play an important role in helping us deliver our pledge to our region’s young people.”Read More
I am pleased to announce that the Board of Governors of the Seckford Foundation has appointed Clive Schlee as its new Chairman, succeeding Roger Finbow who retires from the role at the end of February. Clive will bring a broad range of experience to the Foundation, after spending the last sixteen years as Chief Executive of Pret A Manger.
Clive helped to grow Pret into a billion-pound business with strong values and over 500 stores in ten countries. Prior to that he spent 17 years in restaurants and financial services at Jardine Matheson & Co Ltd, the Hong Kong based conglomerate. He is also Chairman of Itsu, the London based sushi chain.
During his career, Clive has a track record of giving back to the community. He championed the Pret Foundation, greatly increasing its income and starting to offer jobs and accommodation to the homeless in addition to distributing unsold food to hostels every night.
Clive spent much of his childhood in Suffolk and has lived in Bromeswell for over 20 years. Following his retirement from Pret in October last year, he plans to spend more time in Suffolk and hopes to use his business experience to help the local community.
Roger Finbow, our current Chairman, said: “It has been a great privilege to be Chairman of the Seckford Foundation over a ten year period which has witnessed many changes in the fields in which the Foundation is active. I am delighted that Clive has been appointed to succeed me and am confident that he will find the role as challenging and enjoyable as I have.”
Clive Schlee said: “It is an honour to be able to serve the Foundation as it plays such an important role in the lives of so many people in Woodbridge and Suffolk.”
The Woodbridge Combined Care Homes Choir Christmas Concert welcomed a packed audience at Woodbridge Methodist Church for their performance on Wednesday 4 December led by choir director Megan Peel.
The Choir were joined by students from Barnabas Pre School, St Mary’s Primary School, Woodbridge Prep School and SET Saxmundham School. A number of festive classics – old and new – were performed including Once in Royal David’s City, Little Donkey and Believe from Polar Express.
Sarah Kopferschmitt, Head of Care at Seckford Care said: “We are proud to collaborate with school groups to present this intergenerational concert featuring performers aged from three to 99. The opportunity to sing alongside other choirs has been a wonderful way to start the festive period.”
The large audience were invited to join in with Christmas favourites and congregated after the concert with refreshments including mince pies made by Seckford Care residents.
The Woodbridge Combined Care Homes Choir was launched in February 2017 and comprises residents, their families and staff from Seckford Almshouses, Jubilee House and Grove Court. The Choir is funded by Comic Relief.
A retiring collection was made for St Elizabeth HospiceRead More
Woodbridge School, a leading independent school in the East of England, has appointed Ms Shona Norman as Head.
Ms Norman’s appointment comes at the end of a comprehensive and thorough selection process that saw nearly 30 candidates from across the country and abroad apply for the role. The selection panel, which concluded its findings on Friday 15th November, came to a unanimous decision to invite Shona to become the next Head.
Seckford Foundation Chair, Roger Finbow said: “We are delighted with the outcome of this extensive selection process and our decision to invite Shona to lead our school. Experience, style, competency and cultural fit were critical aspects of our decision and Shona stood out as a clear leader with the right vision and values. Today, Woodbridge offers a rich and vibrant learning environment for students of 4 to 18 and we are excited to give Shona the opportunity to build on the great work she has done for the School over the last 17 years and lead the School on to an even brighter future.”
Shona has been Woodbridge School’s Acting Head for the last six months and will officially assume the Head position on the 1st of January 2020.
Ms Norman commented: “I am truly honoured to be given the opportunity to help our community write the next chapter for this fabulous and unique school. At Woodbridge School, we have one of the best learning cultures of any education establishment, an expert and committed teaching staff, and over 750 vibrant and engaging pupils. I’m very grateful to the board and governors of the Seckford Foundation for the trust they have put in me to lead our school, and realise the many opportunities that lie ahead.”
Shona Norman Biography
After completing her A Levels at Wisbech Grammar School in Cambridgeshire, Shona studied for a degree in English Literature at London University. Upon completion of this, she obtained her PGCE from Cambridge University before being appointed as a Teacher of English at Woodbridge School in September 2002. During her time at Woodbridge, Shona has been promoted to the positions of Housemistress, Extended Project Qualification Co-Ordinator, Deputy Head (Pastoral) and Senior Deputy before stepping into the role of Acting Head in May 2019. Whilst Deputy, Shona chose to return to Cambridge University to complete her Masters in Educational Leadership and School Improvement; she remains part of their Leadership for Learning initiative.
Regarded by her staff and students as an inspirational leader and an outstanding teacher, Shona is passionate about student welfare inside and outside of the classroom and in ensuring that every child is recognised as an individual, preparing them to excel in the future world.
Shona is married to Michael who serves in the Royal Marines.
For more information about Woodbridge School, visit www.woodbridgeschool.org.ukRead More
Woodbridge Dementia Project has been announced winner of the 2019 Enabling Communities Award, sponsored by East Suffolk Council.
Launched in April 2018 by the Seckford Foundation, in a drive to make Woodbridge a dementia friendly community, the project is all about working in partnership with a coalition of organisations and individuals in and around Woodbridge, including Gotelee Solicitors, East Suffolk District Council, the East of England Co-op and Woodbridge Rotary Club.
The aim is to engage the local community, including businesses, family carers and people living with dementia to help make Woodbridge a dementia-friendly town.
As part of the East Suffolk Business & Community Awards the public were invited to vote on the finalist projects, which were shortlisted from all the community projects that have received funding from the East Suffolk Enabling Communities Budget or Exemplar Grant over the past 18 months.
Cathy O’Brien, who leads the Woodbridge Dementia Project said “It is great news that the Woodbridge Dementia Project has received this recognition from the East Suffolk Business & Community Awards. For this award to be from a public vote makes it extra special; we’d like to send out our heartfelt thanks to everyone who voted for this wonderful project. We look forward to continuing to work with the local community to make Woodbridge a dementia friendly town.”Read More
Efforts by Woodbridge-based care provider Seckford Care to go the extra mile for their residents have been acknowledged at the Suffolk Care Awards, with the organisation winning in one category and coming highly commended in another.
Seckford Care won the Excellent Stimulating Environments for Service Users Award for the organisation’s positive and proven approach to using a range of activities to achieve positive outcomes for those accessing the service. Seckford Care offers a person-centred, stimulating environment that changes and adapts to meet the needs and wishes of the residents. There is always something going on at Seckford Care with the activities co-ordinator continually adding to what is on offer, with a focus on providing for the individual.
Seckford Care was also listed as Highly Commended in the Excellent Service Delivery category, which demonstrates that the service as a whole has delivered care and support over and above that which would usually be expected and has made a positive contribution in supporting service users’ lives.
Sarah Kopferschmitt, Head of Care at Seckford Care said: “The staff and residents are really delighted to hear that Seckford Care won the award and were also finalists in another category. The team works so hard to ensure each day is as best it can be for everyone living here and receiving our services. It was a superb evening, a real celebration of all the great care that is being delivered across Suffolk.”Read More
Students and teachers at SET Ixworth School, part of the Seckford Education Trust, are celebrating after achieving a ‘Good’ judgement from Ofsted in all areas. Following an inspection on 17 and 18 September, Ofsted inspectors gave high praise to the School’s inclusive environment, strong teaching, wide-ranging extra-curricular activities, and for successfully providing students with ‘a foundation for life’.
Ofsted inspectors described the School as a ‘very happy community’ where ‘pupils arrive promptly because they enjoy school’, and parents and carers are pleased with their school choice. ‘School leaders want every pupil to do well’, and to leave as ‘confident’ young adults who are ‘well prepared’ for their next step in education, employment or training.
SET Ixworth School, last inspected in 2017, has made ‘huge improvements’ with ‘strong’ teaching that inspires pupils to think and ‘learn rapidly’, and students achieving well at GCSE in a wide range of subjects. Inspectors also highlighted the school’s range of extra-curricular activities, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, learning British Sign Language, or preparing for a school drama production, where pupils are encouraged to discover new interests beyond academic subjects.
As a small school environment, ‘pupils and teachers all know each other very well’; ‘bullying is rare’ and ‘pupils feel safe’ with everyone working together to support and care for each other.
Mark Barrow, Headteacher at SET Ixworth School, said: “We are very proud that the Ofsted team found our School to be Good in all areas. This is vindication of the incredible hard work and professionalism of all the staff, the hard work and behaviour of our students and the support of our parents and carers. We have high aspirations for our students and we’re committed to providing a safe, challenging and nurturing environment where each and every student can learn and thrive.”
As part of their inspection, Ofsted inspectors spoke with the Headteacher and senior leadership team as well as teachers, parents, carers and students. Ofsted inspected four key areas – quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management – all of which were rated Good at SET Ixworth School.
SET Ixworth School, on Walsham Road in Ixworth, opened in 2014 as part of the Seckford Education Trust, which also includes Beccles and Saxmundham Schools.
For more information about SET Ixworth School, visit www.ixworthschool.org.uk.Read More
A Tudor historian has completed a historic walk, following in the footsteps of an important local Elizabethan lawyer, Thomas Seckford.
Dr Eva Griffith is a Shakespearean theatre historian who undertook a sponsored walk on Friday 20 September, from Ipswich Museum on the High Street in Ipswich to the Seckford Almshouses in Woodbridge.
She has made this walk as the culmination of a research and walking tour across Europe, visiting towns and cities where English actors of Shakespeare’s time are recorded performing. She has visited Paris, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Utrecht, Frankfurt and more.
She has also been undertaking extensive research of the Seckford Collection, housed in Suffolk Records Office.
Thomas Seckford served in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, and he was also a Member of Parliament for Ipswich. His charitable works benefited the townspeople of Woodbridge, his ancestral home.
The home leg of Dr Griffith’s walk took her from the site of Thomas Seckford’s former Ipswich home, all the way to Woodbridge, arriving at the Seckford Almshouses – the charity that Thomas Seckford set up. The residents welcomed her arrival with a tea party and festivities.
Eva has been walking in aid of Classic FM’s ‘Make Some Noise’ charity as part of their Big Walk. Donations are invited here: https://makesomenoise.charitycheckout.co.uk/pf/eva-griffith-eurowalk
Melanie Chew, Development Director at the Seckford Foundation said “We have been delighted to work with and welcome Dr Griffith to Woodbridge. We have been thrilled to learn from her about the early days of Thomas Seckford’s land in Tudor times. Eva’s walk has been amazing, and we are proud to welcome her home to Thomas Seckford’s greatest work – his Almshouses!”Read More
Woodbridge Combined Care Homes Choir along with Saxmundham Free School, St Mary’s Primary & Barnabas Pre-School held a wonderful Concert at the Methodist Church in Woodbridge on Wednesday 26th June, which was thoroughly enjoyed by an audience of all ages.
Featuring residents, relatives, friends and staff of Seckford Almshouses, Jubilee House, Woodbridge Lodge and Grove Court Care Homes, the choir joined forces with students from Saxmundham Free School, St Mary’s Primary & Barnabas Pre-School in this lovely concert that was open to all the community. All of the choirs worked well together and complemented each other perfectly. The singers’ ages ranged from 2 to 99.
The audience was treated to a selection of favourites with songs such as Cheek to Cheek, L-O-V-E, The Sound of Silence, Make you feel my love, Que sera, sera, Country Road, Who wants to be a Millionaire, with a finale of Sing. And of course the audience joined in too!
The Combined Care Homes Choir is funded by Comic Relief and was launched in February 2018. The choir offers care home residents, their families and staff the chance to participate in and enjoy a shared interest and the opportunity to sing, to perform, as well as to meet people from other care settings, who may be experiencing situations similar to their own.
Sarah Kopferschmitt, Head of Care at Seckford Care said: “We are proud to work in collaboration with Grove Court and Woodbridge Lodge, for the Care Homes Choir. The Choir has given residents of care homes around Woodbridge the opportunity to indulge their interest in singing in an open and friendly setting with other likeminded people. To have the opportunity to sing alongside other choirs and perform in public has been very enjoyable for all involved.”Read More