Rose Lawn News – Snow Heroes

We wanted to share just one example in detail of our experiences at Keychange during the recent snow that affected many parts of the country.

The snow started falling on 1st March.  “It’s alright,” I said to myself, “It never settles in Sidmouth.”  As it continued to fall, and settle and grow higher it became apparent that my wishful thinking was not going to be enough.  As we began to talk to staff who lived a little way out of Sidmouth, we knew that we would have to start sending people home, for their safety. Nobody wanted to leave, but knew they must.

I turned to the Team Leader for the day, Becky, and said: “What do you need to do?” She replied: “I have an overnight bag in my car; Room 21 seems like a nice place for a holiday.”  Another care assistant Chloe said, “I will stay overnight – I do not fancy walking home anyway.”

As staff started to leave with calls from their colleagues to be sure to ring when they got home safely, the remaining team members carried on as normal, because, as we know, nothing changes inside the building.

Ron is 72. He works at Rose Lawn as care support, which involves cleaning and some kitchen duties. “I’m not going home yet,” he said, “there is work to be done.”  He and the chef, Adam, stayed until it started to get dark, and then went out into the snow to go home. “I will be back again tomorrow to do breakfasts.” Ron said, seemingly un-phased by the DO NOT TAKE ANY RISKS approach from the management team.

The evening drew in, and I sat with a phone in hand looking out of the window. The night staff said they were trying to come in, but would they get here safe? Around the corner to the drive came two bundled-up figures. Alison and Holly entered the house with smiles and rosy cheeks.

On the morning of 2nd March, I prepared to cook for the day but there was Ron, bustling around the kitchen with a hearty “Morning!!” I could not thank him enough as he told me he started out from home at 5.30 am to walk 2 miles!  Over each of the snow days, Ron walked to work and home again.

Chloe and Becky, the lodgers, were already skipping around the building preparing for the day. In the front door came Marius, Alison, and Helen – shaking off the snow and ice, recalling their adventure walks. Claire, the laundress was next to arrive: “We need a path Georgie, I’m on it.” So off she went with a dustpan and the dishwasher salt to make a path to the front door. With a lump in my throat, and full to bursting with pride we carried on with the day.

Then I hear a Yorkshire man at the back door: Adam, one of the cooks with a shovel in his hands. “I’ve come to dig out my car, and I’ve cleared pathways to t’ bins and salted it, it’s safe for everyone now – Do you need anything?”

All day the phone was ringing with apologies from staff who could not make it, and they all ended their calls with the same thing: “Send my love to those who are in!”

Over the next two days, those who could get in, got in and the lodgers stayed in house – Marius built a smiling snowman outside the lounge window and staff went on missions to find bread and were cheered as they came through the front door with a loaf. The rain came on Saturday; the snow disappeared as quickly as it had come, the Rose Lawn staff lodgers left and we carried on the days as usual, because like all care homes, hospitals and hostels – we are 24/7.


Not all heroes wear capes, some wear uniforms – mine wear Keychange Charity name badges.

Georgie Patch, Rose Lawn Manager