A dream come true as new vehicle is delivered

Thanks to an amazing level of support and generosity, adults with a learning difficulty using the Oak Trees Respite and Supported Living Services in Attleborough can now enjoy trips out in their newly delivered seven-seater vehicle.

We were very fortunate to receive financial support from the Mildred Tolman Fund, which is managed by the Norfolk Community Foundation. This, together with proceeds from fundraising events, donations from supporters, including local businesses and customers’ family members (who also organised fundraising activities), and top-up funding from Empanda, means we have been able to purchase a nearly new people carrier.

Having a vehicle makes such a difference and gives the people using our learning difficulty services lasting and happy memories of their time spent with us, which is so vitally important to their wellbeing and independence. They are now able to enjoy outings and trips out, including going to the cinema, swimming, bowling, going to restaurants/pubs and shopping trips.

Service users are absolutely delighted and here’s what they had to say on hearing the good news.


“We can reach the places now we haven’t been able to reach for a long time.” 
Ben – Supported Living

“It will be better because it will save me walking.
We can now go out to the seaside and to the pub.”
Julie – Respite Service Guest


“Having a car means more freedom to go out to places and then you can enjoy yourself even more.”
Lee – Supported Living


“From my own point of view it is really, really important for Oak Trees Respite Care to  have a new car to use every day of every year. Because of the fact that both me and all the other guests who come to stay at Oak Trees in Attleborough have not been able to go out anywhere that we would mostly like to go out and about to. It has been like that since April or May 2016 and I kept asking the staff when that would change and they said that they didn’t know which made me feel very upset indeed.

But more importantly, it is a true but very, very special blessing that Oak Trees Respite Care in Attleborough has now got a new vehicle, because that will most certainly mean that there will more days out outside of Attleborough. We can go bowling and to other activities.”
James – Respite Service Guest

We are truly grateful to everyone for your support in making this dream a reality – thank you.

Vehicle fund blossoms thanks to flower demonstration event

When Jane Morgan (mother of Oak Trees Respite Service guest James) heard that Empanda was fundraising for a vehicle for adults with a learning difficulty using our Oak Trees respite and supported living services, she and her mum wasted no time in planning an event to help.

Here, Jane shares her event experience …

“We wanted to put together an event that had real impact and a flower demonstration with afternoon tea was an immediate thought and something we were very familiar with.

With National Flower Demonstrators Melissa Sheldrake and Brenda Tubb offering to get on board free of charge, the event was off to a really good start and the planning of  ‘Name That Tune’ was underway.

Plenty of people came together to offer support including the Headmaster at Hethersett Old Hall School who kindly offered the use of the school barn for the event. All 80 event tickets sold and donations were given to support this worthy cause from those who were unable to attend.

As the event was near Easter weekend, to help boost funds even further, I knitted a number of Easter chicks and ‘eggy people’, all hiding a cream egg. I managed fifty-five items and all sold which was a relief and saved me from eating any leftover cream eggs!

I also gave myself the challenge of making a gingerbread Easter basket which I decorated and filled with chocolate eggs so that people could guess how many eggs it held. The filled basket was the prize. A friend also made a traditional Simnel cake for a ‘guess the weight of the cake’ competition.

The day finally arrives …

After weeks of careful planning, the event was finally upon us. Work started early in the morning for the hectic but enjoyable day ahead. A small army of helpers made sandwiches and cut cakes and I baked scones. The tables were set, the silver teapots stood to attention ready for filling and the cake stands were full.

The flower demonstration was spectacular, with arrangements created to depict different tunes, which the audience were challenged to guess, with a prize for the first correct answer. The arrangements doubled up as raffle prizes. Melissa and Brenda proved to be a very entertaining team and the final display on the stage was spectacular, with so many arrangements created in different styles. I think everyone who had a winning raffle ticket must have been pleased and I can’t thank Melissa and Brenda enough for their generosity. Planning a flower demonstration as ‘a one off’ takes a long time.

Serving afternoon tea was hectic but the team proved to be highly efficient. Robert, who loaned us the silverware, was a master at filling the teapots. He had already marshalled the cars in the carpark earlier in the day and took the role of MC for the afternoon. Multi-tasking is a necessary skill on these occasions!

We had some wonderful comments about the tea. Some people thought they would just get a cup of tea and a piece of cake, not a full meal, but the best comment was from an experienced afternoon tea guest who said “the tea was better than at the Ritz” – praise indeed and made the hard work all worthwhile.

A magnificent total of £1,350 was raised thanks to the support and generosity of so many people. From the ladies who baked and donated the cakes and worked so hard on the day; the people who loaned the china and teapots; Hethersett Old Hall School; Melissa and Brenda the demonstrators; the audience and most importantly, my mum, who was instrumental in selling the tickets as she has all the contacts!

We are really pleased in the knowledge that our contribution will take the fundraising total ever nearer to reaching its target – a new vehicle for adults with a learning difficulty using the Oak Trees Respite and Supported Living services to enjoy trips out.

And so to the future …

We are now looking forward to planning further fundraising events to enhance the lives of the people who use Oak Trees. I can’t thank the staff enough for the wonderful service they provide.”

Jane Morgan

Photo gallery


Oak Trees Respite Service scores ‘Good’ with CQC

We are delighted that following our Oak Trees learning difficulty services inspection by The Care Quality Commission (CQC) on 6 April 2017, we have now received their full inspection report. This is the first time we have been inspected under the new inspection regime and the first ever inspection for Empanda.

The actual inspection process started some months ago when we were asked to submit Provider Information Returns, known as PIRs. We were also asked for the contact details of social care, health and other professionals with whom we work, as well as contact details for customers and their family members and email addresses for the staff team. Contact was then made by the CQC Inspector, with many or all of the people we listed so that she could gain a lot of background information and feedback before she actually came out to meet with us. It also gave her the opportunity to ask any questions arising from the feedback when she came out to inspect the services in April.

The inspection day started just before 10am and concluded just after 7pm. Throughout the day the inspector met and talked with many of the team, our respite care guests and some of our supported living service users too.

Having now received the final report, we are really pleased with our score which is an overall ‘Good’ and a score of ‘Good’ for each of the 5 areas on which we were inspected:

Is the service safe?
Is the service effective?
Is the service caring?
Is the service responsive?
Is the service well-led?

With the scoring options being ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires Improvement’ and ‘Inadequate’, to achieve ‘Good’ across the board is an excellent result and given we are viewed as a new provider, we don’t think we could have hoped for any more in our first inspection.

We confess to being just a little disappointed that we didn’t score ‘Outstanding’ in a couple of the areas, especially when the feedback the inspector received was so positive and we know how hard the team have worked to get the service to where it is today. However, despite the fact we have worked together as a team for many years and Kerrie Good has been the Registered Manager at Oak Trees for a very long time, we are viewed by the CQC as a brand new care provider and therefore we don’t believe they would have awarded us the highest score on our very first inspection.

The fact we achieved this positive outcome shows just what a great job the Oak Trees team is doing and how much the services are valued by our customers, partners, referring agencies, families and commissioners. All our customers spoke very highly of the service they received and that’s what really matters.

Having set the bar high in our first inspection, we need to start planning and working towards achieving the elusive ‘Outstanding’ next time the CQC inspect!

Well done to the Oak Trees team and thank you for all you do to make the services we provide special.