On a star studded night of awards in London we were privileged enough to be bestowed with a second award. The home has dignity and respect at the heart of everything we do from the care we provide to the food we present and the care we take in cleaning a room. Every single person works to the same common goal of ensuring everyone gets the dignity and respect they deserve.

Since we received an Outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission across all five key lines of enquiry we have been regarded as the go to home locally. However the ethos of The Close is to share and learn from each other. Therefore, when we create, innovate and develop, we share via our place on the board of The Outstanding Society, which is a community interest company and free to use. We work with Oxfordshire County Council and have developed a chef club and training programme to support homes with the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI). The Close is a voice for celebrating social care and creativity. For example, we share our ideas on clothing protectors. The guide to make them is up on our website for free. The Close is known for its mealtimes and has supported Oxfordshire County Council and Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers with our chef club, teaching other homes on the way we produce and serve creative and ingenious IDDSI meals for every meal and with like-for-like options, offering like-for-like parity at mealtimes We reflected on mealtimes and we reflected on clothing protectors. Well, we say clothing protectors, but boiled wool, plaid bibs is closer to what they were, and frankly there’s no dignity in an adult wearing a bib. So we decided to find an in-house, custom-made option. One of our beyond-talented laundry team loves to sew, so we purchased her a new sewing machine and came up with a crazy idea. Imagine taking real clothes and turning them into clothing proctors! We sourced some specialist backing and took shirts and tops, cut out the shapes, backed them and created our own. These are displayed on a simple wall[1]mounted rail in our dining rooms and residents are presented with a choice, the one they would like to wear at mealtimes, should they need them. Residents go out with our activities team to shop for the clothing items and select them – making them totally co-produced. As they are custom-made we have a range with options for morning, noon and night. The best bit is, residents can dine with family, friends and stakeholders and truly appear as if they are wearing an item of ‘regular’ clothing, instilling them with confidence and ultimately dignity, resulting in residents being their best selves at mealtimes. Furthermore, as they are custom-made, we make them in various sizes to ensure residents who live with bariatric needs have wider ones that offer more coverage and in turn they protect their clothes. Having a larger frame myself, the little ones weren’t doing a thing! So, I know when the time comes, I will be wearing something fun which will make me feel myself when I want to share a meal with my loved ones.