Project information

Cocktails in Care Homes

Cocktails in Care Homes brings young adult volunteers into care homes to host and enjoy monthly parties alongside residents and staff. We aim to combat loneliness for older people, train volunteers in dementia awareness, and challenge the public’s perceptions of care homes as boring and scary places

January 2018 - December 2018

Charity information: Magic Me

Magic Me logo
  • Need


    Loneliness and boredom amongst older care home residents leads to poor mental and physical health, reduced appetite and energy. Residents told us evenings were boring and long; they went to bed at 7pm, disrupting sleep patterns and lay awake at dawn. Many residents have no visitors and leave the home only for hospital visits. Communities miss out on the experience, knowledge and in-put our elders have to offer. Young volunteers report enjoying a new kind of fun and closeness in their company.


    Magic Me will run 11 monthly Cocktail Parties in 9 care homes across London, 6-7.30pm, each catering for 10-20 residents and 8-15 volunteers. 42 residents per home will benefit in the year. Parties, hosted by our Volunteer Party Managers and trained volunteers, enable residents to socialise with new people, feel in touch with their community, have regular events to get dressed up for and look forward to. We enable socialising for people with dementia, sensory impairments or low confidence.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To run regular evening parties in care homes offering residents company, conversation fun and change


    » Run 11 monthly parties (August break), 6-7.30pm, in 9 care homes across London.
    » Canvass residents about their choice of drinks, nibbles and music to suit many tastes
    » Work with care staff to engage and support residents to participate and get ready for parties

    What success will look like

    Success will be: 99 parties run in 2018 with 332 residents benefiting; older people and care staff reporting increased well being and new relationships for residents.

    Aim 2

    To build a committed, skilled team of volunteers to support the project


    » Recruit and manage a team of 260 adult volunteers to attend parties, build relationships with older people, share fun and stories over a drink.
    » Train a team of 18 Volunteer Party Managers to host each party, liaising with care home staff to ensure smooth running and support volunteers
    » Run 11 induction and 4 training sessions plus events for corporate volunteers

    What success will look like

    200+ volunteers trained, supported and attending parties, including 18 Party Managers; benefiting from community activity and the company of elders.

  • Impact


    One care manager described Cocktails as “like a culture shift training programme wrapped around a continuous social and fun event” Parties enable residents to meet in a new supported situation, growing new friendships. Staff learn new information about residents, improving individualised care. Volunteers learn skills and awareness about dementia and older people’s needs which they take into the wider community or family life. Expectations of what homes could and should be are challenged.


    Success relies on us having great working relationships with busy staff at host care homes, to maximise the participation and enjoyment of residents. We ask each home manager to sign an Agreement of Roles and Responsibilities, shared between our staff / volunteers and care home staff. Key points are: safe storage and serving of alcohols; staff support in parties; protocols for volunteers visiting homes; Magic Me training and support for volunteers in eg dementia awareness; Safeguarding policy.


    We will publish a monthly email update on project activities, with stories from our parties, older participants and volunteers.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £16,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £1,125 Equipment and materials glasses, vases, jugs etc for 9 homes
      £4,455 Party refreshments £45 for 11 events in 9 homes
      £2,075 Party Themes Decorations, materials, conversation prompts
      £3,075 Materials/staff/volunteers Transport Costs
      £610 Photography For party goers & documentation
      £2,080 Running costs Phone, computing, insurance, rent etc
      £2,480 Volunteer Induction & Training External trainer cost & induction costs
      £100 DBS checks For Volunteer Party Managers

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    The Headley Trust £8,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Cocktails will run in 5 areas: Tower Hamlets, Islington, Southwark, Westminster and Waltham Forest. Fees for 80% of the residents in our partner homes are state funded. Communities are ethnically and culturally diverse, with some residents further isolated as the only person of their culture or mother tongue in the care home; languages acquired in adulthood are lost with dementia. Rising house prices drive younger generations out of London, leaving elders isolated and unvisited.


    Older people in care are often living with loss: of their health, home, independence or a bereavement; the majority receive no regular visitors and many have no kith or kin. 75% live with dementia and many have physical health needs or disabilities. Sensory impairments and confusion make relationship building hard. Residents relish opportunities for fresh conversation, new faces and opportunities to be part of the wider community.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Magic Me has a 27 year track record of successful innovative projects with care homes, with proven benefits to older people, staff and local communities. Since 2010 we have: grown Cocktails building great working relationships with care providers and residents; designed and honed effective ways to recruit, train and support volunteers; attracted trust and corporate support for staffing the project. In Sept 2016 we launch a bespoke website enabling volunteers to do their own admin.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Phoebe Grudzinskas Project Manager

    Phoebe is committed to improving the quality of life for older people. Before joining she was a Volunteer Party Manager for Cocktails in Care Homes.

    Alison Harvie, Chair A Former Cocktails Volunteer

    Alison brings personal experience and frontline insights to the challenges and joys of delivering our mission

    Chris Ali, Volunteer Party Manager

    Chris, Volunteer Party Manager at Pat Shaw care home is a great ambassador, hosting monthly parties: supporting volunteers , engaging residents.

Cocktails in Care Homes


£25 buys enough bottles of wine to make Sangria in the summer or Mulled Wine in the winter. Cheers!

"It is nice to have the sound of laughter and people enjoying themselves in the background rather than the TV"

Pat, Care Home Resident & Party Guest