Residents get bar for care home in Newtownabbey

Ben Madigan care home staff members at the new bar Ben Madigan care home staff members Rosemary Dilworth, Deborah Oktar-Campbell and David Steele at the new bar

The phrase going for a nightcap could take on a whole new meaning at a County Antrim care home, as residents look forward to the opening of a bar on the premises.

Angels' Cove at the Ben Madigan care home in Newtownabbey will be officially opened on Friday.

It features its own beer pumps, optics, pint glasses, ash trays and even a disco ball should one of the facility's 64 residents be in the mood for a dance.

Deborah Oktar-Campbell is operations manager with the Priory Group which runs Ben Madigan and four other homes in Northern Ireland.

She said there had already been a positive reaction to the pub and explained the thinking behind the initiative.

"It has been named by a resident because to them it is the Angels' Cove," she added.

"There was a bar closing in Newry, so we bought their tables and chairs, nearby bars have also donated glasses.

"Part of the national dementia strategy is focused on social inclusion and we are trying to make our care homes 'a home from home'.

"Residents might not be able to go out for a drink now, but they might have gone to a pub before in their life and it is important to them to remember what that is like.

"It is also a place for the families of the residents, something for them to do and somewhere to go."

Ms Oktar-Campbell said Angels' Cove was the second bar the Priory Group had installed at one of their care homes in Northern Ireland.

She said it was similar in character to the pub located in its Cairnmartin care home in west Belfast, which is based on the city's famous Crown Bar.

'Vodka bottle'

"At the bar we have at the Cairnmartin care home on the Ballygomartin Road we have darts nights and pub quizzes," Ms Oktar-Campbell said.

Crown Bar The Crown Bar is one of Belfast's most famous pubs

"It is themed like the Crown bar in Belfast, the residents will say I am going to the Crown, because it looks like the Crown Bar.

"The Crown Bar gave us bits and pieces for it and we have one of their old pumps."

Ms Oktar-Campbell said soft drinks would be served at the premises, but that residents could have an alcoholic beverage.

Few of them are drinkers and those hoping for a sup of what Ian Paisley once described as 'the devil's buttermilk' at Angels' Cove will have to rely on family members.

"There will be no alcohol unless the family bring it in," she said.

"There is a vodka bottle in the bar and it looks like a vodka bottle, but it has water inside.

"Clients who are not interested in the bar are not forced to go, they have the choice of other communal areas, there is also a cafe in the care home and a sweet shop."

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