An all-inclusive Uxbridge care home hosted its own fiesta on Friday 25 August ahead of the notorious Notting Hill Carnival.
Ryefield Court, one of the homes associated with Berkley Care Group, hosted its own carnival-themed celebration of culture, community and the heritage of Caribbean people.
This came two days before Notting Hill Carnival, where sexual assault, machetes and an explosion of crime dampened the mood of the commemoration of 75 years since the first Windrush arrivals.
Madge Wang, Manager at Ryefield Court, said: “As we are only down the road from the famous Notting Hill Carnival, it felt like a great way to honour the iconic event and join in the celebrations of inclusivity and diversity.
“The room was filled with laughter, and we are looking forward to repeating the event next year.”
The home replicated the carnival’s colourful aesthetic with bunting and balloons, while hula skirts, flower garlands and sparkly pom poms were given to residents and staff.
Residents were even encouraged to paint their own face masks.
The in-house catering team prepared a selection of carnival inspired food, including jerk chicken, feijoada, fried shrimp as well as fresh fruit and fried Oreos.
Jugs of rum cocktail mixes, mimosas and fruit juices were also served to transport guests to the tropics.
A local performer was also invited to entertain the residents with a range of reggae, samba and calypso tracks so many began to sing and dance along to the lively and rhythmic music.
Wang added: “Lots of the residents enjoyed dancing to the rhythmic music, with others joining in to sing and wave their pom poms.
“It was a wonderful way to bring our residents together and the vibrant decorations and food really made us feel we were transported to a tropical paradise.”
The first Notting Hill Carnival was held in 1960, organised by a Trinidadian community activist, to promote unity and understanding following tensions between Caribbean immigrants and white residents.
The west London event has grown in size and popularity over the past five decades, becoming a vibrant and colourful celebration of Caribbean culture, featuring elaborate costumes, traditional music and a lively atmosphere.
However, this year the celebrations were overshadowed by the shocking increase in crime rates: there were 308 arrests across Sunday and Monday and eight people were stabbed on Monday in just a matter of hours, including a 29-year-old man who was taken to hospital in a ‘critical’ condition.
Police officers were also kicked, punched, spat on, bitten, head-butted and more than 50 were assaulted, while there were 75 incidents of officers being attacked.
Ryefield Court therefore demonstrated what the now notoriously dangerous Notting Hill Carnival should be about: a shared love for culture, inclusivity and diversity.
The care home’s heart-warming event acts as a reminder that instead of being typified with atmosphere of fear and shock, the Notting Hill Carnival should be the epitome of love, joy, music, laughter and dancing.