Balkerne Gardens Trust continues to take the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents, customers, tenants, staff and visitors seriously. We have a COVID-19 Response Procedure and other policies and procedures which are supported by specific Risk Assessments. These documents are reviewed regularly and updated to ensure adherence to government guidance.

All staff and residents undertake regular COVID-19 tests in line with government guidance. The Trust continues to welcome new admissions from the community, other care settings and hospitals. We have a robust admissions policy and transparent procedures to enable safe admissions into the Homes, which includes testing for COVID-19 in advance. We were delighted that residents and staff were prioritised to have the COVID-19 vaccination doses and we do all that we can to ensure new residents are vaccinated before moving into the Home.

It has been delightful to see ‘old and new faces’ as we have been able to welcome many of you into the Homes following the easing of visiting restrictions.

For further comprehensive information about Coronavirus itself, please visit either or the NHS website.

The Trust has followed the guidance issued by the government and our regulators to inform our decisions about how we support visiting in our services. Visitors will still need to inform the Home in advance of their planned visit but visits can now take place indoors, at any time on any day. The booking system for outdoor and virtual visiting is still in place for our staff to be able to accommodate everyone’s needs and wants.

The most recent changes to testing guidance require all visitors to undertake a Lateral Flow Test on the day of their visit and register the test, before arriving at the Home, using the Homes Unique Organisation Number. Evidence of the registered test will be needed when signing in for the visit and the test result must be negative for a visit to go ahead.

We have installed a new digital signing in system, which is intuitive and accessed via an iPad in the Homes reception area. Staff will be happy to assist you with signing in if needed.

We hope that all visitors, especially those who visit indoors, will be vaccinated but recognise that this may not have been possible; please be assured that this will not stop you from being able to visit if you are not vaccinated.

When visiting one of the Homes you must do so safely, to minimise the risk of infection to our residents and staff. Therefore, please do not visit if you are currently self-isolating, have tested positive or experienced symptoms of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days.

It is essential that you always maintain social distance from staff and any other visitors whilst in the Home and that you clean your hands thoroughly on arrival, during your visit and on leaving the Home. You must make sure you wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds, using either hot water and soap or 60% alcohol sanitiser gel. Please ensure any personal protective equipment (PPE) provided is worn at all times, and staff will advise you how to put on and remove this safely. In addition, a staff member may escort you to the visiting space and out of the Home.

If your visit is outdoors, please ensure that social distance is maintained at all times.

If you are unsure whether or not you should visit, please speak to the Home Manager before arriving at the Home. In the case of an outbreak, visits will have to stop for all but essential caregivers, and we will follow the advice of the local public health authorities.

Residents can continue to take a trip out of the Home and stay overnight should they wish to. To enable this to happen safely, we ask for prior notice of the visit to ensure that risk assessments can be completed, relevant testing is undertaken and to advise those involved in the visit about infection prevention and control protocols that should be followed. If you would like to arrange a visit out of the Home, please speak to the Home Manager, who will be happy to help you.

Click below to view our visiting policy.

Visiting Policy updated 08.02.22

Tenants are advised to follow the latest government guidance and best practice. Tenants and their visitors should endeavour to maintain social distance, practice good hand hygiene, consider wearing a face-covering in crowded indoor venues, be vaccinated, undertake regular Lateral Flow Tests and self-isolate immediately if they have any symptoms.

The success of the vaccination programme has allowed us to see our loved ones more and to enjoy many of the things we have missed. We will continue to encourage all new residents who have not been vaccinated to have the vaccination, and all new employees will need to have both doses of the vaccine to work for the Trust.

From the 14th of February, residents will be tested with PCR tests every 28 days and staff will complete and register a Lateral Flow Test every working day, before the start of their shift. Staff have been trained in infection prevention and control and understand the symptoms to look out for.  We have clear procedures to follow should a resident or staff member have symptoms or receive a positive test result. Should your loved one display symptoms or test positive for Coronavirus, we will contact you to discuss the situation.

All staff wear the appropriate PPE in line with government guidance and have received trained in correct putting on and removal. We have good stock levels of all PPE and are confident we can maintain supplies.

Our resident’s wellbeing remains of utmost importance to us. We have various activities, events, and entertainment for both individuals and smaller group sessions to help people stay connected and active.

We are proud to have a committed, skilled and professional workforce who have worked tirelessly to keep your loved ones safe. Many of you have contacted us to pass on your thanks to the staff.  It means a great deal to them to be recognised by you for their hard work, so please continue to do this if you wish and know that your kind words are shared with the teams. You can also leave a review on or email us at

To ensure that high-quality care continues to be provided, all essential support staff can now enter the services and resume on-site visits. Our non-resident facing support staff, such as our Quality Auditor, complete a Lateral Flow Test on the day of their visit, and everyone follows infection control procedures.

Changes to Coronavirus guidance has kept us on our toes for the last year, and we have tried to keep everyone up to date as best we can. If you would like to receive email updates from us, please contact the relevant Home Manager of where your loved one lives or email


Excellent care

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Balkerne Gardens Trust is led by a senior team who want to see the highest standards of care and support delivered throughout the Trust.

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    “All the staff at Cheviot – the nurses, carers, domestic staff, kitchen and dining room staff, people in the laundry and anyone else I have forgotten! You are all wonderful. The care was kind, loving and considerate – we could not have been better encouraged and looked after”

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