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 wonderful to see ‘old and new faces’ as we have increased the visiting in the Homes, using designated indoor spaces and outdoor covered areas and the gardens.

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. A booking system for indoor, outdoor, and virtual visiting has been introduced and our staff do their best to accommodate everyone’s needs and wants. This system enables staff to manage the volume of visits effectively, for you to plan your visits and to facilitate track and trace more efficiently – the benefit of visits must be balanced with the risk of infection and maintaining everyone’s health and wellbeing, including that of the staff. We hope that designated visitors 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 past 14 days.

Before the visit, all visitors must undertake a Lateral Flow test; the test result must be registered using the Homes Unique Organisation Number and evidence of this given to the Home. The test result must be negative for a visit to go ahead. Staff will be happy to assist you with testing if needed.

We have dedicated COVID-19 secure spaces for visiting in the Homes, which are easily accessible without walking through the Homes. Whilst in the Home, it is essential that you always maintain social distance from staff and any other visitors and that you clean your hands thoroughly on arrival and regularly during your visit. 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. We may provide you with personal protection equipment (PPE) that must be 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 relevant area and back again.

If your visit is outdoors, you must ensure that you maintain social distance at all times.

If you are unsure whether you should visit, please speak to the Home/Service Manager before visiting. 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 now take a trip out of the Home and stay overnight with one of their designated visitors, should they wish to. To enable this, we would ask for prior notice to ensure that risk assessments are completed, testing is undertaken, and infection control protocols will 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 July 2021_

Tenants are advised to follow the latest Government guidance and best practice. Tenants should endeavour to maintain social distance, practice good hand hygiene, wear a face covering, be vaccinated and self-isolate immediately if they have any symptoms.

The success of the vaccination programme is allowing us to see our loved ones more and start enjoying 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 had both doses of the vaccine before commencing work.

Residents are tested with PCR tests every 28 days, and staff complete a PCR test and 2 Lateral Flow Device tests weekly. Although it is recognised that the Lateral Flow Device tests are not as accurate when used in conjunction with PCR tests, they provide additional information that may help reduce transmission. 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. 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 donning and doffing. We have good stock levels of all PPE and are confident we can maintain supplies.

Our resident’s wellbeing is 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. To keep everyone safe, we adhere to social distancing advice, and therefore, our group activities have fewer residents and cleaning routines follow every activity.

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. To reduce the risks of contracting COVID-19, the staff in our Homes complete a weekly PCR and 2 Lateral Flow Tests a week. Our non-resident facing support staff, such as our Quality Auditor, complete a Lateral Flow Device test when visiting, 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

Dying with dignity

Our nursing home recently received the Gold Standards Framework for End Of Life care.

Experienced, friendly, approachable

Our Team

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

Making a difference

What Friends and Family Say

  • "Care at Home have reinstated my faith!"

    Over the last few years, my family have had some difficult and at times very traumatic experiences of elderly care in the community. Balkerne Gardens Care at Home have reinstated my faith. They have provided my father with reliable and highly professional care which enables him to stay in his own home.

  • "Person centred care and professionalism"

    I am impressed with the person centre care and professionalism that is evident every time I visit.

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Balkerne Gardens is an exempt charity and a not for profit organisation. To help us maintain our services for the benefit of the growing population of older people in Colchester and the surrounding area, we are often fortunate to recieve the assisstance of local businesses, charitable organisations and individual volunteers.

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