OVERJOYED residents of a Colchester care home have been reunited with their loved ones for the first time since the start of lockdown.

New measures have been introduced at Crouched Friars, in Crouch Street, to allow families to visit their relatives again - whilst maintaining safety.

The home has been closed completely since the start of the pandemic to protect residents.

However, after avoiding any Covid-19 cases amongst residents and staff, the care home has moved to welcome visitors again.

Visits are being conducted outside with those involved observing the two metre social distancing rule at all times.

One of the first residents to receive visitors again was Anthony Judge, 92, who met daughter Arline Bland at the home.

A grateful Arline said after her visit: “It was great to see dad looking so well and content.

“He didn’t seem to have been affected by us not visiting over the last three months.

“He gave me the thumbs up, which was rather emotional.

“The team at Crouched Friars have worked so hard, particularly over the last few months, ensuring residents feel calm and assured at all times. Thank you to all.”

Crouched Friars is also welcoming new residents for the first time in months with strict safety procedures in place to minimise risk to staff.

Home manager Paulina Eagle said: “We’re delighted to be able to introduce socially-distanced visits into Crouched Friars.

“Residents have really missed seeing their relatives face to face regularly, so we’re overjoyed to make this happen again in a safe environment.

“We can already see the positive impact it’s having and it has given a much-needed boost to many of our residents and their families.

“We’re all looking forward to the day when we can welcome relatives back into our home, but until then, we hope that our garden visits will make it a bit easier for our residents and their families.”

To maintain morale of its 30 plus residents during the crisis, staff at Crouched Friars have been hosting extra activities at the home.

They’ve also worked to ensure residents were able to keep in touch with loved ones digitally using Facetime, Zoom and other video calling apps.