Visiting loved ones during a pandemic has never been easier – or safer – thanks to one care group’s brilliant idea.

The team at The Bethany House Group, which oversees Whitehaven’s Bethany House and Bethshan Nursing Home, has created a visiting pod for each of the two residential homes, allowing friends and relatives to visit in a Covid-safe environment.

With the help of Shane Hodgson, maintenance manager Daniel Ditchburn and his team created the impressive booths.

And after months of window visits, uncomfortable settings and safety concerns, staff and residents alike are thrilled to have somewhere cosy and welcoming to chat with loved ones.

Bethshan Nursing Home office manager Alana Brown-Telfer said: “It’s absolutely brilliant.

“It’s so much more pleasant for everyone, and this is going to be the new normal for a long time now, so it’s great that we’ve got these spaces for people to use and be happy.”

She continued: “It was so upsetting for residents and for their visitors when the weather forced them to cancel a window visit and things like that, so it will mean so much to them all to have this special space to use.”

Daniel added: “It was all about making things as comfortable and safe for everyone as possible.

“We really wanted to just give the residents a boost, and make things a bit nicer for them.

“Everyone’s had a really hard time this year, so hopefully these pods will give them something to get excited about.”

After just one day of taking bookings for the Bethshan pod, many slots have already been filled, proving just how popular the wonderful idea is.

And Julie Ellis was one of the first people to use the visiting booth, popping by for a chat with her her mum, Caroline Bell, at Bethshan Nursing Home.

The delighted daughter said the pod is a “tremendous” idea, adding: “It made me so happy as I got to see and speak to my mum face to face.”

All involved with the care homes, including Bethany House manager Katie Chisholm and Bethshan Nursing Home manager Alison Bennett, is thrilled to see everyone enjoying the new structures, and hope the success continues.

“We want everyone to know that it’s completely safe,” Daniel said.

“We’ll be wiping down surfaces, and cleaning everywhere after each visit so that everyone’s protected and kept safe from Covid.”

Alana added: “Thank you so much to everyone for being so patient with us through all of this, and hopefully everyone takes full advantage of these pods, and enjoy visiting their relatives again.”

To find out more about the pods, including how to book your slot at either care home, call The Bethany House Group team on 01946 590071.