SMILES GALORE show young and old enjoying themselves as young people from a Suffolk sixth Form visit residents at a care home for the first time.
After arriving at Hazell Court in Sudbury, the 16 and 17 year-olds from Thomas Gainsborough School in Great Cornard joined in a bingo-like game before finding out about their new friends’ lives.
One resident told 17-year-old Kaedyn Duke about his experiences as a child during the Second World War, having a “fantastic time” playing on bomb sites. “This was a really interesting conversation.”
Another resident told 16-year-old Maisie Young that she was in her 90s and had lived in the area her whole life. “I spoke to her about her five children and she told me how her youngest daughter took her to London on her 92nd birthday.”
Emily Ward, 17, discovered shared interests in exercise, nature and cooking with a resident. “She told me ‘It is so lovely to find someone like me’.”
The young people were taught to relate to people living with dementia by YOPEY’s founder Tony Gearing MBE. “I was very impressed by these young people’s willingness to help a generation who are probably even older than their grandparents.”
The aim is that the YOPEY Befrienders will come from their sixth-form centre to the care home to visit the residents regularly and take part in activities – maybe even putting on a few of their own.
The YOPEY Befrienders will write reports about what they do during each visit, building up a personal Record of Volunteering Achievement that they can put into their career CV and include in applications to universities and for jobs. YOPEY will compile a summary of all the records that Hazell Court and Thomas Gainsborough School can show to their respective inspection bodies.
Rachel Fitton, the Clinical Director of The Partnership In Care, which owns Hazell Court, said: “We are delighted to be working on this intergenerational project with YOPEY which brings many benefits for all involved.”
Kenny Alexander, Director of Thomas Gainsborough Sixth Form, said: “I’m sure our students will bring a lot of happiness to the residents of Hazell Court.”