YOPEY, which has been supporting 2,000 care homes nationwide with young people’s letters during the pandemic, is returning to in-home visits this autumn and is looking for six homes to take part in the heavily subsidised scheme.
The charity, which has been running award-winning and CQC rating-enhancing schemes for care homes since 2013, has been given a donation that will pay the lion’s share of running intergenerational schemes in six homes for a year.
YOPEY recruits and trains the young people to relate to people living with dementia. Upon completion of training the young people become known as YOPEY Befrienders. YOPEY works out a timetable of YOPEY Befriender visits with the care home, and the young people write reports after each visit.
It is these reports that YOPEY compiles into comprehensive documents for participating homes to show to the CQC. YOPEY has contributed to about a quarter of the homes it has worked in to being upgraded.
A home in Wymondham, Norfolk, went from good to outstanding after the inspectors found YOPEY Befriender “helped to reduce people’s isolation and was particularly good for people who did not like big group activities. The service made them feel involved and happy.”
A home in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, also achieved outstanding after inspectors saw it had “strong links to the local community” by being involved in a YOPEY Befriender scheme. “On a weekly basis pupils spent time with people living at the home. The Intergenerational socialising was of benefit to all.”
A home in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, went from requires improvement to good after inspectors reported “working really well was the YOPEY Befriender scheme. This involved young people volunteering to visit people in a care home near their school to help ease loneliness and learn life lessons.”
It costs YOPEY £6,000 to set up and run a YOPEY Befriender scheme for a year, which can involve up to 30 young people and 1500 visits. The charity, which is run by a former Daily Telegraph journalist, is also very good at getting positive publicity for partner care homes. The donor has given £4,000 each for six schemes, leaving six care homes to find £2,000 each.
Preference for this discount is being given to homes in the East of England – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. But homes in other parts of the UK can also apply.
YOPEY Founder Tony Gearing MBE said: “Our volunteers are really keen to get back into care homes, chatting to residents and making friends, helping wellbeing staff to put on activities and generally make the lives of the elderly better – and possibly helping to increase the home’s CQC rating.”
“I truly believe that ‘YOPEY Befriender’ is the best intergenerational scheme available to care homes in the UK!”