29 November 2018

The College has held its largest ever croquet session as part of a pioneering US project to reconnect people living with dementia with the world around them.

James Creasey travelled from his home in Colorado for the sixth year in a row to teach a new group of Year 7 students the finer points of croquet before hosting an intergenerational match between students and a team of visitors - some of whom are living with dementia.

Thirty eight visitors from five Plymouth care homes took part in the session in the College's sports hall on 29 November.

Through Hoops To Hope was born when James Creasey's father, Maxwell, was diagnosed with dementia and he and his brother Andrew began to search for an enjoyable way for them to spend time together.

"This has been amazing today," said James.

"I have never seen this many elderly visitors at one of the many schools we work with before. The engagement of the students with the older guests was, as usual, completely heartwarming.

"We gather them all here to play croquet but we all know it's not just about playing a game, it 's also about the magic that happens as they're sitting at the tables enjoying a chat and a cup of tea - wonderful."

Year 7 student Kelsie said the session was "really good fun".

"I love seeing all the people's smiles when they play croquet, I'd recommend anyone to do it."

Year 8 Liam, who has been taking part in the sessions for a year, agreed.

"If you have a chance to join in you should, I love teaching new people to play and seeing how much they enjoy it."

Poppy, a regular guest from a local care home, said: "The students are so lovely - I really look forward to coming."

Fellow guest Dorothy said she especially enjoyed spending time with young people.

"It reminds you of when your own children were this age," she said.

Visitor Michael said: "I like to spend time with young people who respect the older generation so much, they are very kind to us when we visit."

Cllr Ian Tuffin Cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Care at Plymouth City Council came along to find out more about how the sessions work.

"I had a fabulous morning with an amazing group of students and care home residents," he said.

"The College should be very proud of this get-together of generations."

Social inclusion officer Holly McNamara, from St Barnabas Court Care Home, said: "The students are so nice and there is always a real buzz on a morning we are visiting, our residents really do look forward to it."