28 October 2019

Students from Years 7,8 and 9 have been visiting a local care home as part of the College’s ongoing work to forge valuable connections with older people in the community.

And, the visits are proving so popular, that the students are in big demand in the run-up to Christmas!

The College first started visiting residential homes a year ago, after hosting a number of croquet & tea events, where care home residents and people living with dementia are invited to the school to chat and try out croquet.

That led to some of the homes asking for return visits. Around 20 students spent the morning recently at Two Trees Care Home in Milehouse Road, carving pumpkins, making puzzles and playing cards and board games with the residents.

And, said Ms Le Page: “We’re visiting three more homes just before Christmas, doing Christmas activities, so we’re in demand! The students absolutely love it, it’s breaking down barriers. Some of them do get a bit emotional because they have older family members affected by dementia and other health issues.”

She added: “When we started the croquet events, the aim was to have awareness about dementia. From that, we are making more and more connections with older people in our area. Until now, we’ve had links with six homes. We’ve just had two more care homes ask to come to our croquet sessions, and they’ll be with us at our next event on 22 November.”

This was the first visit to Two Trees, but friendships had already been made at the croquet sessions. Activities Co-ordinator at Two Trees, Jo Smith, said: “Isn’t this lovely? The residents have been so looking forward to this visit. It’s not just the activities, it’s being able to sit and talk to the children.

“We have 23 residents and not all are able to get to the croquet sessions, so they’re really happy to meet the children. I think it’s nice for the whole community, to connect the generations like this.”

Year 9 student, Tanya, said: “We really enjoy seeing the residents - and I think they love it as much as we do. They’re our friends, and it’s wonderful, seeing the smiles on their faces.”

Dylan, in Year 8, has been on a previous College visit to a care home. He said: “It’s really nice, seeing how much they enjoy our visits.”

And the Two Trees residents can’t wait for the next visit. One resident, Delsie, said: “It’s so nice of them to come and see us - they are all so lovely!”

The College will now be helping to raise money through events such as bake sales, to buy more interactive cuddly toy cats for the residents, after seeing how much comfort they bring.