Friday friends connecting New Forest generations.
Brockenhurst Primary School and Woodpeckers care home share companionship and laughter.
Schoolchildren and nursing home residents in the New Forest are finding friendship together under a new initiative designed to bridge the generation gap.
Pupils from Brockenhurst Primary School have begun making weekly trips to nearby Woodpeckers care home to socialise with elderly residents, find out about their lives and share companionship and laughter.
The children, aged eight, nine and ten, are paired up with a ‘buddy’ resident each Friday, with the visitors and hosts taking turns to suggest a shared activity. Initial meetings have involved the traditional board game Snakes and Ladders and a crafts session on making greeting cards.
Woodpeckers Home Manager Katie Whiteside said: “The children’s visits have quickly become a hugely valued highlight of the week for many of our residents. The smiles and laughter light up each Friday. In this age of so much computer screen time, it’s such a joy to see children playing board games they might not have known existed in years gone by.”
Teacher Justina Hudson said: “This is a great way for our children to learn the skills to be around the older generation, especially if they have little or no contact with a grandparent themselves. Already, they look forward to the Friday trips as a fun learning experience and the chance to spend time with people who typically have fascinating stories to tell about their long lives.”
Woodpeckers’ link with Brockenhurst Primary is one of the aspects of care singled out for praise by sector regulator the Care Quality Commission. In a recent report rating Woodpeckers as Outstanding, inspectors wrote: “The schoolchildren’s weekly visits raise the morale of people living at the home and are a way of recognising and responding to people's needs for social interaction and mental stimulation.”
The link with Brockenhurst Primary is one part of Colten Care’s wider commitment to provide inter-generational companionship for residents. Across its 19 other homes in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex, the family-owned provider is developing similar links with schools, Scout groups and other community organisations.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT COLTEN CARE'S LOCAL HOMES
Colten Care operates six residential nursing and care homes in the local area, including three in Lymington: Belmore Lodge, Court Lodge and dementia specialist Linden House. There are also homes in Brockenhurst (Woodpecker's), New Milton (Kingfisher's) and Mudeford (Avon Reach). Click on the links to find out more about each home...