A village pre-school and a residential home have bridged the gap between the young and old, thanks to a recent ‘befriending’ scheme that has made an amazing difference.
The heartwarming scheme was introduced by Charlotte Heffernan, who has been the nursery manager at the Smartie Pants pre-school in Tetney since September, and involves small groups of youngsters visiting The Fountains Nursing Home each week to spend time with the residents at the home.
Charlotte explained: “Myself and my deputy, Katie Rutherford, take a group of around six children (aged 2-4 years old) each week to visit the residents at The Fountains, supported by The Fountains’ activity co-ordinator, Angie.
“We do a variety of activities such as painting, play dough and supporting community projects like Tetney scarecrow week, and making poppies for Remembrance Day.
“We had a particularly lovely Christmas visit where the children’s parents attended with us and we all sang Christmas carols and had mince pies.”
Charlotte continued: “The relationships the children and residents have developed is beautiful to see.
“The children call them their ‘friends at The Fountains’ and look forward to seeing them, often talking about them during the week.
“Some of the residents have dementia - however, due to the regular contact, several of them quite clearly remember the children and look forward to the visits.
“The residents have begun to participate in activities they would not normally do, and also get out their seats and join in with more physical activities such as when they did a sponsored sports day for Children In Need.
“This is great exercise for them, both physically and mentally, and the children’s presence is a great source of encouragement for them to join in.
“Some of our children unfortunately no longer have grandparents, and there are several of the residents that have no children or get visitors. “There’s a real sense that we are bridging the generation gap, that we have provided the children and residents with a great opportunity to learn from each other.
“We have heard many stories of the residents travels around the world, their experiences of the war and being exposed to different genres of music, whilst the children have shared their love of baby shark, all things technology, and an enthusiasm for play.”