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Children support elderly through community spirit

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Pupils in Year 5 at Hopton Primary Academy, part of the Diocese of Norwich Education Academies Trust (DNEAT) has been part of WeWill CARE 2022.

CARE 2022 is an intergenerational social project, running in conjunction with Ormiston Academies Trust, the Lottery Fund and Barchester Ritson Lodge, a local care home. It aims to raise awareness of dementia whilst simultaneously teaching pupils about the importance of community spirit, strengthening relationships with peers and supporting elderly residents to help to combat loneliness.

Mrs Kellie Egleton, Headteacher of Hopton CE Primary Academy said: “The project has taken many forms. At Christmas time, Hopton pupils designed and created gift hampers for the residents based on shared conversations about hobbies, memories, oral history and old photographs.  Members of staff from the care home have visited the school to discuss dementia and explore the impact this has on the residents and their family members. The children have valued the opportunity to ask questions and consider how they could best use their Hopton shared values to create a dementia-friendly society.”

Last week, on World Book Day, pupils dressed as their favourite book characters and armed with stories they believed would be enjoyable, visited the residents to read to them.

One pupil explained: “It has been great to be the change you want to see in the world”.

Mrs Garrard, class teacher said: “The residents were thrilled to be part of World Book Day celebrations and are looking forward to the next part of the project which will see them working collaboratively with the school to develop the library.

“Being part of a youth social action group has enabled our pupils to campaign, volunteer, fundraise, support their peers and become strong local advocates for their community as a whole.”

Siobhan Fennell, General Manager, Ritson Lodge said: “Participation in intergenerational programs and meaningful cross-age relationships is a wonderful way to decrease social isolation and increase feelings of belonging, self-esteem and well-being in older adults, whilst also improving social and emotional skills in children and young people. Here at Ritson Lodge, we have had a wonderful time building new relationships.”