We are delighted that due to the huge success of regular visits by the children from our Sunflower Nursery in Cambridge to our older people’s Extra Care Scheme, Richard Newcombe Court, we are increasing the visits to weekly. Over a number of visits, firm friendships have been formed and all involved have benefited greatly from the experience.
Nursery Manager Kristen Dutton said ‘The children go in to the building confidently and look out for the ‘magic electric doors’ that they now know are part of this special place and straight away begin to look for their new ‘friends’.
‘There is a wealth of ‘mutual respect’ which is encouraged and displayed by both age groups. This week we had play dough out and the children thoroughly enjoying making animals. A 98 year old lady joined in with the activity and created her name with the dough.
‘Another lady joined the room and immediately went to the books and began to read, enjoying reading aloud to the room. The children nearby were playing and increasingly got drawn into the story. We have noticed that children who do not usually display confidence towards adults, and not confident with the English language become familiar with the elderly residents when telling stories. The residents now look forward to the twice monthly visits and love to join us.’
As many of the nursery children have relatives living abroad, this type of interaction is unique and valuable to them and their parents. The children are gaining confidence and better communication skills as they meet and interact with the residents during play times.
CHS also run an alternative intergenerational scheme whereby Cambridge University PhD students live with older people in our sheltered housing schemes offering support and companionship. Started in 2017 this scheme has proved very successful with students paying lower rents and the residents have people living in the scheme and on hand to offer help and support when needed.