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Care Home Friends and Neighbours: Intergenerational Linking

An exciting initiative that is linking young people aged 5-14 from schools and youth groups with older people living in care homes. The project is a partnership from My Home Life England who bring expertise promoting quality of life in care homes and The Linking Network who run a successful Schools Linking programme.

We are thrilled to be supporting National Intergenerational Week this year and celebrating many of the great connections that have been made so far in our first two projects, despite difficulties posed by the pandemic.

The Linking Network in Bradford have paired schools and youth groups with local care homes and are supporting participants to ‘share their story’ with each other. The Linking Network have also created resources for teachers to help children explore what a care home is and who might live and work there.

Children have thought about their own identity and stories before creating cards and messages to introduce themselves to the people living in their linked care home, and have loved receiving messages back – for example from Willow Bank Care Home who sent through a lovely series of photo messages to their linked school as a way of introducing themselves. One class were amazed to learn that Margaret went to the same school as them when she was a child! Many of the links have continued throughout lockdowns and home schooling, with exchanges of Christmas cards and beautiful artwork, and they are keeping connections going virtually until its hopefully possible to meet in person.

Alive’s project #OneGoodTurn in Bristol is also helping forge new connections between young people aged 5-14 and older people living in care homes, by inviting participants to perform ‘good turns’ for each other and boost each other’s wellbeing. Over the festive period they ran a “Jars of Joy” initiative to share hope and kindness and also show older people living in care homes that the community is thinking of them. Both younger and older people filled jars with poems, jokes, treats, decorations and artwork, before sending them off to others across the city. In total 179 jars were exchanged across the generations to postcodes all over Bristol! Some people living in care homes also chose to make wellbeing boxes and hampers to take to the local foodbank. From there they went to pupils and families at a nearby school and were very appreciated.

To mark National Intergenerational Week we will also be announcing news of 9 more organisations across England who have received a grant from our funders, The Dunhill Medical Trust, to create a new intergenerational linking project in their local area which will connect care homes to local schools and youth groups. We are very excited for this next stage of the project!

We also have a series of remote linking resources to support young people to connect with care homes on our website here.