Children from Rosemount Primary School this week visited older residents at Brooklands Care Home as part of a befriending project being rolled out by the Verbal Arts Centre.
The Reading Rooms project has been crossing the generational divide by bringing local care home residents and children together over recent months.
A spokesperson for the project said that there is a growing need for intergenerational contact to try and challenge and offset perceptions.
She said: “If we can improve the standing of older adults in society, and nurture what they can bring through intergenerational connections, then we can achieve a better community with a better quality of life for all ages.
“Therefore, Reading Rooms, run by the Verbal Arts Centre, have been targeting intergenerational opportunities and deem these to a very important part of our programme for older people.
“Earlier this year we had sessions with Longfield Care Home and primary schools from Eglinton.
“We had another lovely session in Seven Oaks with very young children based on the theme of summer holidays for National Care Home Open Day in June.
“This October on the run up to Hallowe’en we have linked Rosemount Primary School to Brooklands: Edenballymore Lodge, where we will have Reading Rooms exploring the theme of Hallowe’en past and present through selected stories and poems.”
The project culminated in a special Reading Rooms on Monday where the primary school children visited the residents in Brooklands. The children were presented with a certificate of thanks for befriending the residents of Brooklands as part of Verbal’s Community Connectedness for Care Homes initiative, and two of the care staff from Brooklands, Ellen Nash and Caroline McDaid, were presented with their OCN Level 2 Facilitation Skills for Shared Reading certificates.
Reading Rooms are also trying to extend the idea of community connectedness where residents are seen to be a resource. Verbal has therefore linked Performance Arts students from Ulster University to Owen Mor Care Home as part of their arts and health module.
This joint session is seen to be a learning process for students where they can apply some of the theory learnt in a practical session. Therefore, residents are helping to support the student’s learning adding to their sense of purpose and achievement.
Follow their journey on: www.facebook.com/verbal.artscentre/