Students provide a lifeline for the elderly at care home
PUBLISHED: 19:20 15 November 2018
Paul Sanwell OPP
As thousands of people over the age of 65 feel they have nobody to turn to for help and support students at one Suffolk school have turned to spending valuable time with their elders as part of a ground breaking scheme.
Seventeen-year-old’s Kyra Nel and Anna Morley along with Chloe Jackson, 18, who are sixth formers at Thomas Gainsborough School, in Great Cornard, make weekly visits to Hillside Care Home to link up with residents.
It’s a project, inspired by Tony Gearing, who set up YOPEY Befrienders who volunteer to visit care homes near their school to help ease loneliness while learning life lessons and vital skills for the future.
The three students have been involved for over a year and one which has proved to be both invaluable to the care home and the people who live there.
As one resident 91-year-old Dorothy Dot said: “It’s lovely to see their smile; it’s worth a million dollars.”
And Bob Taylor, 79, said: “It just brightens up my day. We are always knocking the young people but this idea is just great.”
Meanwhile, 88-year-old Leonard Plant added: “It’s just wonderful. I can talk to them about my life and work on the farm and they listen intently. It’s really lovely to see them each week. It’s lovely to see somebody younger than us that we can talk to.”
Stroke victim Yvonne Glen was also delighted to see the students.
The 73-year-old said: “It’s great that we can have a quick chat with them and it is of interest to them to see what goes on in these places and they get on so well with all the residents.”
Chloe, who is studying physiology, sociology and history, along with Kyra, studying health and sociology, and Anna, studying chemistry, biology and geography, said they loved the opportunity to visit the residents.
“I think that it’s really rewarding and if you are brightening up someone’s day it somehow brightens your day,” said Kyra. “It’s nice to know that we have done something to them and we can see what a different it makes to them.
And Anna added: “It’s really nice to come away from school and do something different.”
Joleen Anderson, the manageress at the care home, said the students were a real asset and appreciated the time they spent with the residents while Mr Gearing said he was hoping to expand the project across Suffolk.
“The young girls are a lifeline to the outside world for the residents and we are looking for more schools and care homes to take part. The Great Cornard scheme shows great promise and they have been blazing a successful trail.
“They are learning simple life skill lessons with empathy and learning to be responsible.”
Anyone who wants to take part in the scheme can contact Mr Gearing on 01440 821654 or go to the website https://yopeybefriender.org/