Colne home bridges generation gap

Residents at MHA Belvedere Manor care home in Colne have been thoroughly enjoying weekly visits from local nursery group, Lynwood Nursery, allowing both young and old to bond while taking part in a variety of activities.

After being inspired by the Channel 4 documentary, 'Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds', which aired in 2017, the staff made it their mission to bring the same intergenerational sessions to MHA Belvedere Manor. These shared activities, which take place every Friday, include craft making, storytelling and finger-painting. They are often full of laughter and many individual friendships have started to blossom with the regular visits.

For example, during a recent finger-painting session, 105-year-old Connie struck up a bond with three-year-old, Riley, as the two fell into fits of giggles about the mess they were making.

Every week, the youngsters – aged between three and four – also bring with them homemade birthday cards for any residents who have been celebrating their birthdays that week, which always fills them with joy.

Michelle Greenhalgh, manager at Lynwood Nursery, says: “We were really pleased to be offered this opportunity to come together with Belvedere Manor. When we arrive it's lovely to see the children’s faces light up. During our visits the children and residents enjoy stories, arts, crafts, laughter and more.

"Although the children have only had a few visits so far, the impact has been enormous. They love coming back to the nursery and telling stories about their visit to both staff and their families. A couple of parents have commented that their daughters have to choose their own pretty dresses when they are visiting the home.

"We feel these sessions are very beneficial to everyone involved. The interactions that take place are very special to see and hear – even the quieter children find their voices whilst playing with their new friends. The children constantly ask staff when they are going to the home again and one little boy asked when he was going to see the grandmas!

"We look forward to sharing many good times ahead and seeing the friendships grow.”

Ali Gopaul, home manager at MHA Belvedere Manor, says: “These sessions are fantastic for both our residents and the children. The liveliness of the children brings out a different side to our residents, allowing them to get creative and feel youthful again. In turn, we believe the children learn valuable life lessons from our residents, and consequently will grow up with a well-founded respect for their elders.

“There’s always lots of smiling and laughter which definitely lifts the residents’ mood. At Belvedere Manor, we’re always on the lookout for ways we can enhance the lives of our residents – and we think we’ve struck gold with this one. I, personally, can’t wait to see how friendships continue to develop in the weeks and months to come.”