An extraordinary project in Leicestershire inspired by a popular Channel 4 documentary series is being showcased at a special conference next month highlighting its benefits to the two generations taking part.
The Joining the Generations project, inspired by the Channel 4 series Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, which has seen children from Little Stars Nursery in Melton Mowbray make weekly visits to nearby Gretton Court Care Home.
The two generations join together for inspiring sessions of intergenerational play, where the children and residents enjoy music, singing and a range of other activities.
The sessions have proved a major success bringing health and wellbeing benefits for the residents and developing empathy and communication skills in the youngsters.
Laura Sanders, owner and manager of Little Stars Nursery, is passionate about the benefits of intergenerational play.
She said: “The children really enjoy the sessions, they see it as a party but actually the learning benefits are huge as well, developing the children’s gross motor skills and fine motor skills through the kinds of activities we do in the sessions.
“The feedback from the residents of the home has also been amazing. One lady said to me it was the thing that kept her going through the week – to make that kind of impact on their wellbeing is incredible.
“You can see how wonderfully the children and the residents interact and how much joy and excitement is generated by the sessions.
“The model that we have developed is tried and tested and we now want to share that with others so they can see the long-term benefits this model brings to both young and old alike and hopefully utilise it themselves.”
Other care homes and nurseries interested in hearing more about the project are being urged to attend the Joining the Generations Conference on November 1, a joint initiative between Little Stars and Central England Co-op, where Laura will be keynote speaker.
Aimed at day care/early years and care home providers and employees, the conference will explore and share the benefits of engaging children in the wider community, showcasing and sharing good practice based on the relationship between Little Stars and Gretton Court.
Karen Bevan, Member and Community Relations Officer at Central England Co-operative, which is sponsoring the event, said: “We have seen first-hand the wonderful success of the project between Little Stars and Gretton Court and Central England Co-operative welcomes the opportunity to work with local communities to make a difference to people’s lives.
“That is why we are happy to support this truly pioneering project and I would encourage other nurseries, care homes and providers to come along to this fantastic free conference to see whether this model could work for them.”
The Joining the Generations Conference takes place between 9.30am and 3.30pm on Friday, 1 November at the Salvation Army Centre in Ladysmith Road in Wigston.
It is free to attend, with refreshments and food also free thanks to funding from the Southern Membership and Community Council at Central England Co-op.
Places are limited so those interested are urged to book early to avoid disappointment at http://ow.ly/FgzK30oTDcS
To view a special film showing the project in action visit https://youtu.be/8X-edkBxqyA