A charity is making variety shows featuring acts by young people to entertain care home residents during the pandemic.
The first two YOPEY Virtual Variety Shows, featuring over 20 talented young people, are already on YouTube and Facebook.
Every care home in the UK is invited to show them to their residents – each show lasts a little over 20 minutes – and to tell YOPEY what its residents liked or disliked so that the charity can make future shows better.
The first two shows include a tribute to Dame Vera Lynn, who died this summer, and a Benny Hill-style comedy sketch. YOPEY hopes these and other acts that revisit the past will spark reminisces by residents.
One of the first care homes to view the first show is St Georges Court in Cambridge. The home is owned by ExcelCare whose Regional Lifestyle & Well-being Lead Pearl Ewing said: “Residents really enjoyed the video.”
In normal times YOPEY runs befriending schemes where young people – known as YOPEY Befrienders or YOPEY Dementia Befrienders – visit care homes. These face-to-face visits were stopped by lockdown, but the charity and its young volunteers have continued to support elderly care home residents ‘virtually’ by offering free services to care homes.
Since the start of lockdown YOPEY has sent thousands of letters by its hundreds of young volunteers by email to over 200 care homes nationwide.
Now the charity is also putting together variety shows of young people’s acts to entertain elderly residents. The shows have a wider variety of acts than traditional TV shows as they also include young people making artworks, handicrafts and showing their sporting prowess. Other acts, aimed at sparking memories, are in development.
The shows can be found on YouTube by searching for ‘YOPEY Befriender’ and clicking on the black-and-white YOPEY Virtual Variety Show title pages.
YOPEY founder Tony Gearing MBE said: “We know elderly people love hearing about young people’s lives from the success of our YOPEY Befriender schemes.
“Through YOPEY letters and YOPEY Virtual Variety Shows, the elderly can continue to read about and see young people’s lives.
“Our young volunteers also want to show the residents that they are in the thoughts of people outside their care home. That we still care about them.
“None of the young people are professional performers, but I think that just adds to the charm of the shows.”