CARING FOR THE ELDERLY
Young people in Suffolk have stepped up to help improve the lives of the elderly, as Stephen Pullinger of Kingsley Healthcare reports.
Youngsters lending a helping hand
The prospect of lazy summer days might seem great to begin with but teenagers can quickly become bored during the long school holidays.
However, one group of youngsters from Lowestoft and Beccles found the perfect way to keep busy and make new friends while improving the quality of life for elderly people in their community.
The 15 and 16-year-olds were working on a two-week project to create a memory garden at Kirkley Manor Nursing Home, in Kirkley Park Road, Lowestoft.
After raising more than £240 by running a tombola in the town centre and setting up an online Just Giving page, they designed their garden and set to work building it.
The project was the culmination of a four-week National Citizen Service programme organised by the charity Inspire Suffolk, which aims to motivate young people towards a more positive future.
Inspire project leader Jade Anderson says: “The young people were recruited for the scheme by us visiting schools and local youth clubs. Our ethos is to create a varied social mix with a lot of different backgrounds.”
Following two weeks of team-building, during which time the teenagers were given the opportunity to take part in activities such as canoeing and abseiling and to learn employability skills, they were based at Colville House, in School Road, Lowestoft, for their project.
Miss Anderson says: “Roy Fern, a former Ipswich mayor and a dementia champion, gave us a talk about dementia and becoming a dementia champion and it touched many of the young people quite personally. After speaking about the issues, the group decided they wanted to create a safe area that people with dementia could enjoy and they chose Kirkley Manor to do it.”
The garden has sensory elements such as wind chimes and plants with rustling leaves and a theme of ‘Inside Out’, bringing indoor objects - such as a bookcase - outside to create a homely effect.
One of the youngsters, Hannah Mensah, 16, who lives in nearby London Road South, says: “It is a nice thing to do for my local community before I go off to East Norfolk Sixth Form College.”
Dani Gaston, manager of the Kingsley Healthcare run home, adds: “It is a wonderful project and has created something our residents will really appreciate.”
It was a busy summer for the young people.
Some of the group who took part in the excellent project.
Working together to create a welcoming place for everyone.
Hannah Mensah in the garden..