Lit­tle acorns

El­derly are young at heart

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Ar­ran Com­mu­nity and Vol­un­tary Ser­vice (ACVS) has planted the seeds of a be­friend­ing project which will see chil­dren and pen­sion­ers reg­u­larly meet­ing each other for sup­port and friend­ship in an ef­fort known as Ar­ran Acorns.

The scheme in­volv­ing res­i­dents of Glen Es­tate and the pre-school chil­dren of Brod­ick early years cen­tre will be­gin later this month and be rolled out at the Stronach day care cen­tre in the new year.

The chil­dren vis­ited the shel­tered hous­ing res­i­dents last week to have a sneak pre­view and to meet their new friends, whom they will visit weekly for in­ter­ac­tion and fun ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing crafts, singing, games and gar­den­ing.

Res­i­dents are al­ready look­ing for­ward to the ses­sions and think­ing ahead, plan­ning a trip out to see the chil­dren per­form their na­tiv­ity play in De­cem­ber. These ses­sions will add to an itin­er­ary of cre­ative ac­tiv­i­ties that the res­i­dents them­selves plan and or­gan­ise.

Ben­e­fits for chil­dren who take part in­clude im­proved lan­guage and skills, con­fi­dence in new sit­u­a­tions, pa- tience and work­ing with a new age group. These ben­e­fits are two-way and in­clude in­creased phys­i­cal and so­cial ac­tiv­ity, learn­ing through skill shar­ing, knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence. Through con­nec­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the wider com­mu­nity, one aim is to de­crease lone­li­ness and so­cial iso­la­tion.

The idea for the Ar­ran Acorns came from a Chan­nel 4 pro­gramme Old peo­ple’s home for four-yearolds where pre-school chil­dren and care home res­i­dents met and both gen­er­a­tions shared mo­ments tak­ing part in var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties.

In the pro­gramme, some of the res­i­dents were rather scep­ti­cal and thought it would be a to­tal disas­ter, but it didn’t take long for the chil­dren to change these views. There were no­table dif­fer­ences recorded in both the phys­i­cal and men­tal health of the res­i­dents. One per­son, who had con­cerns about mo­bil­ity and was al­most too scared to move out their chair at the start, ul­ti­mately took part in the sports day, em­brac­ing the en­cour­age­ment from her new friend.

Fund­ing for the in­ter­gen­er­a­tional project came through the So­cial Iso­la­tion Fund from North Ayr­shire Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship and it is hoped the project will forge stronger links in the com­mu­nity be­tween the groups and sus­tain greater gen­er­a­tional bonds.

Glen Es­tate res­i­dents meet some of the early years chil­dren with Bobbi Mul­hol­land, Ar­ran CVS de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, and Ann Reid, hous­ing co-or­di­na­tor.

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