Community links elderly with local youngsters

A new initiative has seen one Perth community bring together the young and old.

The Balhousie Link has connected children from Balhousie Primary School with residents at Balhousie North Inch Care Home on Hay Street.
Children from P5 and 6, 19 in total, as well as 16 children from the nursery class, visit the care home once a week to talk and play games with the residents, bringing the two generations together.

A spokesperson said the idea first came about when teachers at the school noticed the catchment area for Balhousie had relatively high levels of unemployment and many came from single parent families.

They also noted a large proportion of children at the school came from elsewhere in Europe, with 50 per cent having English as a second language.

As a result, many of the children at the school have no connection or communication with their grandparents.

Kate Samuels, from Generations Working Together, explained: “The activities are varied and seasonal, so at Christmas they sang carols together and now they are having picnics and afternoon tea.

“The idea is a lot of people who come from places with no grandparents are able to get a positive role model, and challenge ageism and stereotypes.

“It gets these children meeting the older people in their community.
“The school initially got in touch. It was meant to be a shorter project, but it has been so successful the younger children have got involved too, it has been very popular.

“One story from Balhousie Links that I particularly liked was a younger child from Poland was able to meet someone in the care home who was also from Poland. The child wasn’t engaging very much, but was able to build a connection with this person in the care home, they have now built a relationship.

“The children also brought presents to the care home at Christmas, which wasn’t part of the programme, but they had made friendships so they wanted to. Both groups look forward to the visits and promoting inter-generational activities like this has key benefits for both sides and brings the community together.”

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5th June 2017