Exciting new intergenerational connections are soon to be formed between young people and older people living in care homes across Bradford.
We are delighted to announce The Linking Network have successfully received a grant to embark on an ambitious 18-month project as part of a national initiative known as Care Home Friends and Neighbours: Intergenerational Linking Project, which promotes young people’s engagement with older people living in care homes across England, in particular those young people aged 5-14 years from less advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. The initiative is jointly funded by The Dunhill Medical Trust and the #iwill Fund, from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. The Linking Network are also a joint partner in the project, alongside organisation My Home Life England.
This exciting new social action project has the potential to transform the lives of both young and older participants and will demonstrate the many benefits of intergenerational friendship; primarily reducing isolation in older people, which has become more prevalent in light of COVID-19, and also boosting young people’s confidence and leadership skills and enabling them to make a positive difference in their communities.
Building our existing connections with schools in Bradford, we will pair different schools with local care homes, supporting them in a year-long programme of community engagement, that will encourage participants to ‘share their story’ with each other. The project will begin with carefully structured classroom-based sessions, to support children’s understanding of care homes, older people and dementia. It is essential to mindfully facilitate this process, so that there is mutual respect and friendships can develop. Following this introductory stage, connections between participants will be enabled through a range of activities around each person’s ‘story’; such as messages, videos messages, arts and craft, digital diaries etc. Sharing and celebrating the rich lives of the older people living in care homes will be key. As the children and young people begin to find out more about the residents of their linked care home, they will be encouraged to take a more active role in making decisions about the direction of the project, collaborating with the older people living in the care home, to plan activities together.
We also envisage the project culminating in a large-scale, collaborative art piece, which will enable the young people to share and celebrate the stories of the older people they’ve come to know, with the wider community in Bradford.
We hope this will be the start of long-term, sustainable links between care homes and schools/youth organisations and the wider Bradford community.
The national Care Home Friends and Neighbours Intergenerational Linking Project is run by partner organisations My Home Life England – an evidence-based, practice informed initiative that promotes quality of life and delivers positive change in care homes for older people – and The Linking Network. The project is funded by both The Dunhill Medical Trust, an independently endowed funder focusing on improving the health and social care of older people, which includes funding innovative community-based developments, as well as the #iwill Fund, from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. The #iwill fund supports the #iwill campaign, which aims to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people by recognising the benefit for both young people and their communities.
We’d love to hear from interested schools, youth organisations and care homes in the Bradford district. Please contact Amy Lock on firstname.lastname@example.org