Magical time at school for Wrexham care home residents

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Care home residents spent a “magical time” being entertained by primary schoolchildren who sang traditional Welsh songs and served afternoon tea.

The group from the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham were serenaded by the choir at Ysgol Bodhyfryd in Wrexham before being served tea and cake.

Ysgol Bodhyfryd, Brynycabanau Road, Wrexham enjoy the company of residents from Pendine’s Hillbury Care Home who attended a concert at the school and enjoyed afternoon tea. Pictured: Margaret Newall with some of the many children who enjoyed the afternoon

Pupils chatted to the residents whom they have formed special relationships with, thanks to a pioneering project established between the school and Pendine Park’s Hillbury care home.

The youngsters began visiting Hillbury following a suggestion by former teacher Heulwen Harris whose father was a resident there.

The project went from strength to strength as pupils began weekly visits, taking part in various activities with the residents including music and arts and crafts and bingo sessions.

Resident Gertrude Jones, who celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this year and attended the school event, said: “This is wonderful, I’ve never seen so many children together at once. I’ve had a lovely time.”

Fellow resident Margaret Newell, commented: “This is incredible. It’s so special and I feel as though these children are all my grandchildren.” This was echoed by Catherine Jones: “I have a big room at Hillbury and I love it when all the children come to visit. They are lovely company and are a credit to their school.”

Kieron Piggott, 11, one of the pupils involved in the project, said: “It is really good and I enjoy visiting the residents.” His friend Rhys Lloyd agreed adding: “The older people are really fun to be around.”

Pupil Abigail Hilson, ten, who is also involved in the project, said: “I really enjoy being involved because the older people are really interesting and they chat to you about their families and their lives in the past,” while Yasmin Wiseman, 11, said: “I have really enjoyed creating relationships with the residents, it’s such a good idea.”

Ysgol Bodhyfryd, Brynycabanau Road, Wrexham enjoy the company of residents from Pendine’s Hillbury Care Home who attended a concert at the school and enjoyed afternoon tea. Pictured :Pupils Josh Hodgson, Harry Richardson, Jack Griffiths, Ryan Williams and Desel Edwards have a good time with residents Heather Davies and Olga Ord.

The event was tinged with sadness for Year 11 pupils who will move up to high school in September. Eleecia Davies, 11, said: “I have really loved being involved with the older people and I’ll miss my visits to Hillbury Care Home when I go to high school. I’m still hoping to keep in touch with them though.”

Pendine Park’s relationship with Ysgol Bodhyfryd is one of a series of initiatives organised by the care organisation that aims to bridge the gap between its residents and the local community.

Headteacher Geraint Jones, said: “This is a fantastic project and there were quite a few tears at the event at school as our Year 11 pupils were feeling emotional about moving on and not seeing the residents as much, though I’m sure some will keep in touch.

“It has been lovely to see the special bonds that have developed between our pupils and the residents and it has helped to increase the confidence of the children involved. It has also helped our pupils learn about loss as one of our children formed a special relationship with an elderly gentleman who sadly passed away.

“It’s very special to see the sensitivity displayed by our pupils and how natural they are with the residents. We heard a story about how a man had gone to visit his elderly mum at Hillbury. As he approached he saw how she was reacting to the children and got a rare glimpse of how his mum used to be.”

Pendine Park’s enrichment and activities co-ordinator Lisa Bowring, said: “Our relationship with Ysgol Bodhyfryd is very special and our residents get so much from it. It makes their day when they meet with the children, they really look forward to it.

“The children get involved in lots of activities and I think it benefits everyone. It certainly enriches the lives of our residents which is very important. The residents had a magical time.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Hillbury manager Cindy Clutton who said: “The music and the arts are part and parcel of what we do every day and our aim at all times is to enrich lives across the generations.”