Pupils and care home residents celebrate St David’s Day in style

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A group of crafty primary school pupils and care home residents have been celebrating St David’s Day in style.

Six youngsters from Gwersyllt Community Primary School teamed up with residents of Pendine Park’s Bryn Bella, Highfield and Penybryn care homes to make heart-shaped garlands decorated with daffodils and dragons.

They also coloured pictures of dragons and decorated a special St David’s tree during their latest weekly visit as part of an innovative intergenerational project.

Many of the Penybryn residents have significant brain injuries and the arts and crafts lessons are an important part of the enrichment activities put on by Pendine Park.

The children and the residents work on a one-to-one basis and a “touching bond” has developed between the two generations.

The project is the brainchild of Pendine Park’s artist in residence, Sarah Edwards, who says it’s clear to see the joy it brings to residents.

She said: “It’s about giving residents the opportunity to work with children and enjoy what is an intergenerational opportunity. It works really well and it’s fascinating to see the friendships that develop between the children and residents.

“There is a clear benefit to both residents and children.

“The children work on a one to one basis with residents working on different projects “One week we made Valentine’s cards and today we are making St David’s Day garlands which the residents like to keep them in their rooms.”

She added: “There is also another very important factor which is the Welsh language. We try to introduce words or phrases in Welsh so that our residents can, if they wish, converse in or learn Welsh.

“The children certainly help with that. I’m very pleased with the clear success of the scheme and how much the children enjoy what we do.”

Assistant head teacher Jacquie O’Toole is delighted with the opportunities the project has offered pupils.

She said: “I have to say the has exceeded expectations. We started last year with one group of children and this is now a new group.

“We come here weekly for around an hour. It’s a chance for children to participate in craft projects with residents as well as storytelling and music workshops.”

She added: “It’s wonderful to see children mixing with residents and friendships forming. Very often children work with the same resident. There is real engagement between children and residents and it’s lovely to see.”

Pupil Harri Martin, 11, explained how much he enjoys visiting Pendine Park and working with residents on craft projects.

He said: “I like to draw and do art work and it’s nice to work with residents such as Mike. It’s good to make friends and hear a bit about his life. It’s a good experience and I really enjoy it.”

Penybryn resident and stroke victim Mike Blakely, 60, a former cabinet maker from Bagillt, Flintshire, said: “I love craft work and it’s great working with children. Harri is a pleasure to talk to and I look forward to the children coming in.”

Eleven year old Rhys Colley, said: “It’s nice to meet new people and make friends. I work with a resident called Hugh and last time we made a Valentine’s card which he gave to mum.

“Hugh can’t say a lot but I enjoy talking to him and doing craft work. I’ve made friends with him and enjoy what we do together.”

Pupil Seren Fletcher, 10, made a garland along with resident Gladys Cross which she was going to give to her own nanna, Glenys Howell, who lives in Bradley and who Gladys knows.

She said: “It’s really good fun and I get to make new friends. I enjoy working with Gladys and it’s amazing she knows my own nanna. I like doing craft work We are also making a garland that Gladys can keep in her room too.”

Gladys Cross praised Seren and said: “I like Seren and the other children coming in. They are lovely children and very well mannered.”