Three Rivers Play with Care

15th January 2020

Residents, community members and children from the St Peter’s School came together to be creative, they made photo frames and sung songs at Meresworth Care Home in Mill End.   

The visit by four to five years olds was part of an innovative intergenerational project led by Three Rivers District Council Leisure Development Team. After a pilot scheme with Pinewood Lodge Care Home and St Joseph’s School, both in South Oxhey, earlier in the year, the team continued to work with other local care homes and primary schools. The aim was to establish relationships and build an intergenerational shared experience for the future.  

These sessions made an impact on both the children’s and the residents’ wellbeing. With a total of just over 25% increase in the residents’ well-being and a 20% increase in the children’s well-being. Plus, parents were able to identify that their children’s personal, social and emotional development had increased by 13% since the project started. 

“Alan loves coming every week, he has a favourite child each week and talks about them a lot in after the session. He said he really enjoys seeing the children” said one participant. Another added: “The children absolutely love coming here, they talk about it all the time. It’s great for those that do not have a grandparent and being able to share experiences together. It has also helped to build on their empathy skills.” 

The team have started another project at Meresworth Care Home and St Peter’s School, in Mill End, Rickmansworth. The reception children from St Peter’s visited the care home every Thursday for six weeks, activities included relaxation and meditation, circus skills workshop, magician show, and the final session ended with a Christmas special in December.  

Evaluation of well-being was done via questionnaires for both the children and residents before the sessions began. Another review will be carried out at the end to determine if the project has been successful in terms of increasing well-being amongst the participants. The sessions are making an impact, the school and care home have shared contacts and the school plan to visit once a month and on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day and Easter. 

Debby Abery from Meresworth Care Home, Mill End said: “This project has been great and made a positive impact on the residents. They have made lifelong friends with the children of St Peter’s School. We are looking forward to having them join us again at the care home in the New Year. Thanks to the Leisure Team at Three Rivers District Council for helping us to make it happen.”  

Michael Conley, Headteacher at St Peter’s School in Mill End added: “This was a wonderful experience where children were able to form relationships across age groups. The children were excited to see their new friends each week. An absolute pleasure to work with Meresworth and we look forward to continuing this.” 

Meresworth Care Home provides care for older people as well as running a day centre for people who live independently in the local community, but need support during the day time. For day centre members, some may be living alone in the community and projects such as these can really help people to re-connect with others.