Cup of tea and an iPad: Great Yarmouth youngsters bridge the age gap at special lunch club

Children from North Denes Junior School visiting the Lawns care home to show the residents their tablets and how they use them for school work.
Pupil Georgia Harvey with Edith Lynes.

Picture: James Bass Children from North Denes Junior School visiting the Lawns care home to show the residents their tablets and how they use them for school work. Pupil Georgia Harvey with Edith Lynes. Picture: James Bass

Friday, March 14, 2014
3:15 PM

Young and old in Great Yarmouth have joined a lunch club with a twist.

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Children from North Denes Junior School visiting the Lawns care home to show the residents their tablets and how they use them for school work.
Pupil Summer Bailey with Nancy Long.

Picture: James BassChildren from North Denes Junior School visiting the Lawns care home to show the residents their tablets and how they use them for school work. Pupil Summer Bailey with Nancy Long. Picture: James Bass

At 12.30pm every Wednesday, children from North Denes Junior School race through the doors of the Lawns residential home to catch up with new friends. The youngsters, aged nine and 10, spend their lunch break with residents, chatting about what they’ve been learning in lessons and what they get up to outside the classroom.

This week, the schoolchildren took iPads and tablets into the home to show the residents how they use the compact computers at school.

“It’s wonderful,” said teaching assistant Teresa Fisher.

“They chat together like old friends. Some of the resident’s children actually went to North Denes Junior School and they’ve talked about what they used to have in their packed lunches compared to what the children have now.

“They talk about all sorts. It’s truly magical.”

The lunch club was established by Maria Kellatti, events manager at the Lawns.

Maria, who was recently a finalist at the Norfolk Care Awards for her work in organising activities, said: “The children have got to know the names of the residents and seem to really enjoy it.

“And for the residents, it’s really informative and fun too. They used to have family dinners where everyone sat around a table together so they enjoy that.

“And as much inter-generational work we can do, the better.”

Among the youngsters tucking into sandwiches and fresh fruit on Wednesday this week were students Alex Balls, 10, and Shanay Saadie, nine.

“It’s really nice here,” said Alex.

“They have a nice home.”

Shanay said one of last week’s lunchtime topics was penguins - after her teacher read a story about the birds and the class did some research.

Birthday celebrations were also high on the agenda with Shanay getting ready to celebrate her 10th and Jenny Hibbard, who has lived at the Lawns for two years, getting ready to mark her 100th.

“It’s really nice and there’s always plenty to talk about,” said 87-year-old Daphne Flig.

North Denes is hoping to extend the relationship so youngsters can visit the home at Christmas and on special occasions to perform music, help with gardening or with arts and crafts.

“A very special thanks go to Maria at The Lawns for being so kind and enthusiastic about the project,” added Mrs Fisher.

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