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FaceTime friends: Keeping intergenerational friendships active through lockdown

PUBLISHED: 15:51 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:00 14 May 2020

Care home resident Stan Sitch has enjoyed FaceTime calls with his friends Oliver and Vinnie Powley   Picture: Friend in Deed

Care home resident Stan Sitch has enjoyed FaceTime calls with his friends Oliver and Vinnie Powley Picture: Friend in Deed

Archant

Volunteers from a Norfolk charity are bringing a bit of light and fun into care homes by keeping intergenerational relationships going throughout the lockdown.

Volunteers and care home residents have been taking part in the Plant a Seed with Friend in Deed project, planting seeds donated by Taverham Nursery Centre and sharing photos to bridge the physical gap between friends  Picture: Friend in DeedVolunteers and care home residents have been taking part in the Plant a Seed with Friend in Deed project, planting seeds donated by Taverham Nursery Centre and sharing photos to bridge the physical gap between friends Picture: Friend in Deed

Friend in Deed’s primary aim is to spread kindness and friendship across generations and, now more than ever, the older people and families they work with need support.

The charity, which is a member of the Norwich Together Alliance, offers a range of activities and events that help bring older and younger people together, such as Little Visitor sessions, where babies, children and young adults visit care homes, dementia cafes, day centres and sheltered housing sites to chat, play games and interact with older people.

Since they haven’t been able to run these sessions during the coronavirus crisis, the team has been focussing on ways to maintain the special friendships between old and young.

These include a weekly newsletter, Little News, which has been produced for all the care homes the charity works with and is full of photos of the Little Visitors, puzzles and games they have designed for their older friends, as well as reminiscence photos from Norfolk Museum Service. 

As visits are no longer possible, Friends in Deed has created a weekly newsletter called Little News for all the care homes, which includes pictures, puzzles and games created by the Little Visitors   Picture: Friend in DeedAs visits are no longer possible, Friends in Deed has created a weekly newsletter called Little News for all the care homes, which includes pictures, puzzles and games created by the Little Visitors Picture: Friend in Deed

Other projects include Plant a Seed with Friend in Deed, where seeds kindly donated by Taverham Nursery Centre were sent to residential homes and their little volunteers. They then shared photos and videos of them planting, growing and enjoying their seedlings.

Stanley Sitch, a care home resident at Chiswick House, part of the Black Swan Group, enjoys regular FaceTime calls from his friends Oliver and Vinnie Powley. “I love the boys,” he said, “they are such good boys and Emily is such a good mum. I miss you so much and can’t wait for you to come and visit again.”

Intergenerational visits have been proven to not only benefit the older generation but also benefit young people. For young children, interacting with older people can help with their development, ability to form friendships and also encourage them to communicate effectively.

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For older children, these visits can help with their ability to empathise with others and can result in meaningful friendships and a means of support throughout their adolescent years.

To support the work of Friend in Deed, follow them on Facebook

Norwich Together Alliance

In a time of isolation, helping communities to connect has never been more important. It’s vital for our health and wellbeing.

With an ambition to tackle loneliness and social isolation in Norwich, Aviva established the Norwich Together Alliance last year.

The alliance is a network of local businesses, charities and the council that have joined forces to explore how we can shape our city to help us all feel more connected.

The aim is to create a more connected and cohesive city for everyone.

Now more than ever, alliance members wants to be there for you and offer the support and guidance you need to get through this challenging time.

For more information and stories on what the Norwich Together Alliance members are doing to bring Norwich Together during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.


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