Youngsters give up free time to improve lives of elderly

Youngsters have been helping out at Kirkley Manor Nursing Home as part of a National Citizen Service

Youngsters have been helping out at Kirkley Manor Nursing Home as part of a National Citizen Service programme. Photo: Kingsley Healthcare - Credit: Archant

A group of local youngsters have been keeping busy over summer by helping to create a memory garden at a nursing home.

16-year-old Hannah Mensah, who has been helping to create the memory garden. Photo: Kingsley Healthc

16-year-old Hannah Mensah, who has been helping to create the memory garden. Photo: Kingsley Healthcare - Credit: Archant

The 15 and 16-year-olds from Lowestoft and Beccles are working on the two-week project at Kirkley Manor, having designed the garden themselves.

Their effort is the culmination of a four-week National Citizen Service programme organised by the charity Inspire Suffolk, which aims to motivate young people towards a more positive future.

More than £240 has been raised by running a tombola and setting up a JustGiving page, and now work has begun to make their plans a reality and improve the quality for elderly people in their community at the home on Kirkley Park Road in Lowestoft.

Inspire project leader, Jade Anderson, said: 'The young people were recruited for the scheme by us visiting schools and local youth clubs.

The programme is organised by the charity Inspire Suffolk, which aims to motivate young people towar

The programme is organised by the charity Inspire Suffolk, which aims to motivate young people towards a more positive future. Photo: Kingsley Healthcare - Credit: Archant


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'Our ethos is to create a varied social mix with a lot of different backgrounds.'

Following two weeks of team-building during which time the teenagers took part in activities such as canoeing and abseiling, as well as learning employability skills, they have been based at Colville House in Lowestoft for their project.

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'Roy Fern, a former Ipswich mayor and a dementia champion, gave us a talk about dementia and becoming a dementia champion, which touched many of the young people quite personally,' added Miss Anderson.

'After speaking about the issues, the group decided they wanted to create a safe area that people with dementia could enjoy and they chose Kirkley Manor to do it.'

The youngsters designed the garden themelves. Photo: Kingsley Healthcare

The youngsters designed the garden themelves. Photo: Kingsley Healthcare - Credit: Archant

The garden will have sensory elements such as wind chimes and plants with rustling leaves and a theme of 'Inside Out', bringing indoor objects such as a bookcase outside to create a homely effect.

16-year-old Hannah Mensah, who lives on nearby London Road South and is one of the youngsters helping out, said: 'It is a nice thing to do for my local community before I go off to East Norfolk Sixth Form College.'

Dani Gaston, manager of the Kingsley Healthcare-run home, added: 'It is a wonderful project and creating something our residents will really appreciate.'

There will be a theme of “Inside Out”, bringing indoor objects outside to create a homely effect. Ph

There will be a theme of Inside Out, bringing indoor objects outside to create a homely effect. Photo: Kingsley Healthcare - Credit: Archant

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