Art of friendship

Innovative project to bring generations together inspires schoolchildren and lifts the spirits of care home residents

An art project at Beech Manor Care Home is helping bring generations together.

Tailoring care to meet the needs and wishes of every resident is vital to staff at the Blairgowrie home, so when Home Manager Amanda Sword realised the positive impact of visiting children, she was keen to get the local schools involved.

“We have always tried to get the community involved in the home but the schoolchildren only visited to sing at Christmas,” explained Amanda.

“The residents just loved the youngsters coming in, their faces would light up when they arrived, so we made contact with the local primary and high schools who were really keen on the pupils getting involved.”

The scheme has seen several pieces of art created and has worked so well that, from this autumn, the local nursery kids are also heading along once a month.

“Our project is really breaking down barriers. It was very noticeable when the primary children first came through our doors that they were nervous and unsure, now they have really come out their shells.

“The residents are always delighted when children visit, and they have the continuity of ongoing visits with the same group and love to see how the work is developing.”

Residents and visitors can also admire many of the pieces of art, many of which are prominently displayed in the home.

The success of the project is down to the hard work of the pupils, residents and staff, including Amanda and Activity Co-ordinator Sheila Baxter.

Amanda and Sheila had previously attended a local Generations Working Together meeting, and it was hearing about other people’s work that inspired them to start their own project and make contact with local schools.

Now the pair have been asked to showcase the artwork at the Generations Working Together learning event next February.

Amanda added: “The benefits of this initiative to all who took part cannot be underestimated. Initially I thought if we can change the way that one person sees a care home or lift the spirits of one resident then it is worth it.

“The gains of this project have been much more far reaching for all involved, and I cannot thank those involved enough for working with us. We look forward to many future projects and building these links further.”