An innovative project is bringing generations together and inspiring youngsters and care home residents.
The nursery, which sits in the grounds of the centre, has always enjoyed a close relationship with its neighbours but it was Doreen Hearshaw, Little Deers Manager, who realised the potential for expansion.
She said: “I am a paediatric nurse, so came to the nursery with a slightly different angle on things. We initially ran it as a six-week trial, to see how things would go, and it has really grown arms and legs.”
Entertainments Manager Eileen Flannigan worked closely with Doreen to provide a programme that would benefit both young and old. Eileen spoke to the residents at the home and they made a mutual decision as to who would come to the nursery and ‘stay and play’.
Doreen said: “Crocs and Tots has seen valuable and wonderful friendships forged between the children and the residents. The residents have even joined in our Spanish lessons. It has been amazing.”
The project has been so successful that Doreen was invited to London to speak at a meeting for United for All Ages – a think tank that works with national and local organisations to unite people. The nursery has also been in constant touch with the University of Anglia, which is evaluating the impact this is having on all members.
Doreen added: “Thanks to the support from United for All Ages and the University of Anglia, I have been able to document evidence of how wonderful this programme has been.”
The evaluations are continuing but Doreen knows the programme has been a runaway success due to the continued enthusiasm of the children, residents and staff at both centres.