The sunny and peaceful garden at Romford Care Home was transformed into a hive of energetic and giggling activity thanks to six mini volunteers who came to help make the garden more colourful and cheerful for the residents.

The team at the Nursing, Nursing Dementia and Residential home organised the day to help get the garden ready for their summer events, as explained by customer relations manager Tracy Smith, ‘The children of our team members have been eager to come in to our gardens and do some planting so the residents can enjoy some lovely flowers for the summer.’

Alfie, Henry, Ronnie, Starla, Mia and Poppy all aged under 10 years old, arrived in the garden and enthusiastically set to work tidying, weeding and planting brightly coloured flowers including begonias and petunias in the borders near the windows and patio so the residents could really see the impact of their work.

~ “I enjoyed helping today and look forward to telling my teachers about the new friends I’ve made” ~ Alfie, aged 10 years old

Alfie’s mum Tracy, Romford’s Customer Relations Manager explained why it had been so important for Alfie to take part in the day, “It was so lovely to see the children working together as a team to plant some flowers that they had chosen themselves to give the residents something nice to enjoy whilst in the garden. It’s always hard to explain where Mummy works, so to have the opportunity for Alfie to come in and meet some of the residents and learn a little about what dementia means was invaluable.”

Romford Care Home residents, June and Dennis Hunt, Margaret Fleming and John Barry enjoyed helping their new friends gardening and passing on their wisdom. John, a keen gardener himself enjoyed sharing his love of gardening with the mini volunteers, saying “It was lovely seeing the children planting in our garden”.

Lifestyle Assistant Hayley Sullivan shared the positive impact of the day for both the residents and children involved, “throughout the day it was lovely to see the enjoyment the residents got from hearing the children laugh and watching them garden. The children all worked so hard and have asked if they can come back again to help plant more of the garden to make it a pleasant place for the residents to relax”

The event was part of RCH’s commitment to bringing the local community into the home and developing meaningful intergenerational projects for the residents and children. RCH Care Homes Head of Dementia and Development Emma Hewat explained the importance of maintaining connections with the community and the benefits of these intergenerational projects for those living at the home, “Moving into and living in care homes often reduces the opportunities residents have for contact with people of difference ages including children.  Recent research by the Intergenerational Foundation has also shown that many children have a reduced chance of having someone aged over 65 living in their area.  Opportunities such as this can really bring the generations together, helping to reduce isolation and loneliness and improve physical and mental health in our residents, as well as enhancing early learning and social development in our children.  There are many shared interests that can bring older and younger people together and I look forward to hearing more stories like this from Romford Care Centre.”