Intergenerational relationships and the multiple opportunities for meaningful shared knowledge and life experiences for both generations can be invaluable and incredible powerful.
Bridging the gap between generations is something that Manton Heights Care Centre has always supported within their local community in Bedfordshire. So when, Lisa Dye Customer Relations Manager at the Residential and Nursing home wanted to create opportunities to develop intergenerational relationships, she reached out to local Bedford Modern School.
The schools Year 13 students already run ‘a Drop In’, session for any senior citizens in the local community to come along to. It is free of charge and guests are offered refreshments and entertainment by the Year 13 students. It runs on alternate Fridays and takes place between 14:30 and 16:00
Nicoletta Cordell, BMS Drop In Outreach Coordinator, spoke with the Year 13 students, who were more than happy to lend their support.
Lisa also had a special request and asked if the school had a choir, Director of Music Mary Perry suggested that the school’s vocal quartet could also attend the musical event and sing three songs, ‘And So It Goes’ by Billy Joel, ‘Diamonds and Crystals’ by Pete Churchill and ‘People Get Ready’ by Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions.
The afternoon saw the residents enjoy a packed hour of live musical performances including, singalong to songs from the 1960s, performances from two students who played their guitars, an emotional performance from the vocal quartet and there was also time for a music quiz.
James, Year 13 BMS student, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to connect with the community. I found it very enjoyable and I hope they did too.”
Nicoletta reflected upon the success of the event, “The students absolutely loved every minute and it was great to see them involved with the residents. There was a real ‘party’ feel, as some of the residents got up to dance and requested songs that they wanted to hear. One special request was for the Anniversary Waltz.”
Shirley Cowell, 85 said, “The singing and dancing made me feel young again!”
Both residents and students bonded through their love of music and it was lovely to see how much the students enjoyed spending time with the residents, “Sara, Year 13 BMS student, said: “It was so much fun. I wish we could do it every week.”
The residents were overwhelmed and swept off their feet by the musical talent, kindness and genuine interest that the students showed them, as expressed by Peggy Pearson, 93 who said,” It took me right back to my youth. I let myself go during the sing a long as I wanted to sing my heart out; I just hope I wasn’t too loud!”