Old and young unite for school project at Northampton care home

Tony was given a Colin the Caterpillar cake by one of the four year olds at Bridgewater Primary School.
Tony was given a Colin the Caterpillar cake by one of the four year olds at Bridgewater Primary School.

A scheme called the 'Book End Project' has been rolled out at St Christopher's Care home, in a bid to build friendships between the older and younger generations.

The five-week project will include the same 10 children, aged four and five years old, and 10 care home residents, aged between 84 and 99 years old, so they can build up a relationship.

Tony was really happy to be celebrating his birthday with the children today. Pictures Kirsty Edmonds,

Tony was really happy to be celebrating his birthday with the children today. Pictures Kirsty Edmonds,

This week the children chosen from Bridgewater Primary and Nursery School threw a party for one of the care home residents, Tony Austin, who was celebrating his 84th birthday, as part of the joint initiative between the school and care home.

SEE MORE: Pictures show old and young uniting for new school project at Northampton care home

Sarah Clarke, manager of St. Christopher's Care Home, said: "Last year Tony did not even want to celebrate his birthday. He said 'what's the point? It's just another day'.

"But this year, when I told him about celebrating it with the children he said 'that would be nice' - it just lifted his mood.

"All the residents love to see the children, and animals, they just benefit greatly from it. It makes residents more animated, more chatty and more social. There's so much energy in the room and they thrive off it."

Week one of the scheme began with everyone making name tags together. The children then introduced themselves to the residents by singing the 'Hello' song and by playing games, which the elderly would remember from their childhood.

Today (Wednesday) was week two of the project and the children and residents threw a birthday party with balloons, played pass the parcel and ate jam sandwiches, biscuits and cakes for Tony.

The school also gifted Tony with a teddy bear, a Colin the Caterpillar cake and many more presents.

Birthday boy Tony, originally from Church Brampton and who once worked for Phipps Brewery, said: "They have all done very well for me, it's absolutely brilliant. I feel very special that's for sure."

The Book End Project - which gets its name from the different ends of the age spectrum - will be evaluated for both groups from beginning to end.

There will be three stages of evaluation for the St. Christopher's residents.

There will be a questionnaire to complete, for those who are able to, and the care home will evaluate how their answers change over the five-week period. For those who cannot fill in a questionnaire, their progress will be reported by observation by the care home manager, Sarah.

The primary school will be completing entry and exit observations to feed back how children have engaged with their language and communications.