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Care village turns chocolate factory with help of school pupils

If there’s one shared love that brings people of any and all ages together, it has to be chocolate! Embracing an intergenerational experience with their primary school friends, residents at Belong Warrington care village have transformed their home into a Willy Wonka factory by becoming chocolatiers in the name of indulging their mutual affection for confection.

The golden ticket guests, aged between 5 and 11 from Stockton Heath Primary School, were invited for an afternoon at the Latchford dementia specialist care facility and kindly donated ingredients for use, working alongside residents to whip up sweet treats.

Year 4 pupil, Frankie Gallimore, said: “I loved it! The residents made me smile and it was great to make cakes with them. I can’t wait to go back and plant flowers with them!” Ronnie Cosgrove-Cousins from Year 1, added: “They were just like us, but older! And they loved chocolate, too!”

Arranged as part of Belong’s intergenerational strategy for its care villages, the initiative was led by the school’s ‘Art Ambassadors’ – pupils of all age groups tasked with promoting creativity and voicing the arts preferences of their classmates, both at school and when networking with the community.

Their choice of edible art in the form of cake-making made the activity accessible to everyone, including Belong’s residents living with dementia. Eager to be fully inclusive, even dairy-free chocoholics were catered for.

Louise Kelly, Experience Coordinator at Belong Warrington, said: “The pupils’ visit was a real joy for our customers. Intergenerational relationships form a huge part of our work supporting residents to live their lives as independently as possible, build connections and look forward to new experiences.”

Hannah Bird, teacher and Art & Design Leader at Stockton Heath Primary School, also commented: “The best part of school life is enjoying extraordinary activities and getting to meet new people, so it means a great deal to us that our pupils had the chance to mix with older generations and forge new friendships. This has helped them to understand and respect different stages of life and even now, they’re still talking about all their new friends at Belong Warrington!”

The news follows Belong Warrington’s recent launch of a monthly dementia café designed to provide a support network for the community. The sessions are hosted by a Belong Admiral Nurse and the village experience team providing guidance and advice and entertainment for local people living with dementia, their carers and their loved ones. They are open to everyone and are free to attend. For more information, request a copy of the village What’s On programme by emailing enquiries@belong.org.uk.

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