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Global Intergenerational Week: ‘Magic’ when children visit veterans at Surbiton care home

Residents at a Surbiton care home have said how much they enjoy visits from nearby schools and nurseries, ahead of Global Intergenerational Week (24 April – 1 May).

Royal Star & Garter receives regular visits from groups, including Child’s Play Nursery play group, and St Matthew’s Primary School.

Royal Star & Garter is a charity which provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia.

Child’s Play Nursery started visiting earlier this year. Owner / Manager Melanie Flynn said: “We come each week, usually with four children at a time but sometimes more, and they love it. We bring in paintings and drawings for the residents, and then we sing songs and chat to them. It’s a chance for the children to mix in a different environment and be part of the wider community, and I see their confidence grow from the visits. Residents have told me how much they look forward to seeing us, which is lovely to hear, because we really look forward to seeing them as well.

St Matthew’s School has been coming to Royal Star & Garter for several years, and recently Year 4 and 5 pupils have been taking part of an intergenerational music project. Teacher and Community Links Coordinator Kate Thomas said: “The project is designed to connect younger and older generations through music and movement activities. The residents are thrilled to meet the children, and we look forward to more sessions working together.

This year, Royal Star & Garter in Surbiton has also welcomed the choir from Ellingham Primary School in Chessington, while young pianist Jemima has been playing for residents for several years and continues to do so.

Surbiton resident Vera said: “I enjoy it so much when the children come in to see us. I think it’s wonderful that the Home arranges this – it brings a little bit of magic, and that’s a very special thing to do.

The visits are arranged by the Home’s Wellbeing Team. Wellbeing Coordinator Suzie Elliott said: “Residents get so much joy out of these visits, and you can see the boost it gives their mental health and wellbeing. It’s such a pleasure to welcome the younger generation here, and it’s beautiful to watch them interact with older people.

Royal Star & Garter’s other two Homes, in Solihull and High Wycombe, have also welcomed visitors of all ages.

Royal Star & Garter in Surbiton is welcoming new residents. For more information on this, or to work at the Home, go to www.starandgarter.org/surbiton

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