The Student Volunteer Programme
We have a wonderful relationship with the students from the Student Volunteer Programme of Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College.
They visited in December to sing Christmas carols and on Monday a group of 30 students visited, in spite of all the snow, to enchant our residents once again, with their beautiful singing voices.
Bringing together “bookend” generations
There have been many university studies into the benefits of inter-generational activities. Traditionally communities have always had young and older generations mixing together. However, research has shown that now, just 5% of over 65’s have any form of structured contact with younger people.
Guy Robertson, a former Government health advisor on ageing, says that in the last 50 years, we have started to work and socialise in an age-segregated world. It is not a healthy society and research has found that our stereotypical view of ageing – as a downward spiral of illness and loneliness – is formed early in life. There have been many recent studies into the benefits of bringing the “bookend” generations together and a renewed realisation that they are a great resource to eachother.
Susan Bosak has written a fascinating article on the benefits of inter-generational relationships. She says that “We live in a society that values adulthood, and in turn doing – productivity and ongoing activity. The young and the old share a different rhythm. It’s one that focuses not only on doing, but on the power of being. It’s the simplicity of playing with blocks or tending to flowers. The young and the old are most closely connected with the essence of living. They can exist in a moment that’s the grand sum of past, present, and future. Rather than time being the enemy – rushing time or stressing to fit as much into time as possible – time becomes a comfortable companion, a circle rather than a line.”
This article very succintly sets out the benefits of bringing together the older and younger generations. Here is the clink http://www.legacyproject.org/guides/intergenbenefits.html
The students of Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, bring a sense of vibrancy and energy into our home. Their exceptional singing, brings out so many emotions in our residents, from laughter, to tears of joy and sheer pleasure. There are many proven health benefits of listening to singing and singing in a group. These include reducing stress and depression, relieving anxiety and elevating endorphines, the happiness hormone. There is certainly a lot of happiness in the lounge when the students visit.
Our residents also love the opportunity to chat to younger people, to hear their news, views, hopes and aspirations. When the students listen to our residents’ memories and are inquisitive about their lives, our residents feel valued and have increased feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. That wish to nurture and contribute to the next generation, is certainly felt by our residents, who have many pearls of wisdom and fascinating stories to impart.
The news article
Shikira and Shannon, both SVP students from Year 11, wrote this very moving article about their visit, which they are happy for us to share with you.
On Monday 5th March a group of thirty Youth SVP students who attend Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College had the privilege to visit a nursing home in Worcester called ‘The Lawns’.
This was the second time we were to visit the Lawns because we had sung Christmas Carols to the residents in December 2017. Once again we were all greeted by the friendly and outgoing staff of The Lawns and they took us into a room at the front of the building as we waited for the residents to be brought in to the lounge.
The students had been practising their songs for a number of weeks and everyone was very excited about entertaining the residents. The first student to sing was Libby and she sang a beautiful solo which was called ‘At last’. Charlie from Year 7 was next and he also performed a solo and he impressed the residents and staff at The Lawns as he had a wonderful voice. We all gave Libby and Charlie a round of applause as they ‘wowed’ everyone in the room. After the solos Ella, Aggie, Lara and Daisy sang ‘Riptide’. This song touched Alan’s heart as he had tears. Alan is a lovely elderly man who attends The Lawns nursing home.
Levana was brave enough to sing a solo first sung by Vera Lynn during the 2nd World War called, ‘We’ll meet again’ which was delightful. The staff at the nursing home were so pleased that we had come to entertain the residents. Not only were they listening but some were singing along as they were given a booklet of our songs at the start. Another student had the courage to play the keyboard and she played ‘ La Donna e mobile’ this was played by Carlotta. ‘Beauty and the beast’ was sung by Libby and Levana and this song was sweet and relaxing and made everyone smile. One of the staff ladies told us how well we all sang together and that it was perfect.
Imogen and Jessica sang a duet to ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’. This song made some of the residents and staff sing too, as it is a well-known song. After these performances we all sang ‘Bridge over troubled water’ followed a crazy song called ‘supercalifragilisticexpialdoucious’ which made some of the students and staff laugh as it was quiet fast. Ella was able to sing the words backwards.
For our final song we performed our college hymn, ‘This little light of mine’ which the residents clapped along to. It was such a joy to see so many of them with wide smiles on their faces at the end of our performance. Colin, one of the residents was a former chorister and the choral singing brought tears to his eyes, as memories of his own life flooded back to him.
After we finished entertaining everyone we all had an opportunity to talk to the residents and the staff. They all gave us brilliant feedback which made all the students feel happy and proud to be part of the Youth SVP. Two of the year 11 students, who want to train as nurses stayed behind and asked the staff questions about working in nursing homes. The staff gave them positive feedback and said they can visit The Lawns whenever they want. The staff told us that they have voluntary work for students to help with and that it would be a wonderful experience and help in their career. We all were very grateful for visiting The Lawns Nursing Home and felt that we had brightened up the lives of the residents. However, just as importantly the residents have shown us how warm and appreciative they were for our being at their home.
We know that our visits to The Lawns are going to continue because it so important for us to show our love and concern for those who are most vulnerable in our community.
We would like to say a HUGE thank you to all the students and their teachers for visiting us and brightening up our day. It was a joy to see you and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.
Warmest wishes from all our staff and residents at The Lawns.