Ending Loneliness campaign update: Grove Road Community Primary School welcomes older people as guests of honour to nativity play

Harrogate Easier Living Project Opening Doors clients at Grove Road Community Primary School. Pupils Bethanie Wood (7), Izzy Mason-Andrews (6), Kaelyn Gray(7),  and Joseph Pearson (6) with visitors Jo Turnbull, Rheta Cookson and Evelyn Sanpher. Also in the picture are headteacher Tony Winfield, Jennifer Sonley of HELP and Deputy Headteacher Chris Parkhouse.(1612126AM)
Harrogate Easier Living Project Opening Doors clients at Grove Road Community Primary School. Pupils Bethanie Wood (7), Izzy Mason-Andrews (6), Kaelyn Gray(7), and Joseph Pearson (6) with visitors Jo Turnbull, Rheta Cookson and Evelyn Sanpher. Also in the picture are headteacher Tony Winfield, Jennifer Sonley of HELP and Deputy Headteacher Chris Parkhouse.(1612126AM)

This week’s campaign feature focuses on how younger and older generations can work together to ease the pain of loneliness.

A report from Age UK reveals that intergenerational contact is more effective in combating loneliness than contact within your own age group.

After reading about the Harrogate Advertiser’s Ending Loneliness campaign, Grove Road Community Primary School decided to invite a group of older people from the Harrogate Easier Living Project to be guests of honour at their nativity play on Monday.

For Evelyn Sanpher, 76, meeting the children at the nativity provided a special chance to reminisce.

She said: “I thought the children were absolutely brilliant, I have really enjoyed myself. You forget your own age when you watch them, and just from sitting here it reminded me of when I was young myself.”

Rheta Cookson, 70, said: “It was wonderful, everybody has made us feel very welcome here at the school. It has been great, and especially at Christmas time when your own grandchildren are grown up, it’s nice to see little ones. You can learn a lot from them, and it’s lovely when the different generations come together.”

Deputy Hadteacher Chris Parkhouse said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to open our doors to the community. In our respect code which we have all around the school, the ‘r’ stands for relationships, and we are very passionate about building relationships with our community.

“We are delighted to be a part of the Harrogate Advertiser’s Ending Loneliness campaign, and at this time of year it is especially important to do something to tackle loneliness.

"We feel as though we have been able to start Christmas in the right way, by opening our doors to the community. The nativity today has been very special, and has got us all into the Christmas spirit.”

Support for the campaign: The Harrogate Homeless Project

Chief Executive of the Harrogate Homeless Project, Liz Hancock, said: “We see all too often the impact of loneliness on people who are homeless. Christmas is a particularly difficult time of year, traditionally focused on families and friendships and it can be a real struggle for those who, for whatever reasons, are not spending time with loved ones.
Each year the project tries to make Christmas a little less lonely – we have wonderful donations of gifts and goodies from the community as well as lots of food to make it that bit special.
“The hostel and Springboard day centre will be open as usual on Christmas Day, and our dedicated staff and volunteer team will be there to offer a warm cheerful welcome to help ease that sense of loneliness.”