'Become a Care Home Friend' is a ten-week challenge that offers schools a programme of activities to help understand about older generations, raise awareness of care homes and build community links.
The challenge has been created by Care Home Friends and Neighbours (Care Home FaNs): Intergenerational Linking – England’s biggest intergenerational project connecting young people with older people living in care homes.
The project is a partnership from organisations My Home Life England and The Linking Network, who are now reaching out to get more children involved.
Tom Owen, Director of My Home Life England, said: “Intergenerational work can boost children’s self-esteem, broaden their world view and improve empathy and understanding of others.
“Both children and older people can get so much out of a relationship with each other, but their contact can be very limited.
"This project helps to build links with care homes – a part of the community schools might not otherwise engage with - and equally helps care homes feel more connected to their local community.
"We’ve seen so much joy, fun and energy in all our local projects and we hope our Become a Care Home Friend Challenge will spread this even further.”
Aimed at children aged five to 14, the challenge activities have been developed by teachers and are embedded in the National Curriculum.
Starting on Global Intergenerational Week, which kicked off on Monday, April 25 and running for 10 weeks through to Care Home Open Week, worksheets will be issued weekly, offering schools regular activities for Key Stages one, two and three.
The activities include thinking about different generations and the achievements of older people, an introduction to care homes and the people who live and work there, as well as a postcard exchange and making small gifts.
Linda Cowie, Director of The Linking Network, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for more children to get involved in social action and make a positive difference in their communities.
"We give schools information about how to make contact with their local care home and we’ve put together activities that are engaging and fun, supporting children to think more about different generations and create something special for a nearby care home.”
Care Home Friends and Neighbours: Intergenerational Linking combines My Home Life England’s expertise with older people and care homes with The Linking Network’s expertise with young people and schools and their successful Schools Linking programme.
It’s currently creating intergenerational links between schools, youth groups and care homes in 11 areas of England, and this challenge takes things one step further.
Linda added: “It's vital for pupils to feel that they are part of a wider community and this is a great way to connect them in a safe, structured and organised way.
"We would really encourage schools to get involved in the ‘Become a Care Home Friend’ challenge.”
Signing up to the Become a Care Home Friend challenge is free.
To register, visit https://myhomelife.org.uk/challenge