Plymouth primary school pupils bring a little magic to dementia residents

St Budeaux pupil Sophie with Freshfields resident Jim

Youngsters from a Plymouth primary school have struck a chord with residents at a local nursing home for people with dementia.


The group, from St Budeaux Foundation School, sang war-time favourites including ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag’ to a delighted audience at Freshfields in Agaton Road.


It was the pupils’ third visit to the home as part of the Archie Project that links schools with people with dementia in the community.


“The moment they started singing, residents’ faces really lit up. It was really magical to see,” said Freshfields’ activities’ co-ordinator Paul Hutt.


“For many of our residents, it took them back to when they were young and helped rekindle some of the lovely patriotic war-time spirit of the era.”


After the concert, which included other war-time songs, including the ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ and ‘We’ll meet again’, youngsters sat and talked with people living at the home.


“It was a chance for our residents to have contact with young people and all the excitement and energy they bring,” added Paul.


“They really lit up the room and created an almost party-like atmosphere. Everyone was on a high afterwards. It really made people’s day.


“The children also got an awful lot out of the experience and hopefully they will go on to become part of a dementia-friendly generation for the future.


“We hope the project will help break down the fear attached to the illness by enabling young people to understand the condition and how it affects people.”


The Archie Project is part of Reminisce Learning, a West Country-based charity that aims to promote, maintain and improve activity and education by working with people with dementia.


Freshfields is a Swedish-designed, purpose-built, registered care home providing nursing care run by Camelot Care, and is home to up to 37 adults with dementia.


According to the Alzheimer’s Society there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. In Plymouth alone it is estimated that there are around 3,200 people with the disease.


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