This year has been a year like no other. Isolation, fear and anxiety have been ever present, and yet there have been rainbow moments amid the gloom where we have celebrated those on the frontline and felt tremendous pride in how our communities have rallied together. The overriding experience for so many of us was the understanding of our basic need for human connections and how important relationships are for our wellbeing.
As an organisation, we were among the first to take our intergenerational sessions online, believing that doing something would be better than doing nothing and recognising that connections can continue to be made, even when we can’t be face-to-face . But we weren’t prepared for just how beneficial a 30 minute online session could be! The smiles were wonderful and the feedback has been overwhelmingly postive. We’ve heard how our sessions impacted the mood and behaviour of care home residents far beyond our weekly sessions; and the empathy that the children have demonstrated has been astounding.
We’ve been very privileged to have supported our community in this way and it’s been a joy to contribute alongside the many unsung heroes working in the education and care home sectors. The staff that we work with show dedication, work tirelessly and see their job as a true vocation – we take our hats off to you and thank you for all the encouragement and support you’ve given to us during this time.
Most importantly, we are pleased to be emerging stronger from the pandemic. Taking our sessions online created a huge challenge in how we could use activities and games to develop real and meaningful relationships between young children and care home residents. Our learnings from this have now improved the service we offer; from more diverse activities that support physical health, to games that are accessible and stimulating to every individual involved. We have weaved these lernings into our new programme, which we are excited to start delivering as the new school year begins. We look forward to enhancing our support over the coming year, and beyond, expanding into more care homes and nurseries, and developing partnerships in new settings such as day centres.
Whilst undoubtedly operating online has been hugely beneficial, we are excited to get back to in-person sessions, where warm handshakes, shared laughter and energetic balloon tennis (amongst many other activities) will make an even bigger difference to the lives of our participants.
Thank you to all our partners for a wonderful 2020-21 and we’re looking forward to magical moments in 2021-22.
Polly van Marken (Founder) and Andy Melia (Chair of Trustees)