A new facility in North Shields that provides childcare was the setting for a Christmas-themed intergenerational session.
The meeting of pensioners and young children, most of whom were aged two or three, last week was inspired by the Channel 4 television programme Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds.
Both groups enjoyed festive crafts and songs, along with a Christmas lunch, and there is more to come as the next session on December 19 will be a Christmas party that will include a visit from Santa and a programme for 2019 is being put together.
Little Blossoms Childcare opened its doors in September as a day nursery, out-of-school club and holiday club. It offers childcare for children aged from six months to 11 years.
Nursery manager Vikki Karter said: “After watching the programme, I thought it would be good to set-up regular intergenerational sessions in this area and I contacted the Phoenix Detached Youth Project team as I knew they did work with the elderly.
“They put me in touch with the Chirton Lodge retirement housing scheme in North Shields and it was keen to establish a partnership.
“As well as doing presents for each other, the activities during the session last week included bauble decorations, making sparkly snow and a sensory activity.
“It was a big hit and it was absolutely magical to see the interactions – there was nothing forced, it was very natural.
“It’s great that the two generations can learn from each other. The Chirton Lodge residents were fantastic with the children.”
She thanked the sponsors and others that supported the session and cook Janice Conolly for making a two-course Christmas lunch from scratch.
Chirton Lodge is part of Anchor Hanover Group.
Natalie Johnstone, Chirton Lodge location manager, said: “Some of our residents don’t have family visits or their family live far away, so initiatives like this help to combat social isolation.
“The children were very well behaved and they were keen to listen to what the elderly people had to say. A couple of the kids were shy at first, but later on they came out of their shell.”
For more information about what Little Blossoms and Chirton Lodge have to offer, call 0191 2577376 or 0191 2961667 respectively or go to the Little Blossoms Childcare or Anchor – Chirton Lodge Facebook pages.