Connecting Young and Old

As Woody from Toy Story says to his fellow toys, ‘you’ve got a friend in me’, and that’s what young people and older clients with Bellarine Community Health are now saying to each other following the successful expansion of an intergenerational program on the Bellarine.

The program, which connects school age children with older adults in a variety of settings, has been expanded from a successful pilot at the BCH Point Lonsdale site to a second location in Portarlington.

“We surveyed both clients and students at the end of the pilot program to determine whether it had been successful, and whether clients and students would like to continue, and it was a resounding “YES’ from both parties,” said BCH Social Support Coordinator Karen Crockford.

‘It made me happy because they were kind and funny’, ‘I enjoyed the children’s openness’, ‘I was happy seeing everyone because everyone was smiling’, ‘they had patience and respect for us’, were just some of the responses from both students and clients.

The program has now been expanded to link students from St Leonards Primary School with BCH clients in Portarlington. The collaboration with St Leonards and Point Lonsdale Primary Schools brings the children and clients together to form meaningful relationships and give the different generations opportunities to share experiences and knowledge.

“We’re creating opportunities for all generations to feel valued and part of their community,” said Ms Crockford. “The program also helps reduce ageism, improves physical and mental health, builds cognitive abilities including communication and contributes to positive relationships between young and old.”

Students visit with clients once a month for a range of different activities including writing letters, playing games, intergenerational education, story time sessions, and craft activities.

You can learn more about the BCH Social Support Program HERE or call the BCH Intake team on 1800 007 224.

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