Loneliness affects many older people in our community. A Norfolk-based charity is using friendships with schoolchildren to lessen its impact. Sophie Skyring reports.

Ruby Jennings from Taverham is 10 years old and attends Drayton Junior School.

She is a Junior Ambassador for the Friend in Deed charity, which helps build intergenerational friendships between children and nursing home residents.

“It makes you feel so special and makes a difference in your life and the lives of the residents,” she said.


Ruby Jennings is a Junior Ambassador for the Friend in Deed charity. Byline: Sonya Duncan
– Credit: Sonya Duncan

Ruby attended a cake-making session at Badgers Wood Care Home in Drayton two years ago during summer vacation, then continued to attend events there and began to tour the home after school care.


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Obtaining the maximum amount of funding from the Alec Dickson Trust, Ruby was able to organize activities to build even more intergenerational friendships.


Ruby Jennings Fully Funded Alec Dickson Trust

Ruby Jennings, 10, has received the maximum amount of funding from the Alec Dickson Trust.
– Credit: Becki Jennings

Ruby said: “My favorite activities were a snack I made with my class for intergenerational friendships and we also made William Morris inspired bags.”


Shopping for Ruby Jennings tea

Ruby Jennings went shopping before school to buy everything for the intergenerational snack.
– Credit: Becki Jennings

She added, “I have some money left so I could spend it on another cupcake-making activity over the summer vacation.”

Claire Chilvers, Health and Social Services Coordinator at Badgers Wood, said: “Ruby’s activities have a huge impact on the lives of our residents.

She added, “It’s so rewarding as a care provider to see their faces light up and see the connection between children and residents. ”

Maurice Hovells, a nursing home resident, said: “It’s so wonderful that we have such a high level of intergenerational input here at Badgers Wood.

“The Friend In Deed project and everything Ruby has done for us with its grant is making such a difference in our lives.


Ruby Jennings is a Junior Ambassador for the Friend in Deed charity who helps build friendships between

Residents of the Maurice Hovells care home of Badger Wood Care Home. Byline: Sonya Duncan
– Credit: Sonya Duncan

“We all love seeing the kids, hearing their chatter and laughter, and I feel blessed to be able to be a part of their lives as much as they are a part of ours. Thank you on behalf of all the residents who live here.

Ms Chilvers added: “Friendship relationships have such a positive effect on both sides – it creates a level of understanding, where these relationships usually don’t have a chance to develop.”


Ruby Jennings is a Junior Ambassador for the Friend in Deed charity who helps build friendships between

Ruby Jennings is a Junior Ambassador for the Friend in Deed charity that helps build friendships between young children and residents of nursing homes. Ruby is pictured with residents of the Maurice Hovells and Audrey Adcock of Badgers Wood Care Home. Byline: Sonya Duncan
– Credit: Sonya Duncan

Elsewhere, Emily Powley, of Horsford, has two children who are also involved in Friend in Deed, Vinnie, three, and Oliver, four.


Oliver and Vinnie Powley with some of their toys which they are taking to retirement home to brighten up the resi

Oliver and Vinnie Powley with some of their toys that they take to nursing homes to boost the morale of the residents. Photo: Danielle Booden
– Credit: Danielle Booden

“Oliver and Vinnie love to go to Chiswick House, they often take their toys and show them to the residents,” she said.


Oliver and Vinnie Powley with some of their toys which they are taking to retirement home to brighten up the resi

Oliver and Vinnie Powley with some of their toys that they take to nursing homes to boost the morale of the residents. Photo: Danielle Booden
– Credit: Danielle Booden

She added, “It has done so much for the confidence of my children, and it has taught them to have a lot of respect for the elderly. I also think it helps the elderly, it makes them happy. ”


Oliver and Vinnie Powley do a Where's Wally with their mom Emily.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Oliver and Vinnie Powley do a Where’s Wally with their mom Emily. Photo: Danielle Booden
– Credit: Danielle Booden

Sophie Todd, 20, from Norwich, has been involved with the association for three or four years.

She said, “I did this as part of my community service for the sixth grade, I was going to sing to the residents, I also enjoyed printing the lyrics and distributing them so that the residents could join in the songs.

“For anyone considering being a part of it, I would say GET GO, you have nothing to lose. They often have entertainment rotations where there is bingo or art sessions, just go say hello, participate, you won’t regret it.

Kelly Lindsay, director of the charity, said: “Everything we do at Friend in Deed is about kindness and we truly believe that we can make the world a happier and more personable one, a conversation, an action. and one community at a time. “


Kelly Lindsay Director of Friend in Deed

Kelly Lindsay Director of Friend in Deed
– Credit: Kelly Lindsay

She added, “Intergenerational friendships are a great way for younger people to learn empathy, tolerance and kindness. If kids learn these things as young as possible, they’ll probably be kind to everyone around them. ‘them, including the other children.


baby makes friends with an old person

To develop a friendship
– Credit: Kelly Lindsay

“Our older friends in nursing homes still have so much to offer, we need to make sure they are always included in our communities, have purpose and don’t feel isolated.”


Baby meets her older friend in Badgers Wood

Baby meets her older friend in Badgers Wood
– Credit: Kelly Lindsay


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