Children Exchange Hands of Friendship with Local Care Home Residents

On 13th February 2021, children from Blackburn Children’s University and residents from EACHSTEP Care Home took part in an online friendship event to coincide with Valentine’s Day.

The event was facilitated by staff and students from the School of Art and Society at Blackburn University Centre.

During the morning, the children took part in Zoom activities with Sara Burton, Blackburn Children’s University Manager, and decorated wooden hearts and made trees with messages of kindness, before ‘meeting’ with the residents in the afternoon.

The children and residents decorated hands which were turned into wreaths and exchanged with the help of Sara and Joanie Gleeson from EACHSTEP Care Home. During the event, some of the residents treated the children to a spontaneous rendition of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’.

This the third online activity that the children and residents have taken part in after lockdown curtailed face-to-face activities which had been planned as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Project, East Lancashire Childhoods: Sharing Stories, Making Memories. This is an intergenerational community arts project which aims to capture memories of the home front from people who were children during WWII.

Project Leads Val Jessop and Sandra Nichol said: “These events go from strength to strength as we have adapted to new ways of continuing interactions between children and residents. It was wonderful and quite emotional when the residents burst into song!”

Sara Burton, Blackburn Children’s University Manager, said: “We really enjoy running activities like these and working with Blackburn University Centre and EACHSTEP Care Home. Our members always look forward to these activities and cannot wait to receive their craft pack for the day.

“At this activity children shared with us messages of kindness and things they were going to do to help someone at home. It was so nice to hear, especially during these difficult times.

“The sessions with the residents from EACHSTEP are wonderful. The children who took part in the one in February loved hearing what the residents like to do and how old they were! We are looking forward to the celebration event at Easter.”

Joanie Gleeson, Activities Co-Ordinator at EACHSTEP Care Home, said: “The event was a great success. The residents loved connecting with the children and joining in the virtual craft activities.”

The next planned event is a socially distanced Easter celebration and tea party for the children and residents.