School caterers HCL, alongside a primary school in Hertfordshire, are piloting a new project that brings elderly people from local care homes into school so children and elderly residents can share a fun lunchtime together.
Four Care Home residents, along with two carers from Roebuck Nursing Home in London Road, Stevenage, visited Shephalbury Park Primary School in Burydale in December as part of a project that will continue to see monthly visits from senior citizens to the school.
The delighted children set up a special dining room for lunch with their special guests to enjoy meals served by HCL, the leading school caterers in Hertfordshire. On the menu was roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing and roast potatoes with seasonal vegetables and gravy, plus a reduced sugar dessert.
Studies suggest this type of collaboration can decrease older people’s loneliness, delay mental decline, lower blood pressure and even reduce the risk of disease or death. The project also aims to promote and narrow the intergenerational gap.
Mr Conway, Headteacher at Shephalbury School, said: “We’re delighted to partner with HCL and Roebuck Nursing Home. There was a really lovely atmosphere throughout the morning in the school, everyone was smiling, and the children were thrilled to see their elderly guests enjoying their favourite meal, chatting about their lives and what they enjoyed doing, and playing some games.
“As a school, we think it’s important to promote intergenerational activities. The potential benefits for children include positive changes in perceptions and attitudes towards the elderly, increase in self-confidence and positive behaviour in school.”
Parents of the children were very supportive of the visit saying that their children had been telling them all about their experiences and the conversations they’d had with the guest visitors.”
Doreen, Resident at Roebuck Nursing Home, said: “It was a lovely lunch, in a specially decorated room by the children. The children were so well behaved, it was the highlight of my week. I enjoyed my morning spending time with the children, we spoke about their schoolwork and played a few games.
“Things have changed a lot since I was in school, with the children using more technology and remembering our school meals were never as tasty as what we ate today. It is fair to say school lunch is a lot better now than it was back then and it was nice see the world from these wonderful children’s perspective.”
If the project is successful it will see residents from different care homes across Stevenage visiting Shephalbury School once a month where they will share lunch provided by the school’s caterers, HCL at no extra cost to the school or care home.