West Exe School collaborated with the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance to enable five care homes (including The Manor in Exminster) and 16 residents to attend a morning event for Literacy Week at the school, which is part of the Ted Wragg Trust.
Claire Walker, Literacy Lead at West Exe School in Exeter said: “Oral literacy is important to develop, especially in today’s technology driven culture.
“The Y7 and Y9 students that were in involved in the morning gained such a lot from the experience. It was wonderful to see them develop their conversational skills with a much older generation, not just learning from them, but enjoying their company.
“Our students were genuinely interested in what their guests had to say and also enjoyed sharing their own stories about being a teen in 2019. It was a beautiful, heart-warming event and it will stay with me forever.”
“I really felt uplifted after talking to the older generation. I loved it.” – Callum, Y9.
“I have found how important it is to respect and listen to older people. They were just like us once.” – Lily, Y7.
“I was a little nervous about performing in front of the guests, but they were very appreciative and I actually really enjoyed playing my violin. I’d like to do it again as I now feel more confident.” – Filipe, Y9.
Gina Awad, Lead of the alliance said: “What a joy to be able to coordinate and participate in this wonderful community event enabling several care homes to come together and have meaningful conversations with the students.
“The atmosphere was superb and we were fortunate to be able to have a musical interlude by two students playing the violin and guitar respectively.
“The stand out moment for everyone was when two old friends discovered each other having lost touch over 40 years ago.
“Margaret from Alphington Lodge and Irene from Parklands House care homes lost touch with each other many years ago and recognised each other across the room. The chance meeting moved everyone to tears.”
Irene said “I’m on cloud nine I just can’t believe it and cannot wait to tell my family. We used to holiday together in Tenerife.”
“This is just the start of the community work we aspire to in Exeter with schools and care homes, we look forward to developing lasting meaningful relationships,” said Gina.
Care homes who attended included; Parklands House, Green Tree Court, Cadogan Court, The Manor and Alphingbrook House.