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Leeds: Horsforth charity promoting sessions bringing young and old together

By Lewis Oldham

A Horsforth charity has begun promoting sessions bringing older people together with young children to help improve lives and forge bonds between the generations.

Horsforth Live at Home is part of the nationwide Live at Home scheme and runs a lot of events in the local area, including dementia cafes.

One of Horsforth Live at Home’s members at a special session with young children (PHOTO courtesy of Horsforth Live at Home)

Sally Metcalfe is the scheme manager for Horsforth Live at Home and she believes that the inter-generational sessions are mutually beneficial.

“We first had a group of young school children come and visit us for the Christmas ReminiSing, which is a singing-for-the-memory group and the children would sing with our members and that worked really well.

“It’s just nice seeing how the older people respond to having children around them and we have built on from that.

“I think from our members’ perspectives, some of them don’t have Grandchildren or they have family that they don’t see very often because they live across the other side of the country. So for them to be able to build up these relationships with young people is really valuable to them.”

Fact File

  • Horsforth Live at Home is a local branch of MHA, which is a charity providing care, accommodation and support services for more than 18,000 older people throughout Britain
  • Horsforth Live at Home is based at Horsforth Methodist Church, and they run a lot of their events from there
  • MHA is one of the largest charities in Britain that has been delivering services to older people for 75 years
  • They help 5,000 older people living in care homes, many receiving specialist dementia or nursing care
  • 10,500 older people living independently in their own homes are supported by Live at Home schemes across the UK
  • Horsforth Live at Home organise lots of activities and have a keen interest in inter-generational work. They have worked with local schools and nurseries to promote the scheme

Linda Barker works with Horsforth Live at Home and is their community coordinator. She does a lot of work with older people in the local community and she believes that inter-generational sessions are invaluable to the lives of members.

“I’m regularly seeing people in their 90’s in hospital and seeing the amount of independence they have still got is quite gobsmacking really – knowing that someone has got to their 90s and that they are still independent, still going to groups, and they are still living a life.

“Not everybody has got grandparents or ones that live close because people move for jobs, careers and good schools. So when you meet older people as children, it gives you a bigger sense of belonging and more routes within that community.”

Danny Bowley is a live-at-home parent who takes his daughter, Imogen, to inter-generational sessions in the local area and he believes that every family household should get involved in these sessions.

“As a parent I feel that inter-generational groups benefit all involved. My daughter Imogen has created relationships with a generation she would have not got to meet.

PHOTO courtesy of Horsforth Live at Home

“She smiles from ear to ear when she sees her new friends and the residents have got to see her turn from a baby to a little girl. They comment each week on the things that have changed with her.

“Some have grandchildren they don’t get to see often and I think knowing they will be getting a visit can help with that. A lot of the residents can offer some great advice on the kids, having done it before with kids and grandchildren. I honestly believe it is something every residential home should incorporate.”

Horsforth Live at Home run lots of events that anyone can take part in. They have exercise sessions with residents through the week, along with coffee mornings and lunch clubs every Thursday.

If you would like to find out more about Horsforth Live at Home and how to get involved please do visit their website or give them a call on 0113 259 1511.

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