TODDLERS and elderly care home residents have been going on “ARTventures” together as part of a new intergenerational scheme in Hebburn.
Children from six months to four years of age attended the first of the arts and crafts sessions to be held at Willowdene Care Home, on Victoria Road West.
ARTventurers South Shields, Jarrow & Hebburn is owned by Jen Elliot, who ran the intergenerational class at the care home.
The aim is to bring under fives and their parents into the home to take part in creative activities, singing and dancing alongside the residents.
Jen, a mother of two, said: “The intergenerational sessions are so exciting and have so much potential.
“There is a lot of research to suggest that intergenerational work helps to support positive mental health for older people who can otherwise feel isolated and lonely. It also helps children’s social, emotional and physical development and wellbeing.”
ARTventurers has already been running successfully in care homes in other parts of the country for the past 18 months but the sessions at Willowdene Care Home are the first in South Tyneside.
Jen said: “I’m really excited about bringing these really special classes to the area.
“The feedback from care homes across the country has been amazing and the classes have huge benefits for both generations.”
To launch the classes an intergenerational Christmas party was held at Willowdene Care Home, where children and residents interacted to create artwork.
Jen spoke to several residents at the party to discuss the upcoming sessions and ask if they enjoyed the party. She said: “One of the residents told me she was thrilled to see how well the children engaged in the activities on offer to them and how none of them were afraid of getting a little messy.
“She was amazed at how capable and talented they are despite their young age. She told me she has never had children of her own but loves spending time with children as it makes her feel happy and more youthful herself.
“This is what it’s all about; bringing joy to people of all ages through art and creative play.”
Michael Beaney, home manager at Willowdene Care Home, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the ARTventurers sessions with Jen and look forward to the first in the new year.
“The Christmas party was a great success and it was lovely to see the young children and residents interacting to create wonderful works of art with paint, sponges, brushers, glue, glitter and more.
“Anyone with young children who is interested in attending future sessions is more than welcome to come along.”