GROUPS of teenagers have been visiting care homes across Teesside as part of a citizenship initiative with the Middlesbrough FC Foundation.
The 15–17-year-olds have been spending time with residents at The Beeches Care Home, in Stockton on Tees, and Briarwood Care Home, in Eston, Middlesbrough, both operated by the Hill Care Group.
At The Beeches, a group from the Foundation’s Change Makers initiative renovated the home’s memory garden and created a sensory garden.
They cleared out old plants and replaced them with new sensory herbs and flowers, including lavender, thyme, sage, and mint. They also repainted the walls around the flower beds and added a mural to mark their visit.
Staff and residents thanked the young people, who were accompanied by volunteer Trish Lough, alongside Marshall Thorogood and Jim Dyson from the MFC Foundation, with afternoon tea prepared by the care home’s kitchen team.
Resident Eric Simpson, 91, said: “They did these gardens for us? How lovely of them. I can’t thank them enough.”
Linda Durham, 80, added: “They’ve done an amazing job. It was all overgrown but now it looks lovely. I’m going to water the plants every day and look after them.”
Gemma Hollow, activities coordinator at The Beeches Care Home, said: “What a fantastic group of young people.
“They did an amazing job revitalising our memory garden and the sensory garden they created is wonderful.
“It’s so wonderful for The Beeches residents to feel like they’re part of the community, having the young NCS people visit the home and interact with them.
“The residents and I are already discussing what we’re going to add to the sensory garden and the memory garden.”
At Briarwood Care Home, there was a visit by a group of 20 teens on the MFC Foundation’s National Citizenship Service (NCS) scheme, including members of Middlesbrough Women FC.
They spoke with residents about football, sang Sweet Caroline, enjoyed tea and cake together, played balloon tennis, provided manicures, and held a mini-ABBA tribute concert for the care home’s number one fan, Mavis Burke, 82.
Resident John Kelly, 90, a former amateur footballer who played for Whitby Town in the 1950s, particularly enjoyed talking football with the group. He said: “The lasses were great. I loved talking to them about football.”
Marshall Thorogood, transitional youth worker at the MFC Foundation, said: “It’s been fantastic working with Hill Care over the summer.
“Having The Beeches and Briarwood as partners has been special to us at the Foundation. The young people on this year’s NCS program have loved engaging with the residents and getting to know their life stories.
“In addition to the summer NCS groups, our Change Makers group were able to spruce up the garden at The Beeches by painting flower beds, digging up the weeds and planting new flowers to leave a lasting legacy.
“The final finish of it looks perfect and all of the young people have loved being a part of something that will hopefully last a long time.”