A PARTY in Redcar seafront brought teenagers and elderly care home residents together to celebrate a successful year of volunteering.
A mix of 70 young and elderly people were among the guests at the Our Community Matters celebration, jointly hosted by Youth Focus: North East and Tees Valley Rural Action at the Tuned In! youth centre, on Majuba Road.
The circus themed event included arcade games, dancing, a magic show, and live entertainment from singing waiter Tontino, who performed songs from The Greatest Showman, as well as Whalehill Community Choir.
Residents from Hazelgrove Court Care Home, Randolph Street, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, received a special invitation after taking part in an Our Community Matters project earlier in the year.
Among the partygoers was Donald Ingledew, 88, who said: “The evening was one of the most fantastic times I’ve ever had. I enjoyed everything about it, especially the duck shoot, even though I wasn’t very good.”
Fellow resident Claire Norman, 88, added: “I can’t thank the staff from Hazelgrove Court and Youth Focus North East for bringing me along.”
Before leaving the party, Hazelgrove Court Care Home activities coordinator Sharon Lewis was handed a cheque for £50 from young people from TunedIn and Youth Focus: North East, which they raised from a tombola at their summer fayre.
Residents also received gift bags which included pens, sweets and inspirational books such as “Little Book of Happiness” and “Little Book of Mindfulness”.
Sharon said: “The event was a great way to bring a fantastic year of interactions between our residents and the students from Youth Focus: North East to a close.
“The £50 donated to our residents’ fund will help towards activities and day trips for residents at Hazelgrove Court.”
Earlier this year, several young people from across Redcar and Cleveland, supported by Youth Focus: North East, spent hundreds of hours at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, renovating the garden and spending time with residents.
The Our Community Matters intergenerational project, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, used the NHS five steps to mental wellbeing initiative as a tool to address feelings of isolation and loneliness among the young and elderly.
Spending between 40 and 140 hours each at the home throughout the year, the young volunteers designed and painted a mural of Saltburn and helped to create a new sensory garden, which was officially opened in August.
Tina Temple, home manager at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, said: “The partnership with Youth Focus: North East has been amazing this year and we can’t thank them enough for all the work they’ve done at the care home.
“The celebration event at Tuned In! was the icing on the cake and the residents and staff who attended were all super excited and said it was one of the best nights they’ve had.
“We hope to be able to work with Youth Focus: North East again next year as we believe intergenerational initiatives such as this provide wide ranging benefits for both groups.”
Helen Kennedy, development officer at Youth Focus: North East, said: “Working collaboratively with the residents of the home was a pure joy. Getting to know them all and seeing the amazing work the staff do made some of those who volunteered their time on the project want to continue to volunteer at Hazelgrove, which really is a testimony to the wonderful place it is.”
“The celebration event has been hosted every year for the past two years to bring people together, connect and see the work of others across rural areas of the Tees Valley.
“It was my personal honour this year to see everyone make a fuss of the residents and watch as they all had a wonderful evening, dancing, singing, having their pictures taken and being treated as the superstars they are.”