Putting a smile on people’s faces, and other privileges of the Care Home visiting scheme

In March, our Assistant Head, Pupil Development, Mrs Christmas, wrote about the importance of the so-called bookend generations interacting and talking to each other. Here, one of the most frequent members of our visiting scheme between Nazareth Lodge Residential Care Home and Clayesmore School, Rhys (Y13), describes the rapport he has built with the residents over his time in the Sixth Form:

“I started visiting Nazareth Lodge as a Clayesmore pupil in September 2016. I had no idea what to expect when I first put my name forward for this opportunity to regularly meet and talk to people who I knew nothing about, and it felt rather daunting as I was unsure if I would be able to live up to the expectations that Nazareth Lodge may have of me. Since then I have been introduced to, and had amazing conversations with, at least 24 people who are all 90 years old or more. These conversations have been so very memorable with fascinating insights into life during the first half of the 20th century coupled with some very valuable advice.

“A lovely lady called Nora in particular gave me so much great advice and told me: ‘You have the luxury of being able to put a smile on people’s faces’ and this is what I have endeavoured to do even more so since then. The people at Nazareth Lodge have so many varied experiences of life which offer a truly unique opportunity for me and my fellow Clayesmorians, who visit with me, to gain insights and understanding that we would otherwise most likely never benefit from. I feel so privileged that I have been able to put a smile on the faces of people I have chatted to, and also my parents’ faces when I tell them all about my latest visit when I return home at the end of the day.”