Last week at our Bournemouth care home, Blenheim, residents were paid a visit by a fantastic group of teenagers who brought singing, dancing, music, crafts and laughter into the home.
We take pride in the work our care home Activities Coordinators do for their residents, which at Blenheim recently included organising a photoshoot for a resident’s birthday. On this occasion, however, it was the group of students doing the volunteering. Upon hearing about the inclusive values and community spirit of NCS, Blenheim’s team couldn’t wait for them to visit.
Turning “no you can’t” into “no, we can” is the motto for NCS, otherwise known as National Citizen Service. It’s a countrywide organisation for teens who want to come together and make positive differences in their communities.
The members of NCS do wonderful things for the wellbeing of others. As well as embarking on a sponsored walk to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s Society, NCS were passionate about doing something special for the community at Blenheim.
Three days of activities were planned back to back with the teamwork of group leaders Lauren and Lenny, and Blenheim’s Activity Coordinator Niamh. These were full of opportunities to connect, engage with and entertain residents.
The first day began with the members introducing themselves and getting to meet Blenheim’s family. The group held a rock-painting session for residents to get involved with nature, arts and crafts, and use their creativity to add to Blenheim’s character.
Residents painted stones with the assistance and encouragement of both the care team and NCS. The students took care to get to know each resident, and supported them in painting a design that represented them.
NCS members Hannah and Hannah explained that this was done so that the rocks would be collected and arranged in the garden as a colourful exhibit and fixture for all to admire and enjoy.
Day two was full of paper crafts, including bunting and paper chains. There was afternoon tea, and all the while the students were speaking to the residents, learning about them, and encouraging them to join in with the fun. NCS’s Hailey brought her pet tortoise which went down a treat, and resident Faith didn’t want to give him back!
Bonds were formed, and the students went above and beyond to give residents meaningful gifts. Marilyn, a resident who receives care in bed, is passionate about her religion, so students brought in a keyboard and sang her hymns by her bedside. Another, Gloria, is a former florist, and NCS contacted a local company which gladly donated flowers to make her smile.
On the final day it was all-singing all-dancing. Making the most of the sunshine, the students performed songs in the garden along with choreographed dance routines for delighted residents, who sang and danced along. Ranging all the way from Sean Kingston to ABBA, there was something for everyone, and Activities Coordinator Niamh said;
“Residents who had previously opted to stay in their rooms heard them and said “oh, actually I’d like to be out there.” They appreciated having them around. Even those who were slightly anxious at the start – the students supported them, they changed how they were feeling.
They’ve got great energy and residents loved the upbeat tunes. It was just a lovely atmosphere.”
One NCS member, Stutti, brought with her an original artwork to decorate the home, and as a parting gift each member pressed fingerprints in paint onto the canvas, to leave their newfound friends with a memento.
We’re incredibly grateful to the young people of NCS for their care and heart, efforts like these make a real difference and sincerely impact the lives of older people.
With COVID restrictions lifting, we’re maintaining our safety measures for the protection of all, and we’ve been very glad to welcome this group in securely. The impact that events like these have on the mental health of the whole family at Blenheim is immeasurable, and everyone was left with a smile on their face.