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Age no barrier to new friendships

Age no barrier to new friendships

Age proved no barrier late last year to the strong friendships which bloomed as part of the Adopt a Grandparent program at AFME.

As part of the program - which is set to run again this year - residents at the estate were able to strike up firm friendships with students from All Saints College, as part of an intergenerational initiative which encourages companionship and connections between young and old.

The Year 6 youngsters visited residents every Friday morning as part of the program, where they were given topics to chat to the seniors about, as well as gain the opportunity to learn more about their lives.

Well-being Officer, Bruce Carstairs, said the benefits of the partnership extended both ways, with the students and residents involved genuinely enjoying their time together and forming strong bonds.

"We’re delighted by how well this intergenerational partnership with All Saints College has been received, by both the residents and students alike,” said Bruce, who worked with the school for about six months before launching the initiative.

"Our residents love spending time with younger people and they’re very keen to share their hobbies, stories and life lessons with the children, and equally love hearing about the youngsters’ lives, it’s a real win-win for both young and old.

"In a nutshell, the partnership is such a great way for AFME residents to spend time with young people, in fact many share the same interests, particularly reading and music, and one student has even arranged to see his ‘adopted grandparent’ in the school holidays, which we are all just over the moon about.”

AFME resident, Marlis Dobson, is just one of the seniors to take part in the program which, by her own admission, has been absolutely fantastic.

"I found it so satisfying to be involved as the two boys I met were both perfect little gentleman and we talked about all sorts of things, from chess to cello and everyday life,” she says.

"We hit it off so much that I even had one of the boys over with his mum for afternoon tea, we had such a lovely time and have committed to staying in touch, in fact he wants me to meet his whole family which I’m very much looking forward to.”

Janet Walters was another participant in the program, who also found it thoroughly enjoyable.

"It was just absolutely wonderful to meet two delightful, intelligent girls and to have such lovely conversation with them,” she said.

"At the end of the program they gave me a lovely collage of all the things we talked about, and I also have a photo of the three of us up on the wall, which is very special.

"The whole thing was a real joy to be part of, and I’m looking forward to being part of the next one too.”

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