In normal times this charity runs befriending schemes between schools and care homes, mainly in the East of England. We have contributed to homes being upgraded by the CQC. We aim to return to face-to-face befriending in the autumn of 2022.
Meanwhile we are inviting schools to take part in the four ‘virtual’ initiatives we started during the pandemic to support care home residents. Again we are mainly interested in sixth forms in the East of England taking part, but will consider applications from schools in other areas and different age groups.
The four initiatives are:
• Young people write open letters to care home residents via YOPEY. We will share these letters with many care homes to try to find each young person a penpal. However, even if you do not get a penpal, we know all our letters are read by or to residents and are showing the elderly that young people are thinking about them during a time they have been more isolated than ever. For more information about this initiative visit our Facebook page @IwanttohelpCareHomeResidents.
• Young people compile activities for care home residents to do, such as crosswords, word searches and riddles. We like the activities to be illustrated with images, especially ones created by the young person or royalty-free or uncopyrighted photographs.
• Young people make short videos to entertain the elderly. YOPEY puts the videos into YOPEY Virtual Variety Shows. As well as traditional variety acts such as musicians, singers and dancers, young people are also making videos of interesting places, their holidays and pets. YOPEY will consider any video that is under 5 minutes, not offensive and could spark reminisces by the elderly. For more information visit our Facebook page @YoungEntertainElderly and watch finished shows on YouTube by searching YOPEY Virtual Variety Shows.
• Young people make art to decorate care homes.
Sometimes these initiatives cross over. For example, a young man made a video of himself leading exercises that residents could do while seated. A young woman videoed herself in time-lapse drawing a picture for residents to colour in.
If your school or sixth-form college is interested in taking part email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, job title, school and telephone number. Ideally this should be a direct line or mobile.
If your group of students is accepted on to the scheme, they can register on app.yopeybefriender.org to compile a record of their volunteering to add to their CV. Your school or sixth-form college can request a record of all your students’ volunteering to show Ofsted.