Sunday, 21 April 2024

    School wins dementia award

    A primary school in Essex has won a national dementia award for an innovative intergenerational project, which brings together isolated older adults and children in need of additional support with extraordinary results, The Guardian reports.

    The project at Downshall primary school in Ilford is one of a growing number of intergenerational initiatives in the UK designed to bring benefits to both old and young, while helping to fill the gaps left by cuts to local community support services.

    At Downshall, older adults experiencing isolation, depression and early dementia are referred to the project by health teams. They then come into school with volunteer support workers and take part in regular activities including music, reading and games with reception and year 4 children.

    The children’s progress is monitored to measure impact. According to the most recent data, while nationally reception age children make six steps of progress over the year, children taking part in the Downshall intergenerational provision make 10.

    Contrary to usual trends, boys make better progress than girls, with the biggest impact seen in developing relationships – an important measure among young children – with marked improvements in communication, language, reading and writing. “The project has gone from strength to strength,” said the headteacher, Ian Bennett. “The children have made such improvements across the board.”

    The starting point for Bennett is that it is the children’s needs that are paramount, but the participating adults benefit hugely from purposeful activity, enjoying helping others and socialising not only with the children but other older adults. “We are really making a difference to lives,” Bennett said.


    Every moment here is magical’: Essex school wins dementia award (The Guardian)


    Downshall School / BBC