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Chesterton Community College students visit residents with dementia under YOPEY Befriender scheme





Chesterton Community College students visit residents at Langdon House as part of the YOPEY Befriender scheme (5728774)
Chesterton Community College students visit residents at Langdon House as part of the YOPEY Befriender scheme (5728774)

Teenagers at a Cambridge school are visiting elderly people with dementia in a care home after receiving special training.

The 14 and 15-year-olds from Chesterton Community College were recruited by the charity YOPEY (Young People of the Year) and trained by its founder, Tony Gearing.

They are now making weekly visits to the residents of Langdon House in Union Lane. Two-thirds of the elderly people at the home have dementia and some rarely get visitors.

They aim to continue the hour-long visits for the next 12 months.

Tony said: “It can be quite daunting at first to make conversation with someone with dementia. But following the training and with further support from YOPEY and the care home staff, I am sure the young people will be able to fill a gap in the hearts of lonely residents.”

Tony previously ran Young People of the Year awards ceremonies in Cambridgeshire and other counties. The charity now focuses on its YOPEY Dementia Befriender initiatives, aiming to bring comfort and companionship to elderly people, while teaching young people good citizenship and life skills, while also bolstering their CV.

Tony, who was made an MBE last year 'for services to young people in the UK', added: “I now want to get young people to serve the elderly in our new intergenerational scheme.”

Chesterton Community College students visit residents at Langdon House as part of the YOPEY Befriender scheme (5728776)
Chesterton Community College students visit residents at Langdon House as part of the YOPEY Befriender scheme (5728776)

Teacher Mike Gordon said: "We are delighted that Chesterton students have the opportunity to participate in the YOPEY Befriender scheme. It is fantastic that they are involved in supporting the elderly in our local community.

"Volunteering to support the elderly through the YOPEY Befriender scheme is an excellent way to support a potentially lonely group of people."

The students told of how they enjoyed the first experience.

Esme said: "I had a very good day and I learnt so much."

Gary added: "I had a very enjoyable time and wish I could have stayed for longer.”

The Yopey Befriender logo (5876380)
The Yopey Befriender logo (5876380)

Langdon House, rated good by the Care Quality Commission, is part of charitable housing association CHS Group.

Zoe Patman, one of the home's lead carers, said: “Our residents loved meeting the young people from Chesterton Community College, and they are looking forward to their weekly visits."

YOPEY runs Befriender schemes in other parts of the East of England, but this is the first it is operating in Cambridgeshire.

"We hope to have more soon," added Tony.



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