Law firm Irwin Mitchell and pupils from Chaucer School in Sheffield have organised a Mother’s Day tea dance for the elderly at Parsons Cross Community Development Forum.
The dance takes place on Monday 27 March, the day after Mothering Sunday, and will see the students from the music department playing a selection of tunes, along with health and social care students helping with the catering, setting up, socialising and organising a raffle.
Lawyers from the city centre firm have helped forge the unlikely, but mutually beneficial relationship between the pupils and the older residents, who use the facilities at the community centre.
As part of their courses, the students engage with the elderly, who are benefitting from entertaining events such as pantomimes and tea dances the pupils perform and help out at.
Last month drama students from the school performed their own version of Aladdin at the community centre to a packed audience.
The panto, which starred and was written and directed by, 16-year-old pupil, Euan Fellows, was specially shortened for the audience, some of who suffer from dementia, went down a storm and provoked lots of laughs.
Head of drama at the school, John Grifflow, said the pupils had developed the panto off their own backs and in their own time and were thrilled at having the chance to perform on a real stage, to a live audience.
The students first got involved with the Forum before Christmas when associate director, Karen Codling and development co-ordinator Charlotte Faulkner from the Sheffield office, suggested the idea of bringing pupils and the elderly together.
A team from the office took pupils to the community centre to meet the elderly and find out what treats they’d like for Christmas and then helped the students buy the gifts which were presented to the senior citizens during a festive lunch in December
Karen, who leads on the partnership with the school, said that our involvement was a result of the Business In The Community, Business Class scheme which Irwin Mitchell is part of, and added: “We recognised the pupils had something to offer and the elderly in the community were in need of social engagement and saw the opportunity to facilitate the relationship between the two.
“Both the pupils and the elderly have loved meeting up and getting to know each other and we hope it’s something we can continue to build on in the future. We’re also offering members of the Forum advice on issues which affect the elderly, such as Wills, social care and Lasting Power of Attorney.”
Project co-ordinator for the Forum, Louise Ashmore, said: “The older folks here loved meeting and talking to the youngsters. It’s not something they get a chance to do often and the kids have been excellent with them. We’d love to keep working with them going forward.”
Sam Lindley, a 92-year-old, who attended the panto, said: “I’ve really enjoyed having the school pupils come in. They’ve really taken the time to get to know us.”
Another Forum user, Sandra Lucas, aged 74, said: “I think it’s smashing and it’s been a long time coming. The kids mix in well with us and it’s beneficial for them as well as us.”