Bangor-based Oakmont Lodge Care Home and Red Brick House Nursery School have joined forces with Linking Generations NI for a one-of-its-kind pilot scheme that will bring together children aged three to four with older people residing in the Dunluce Healthcare owned care home.

The scheme, which will run in conjunction with Apples and Honey Nightingale in England and Generations Working Together in Scotland, will investigate the positive benefits that can come from cross-generational socialisation.

Speaking of the home’s participation in the ground-breaking project, Ryan Smith, Chief Executive at Dunluce Healthcare, which owns Oakmont Lodge Care Home, said:

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to spearhead a scheme that will, not only promote positive well-being amongst our residents, but will ultimately have a lasting impact.

“Ensuring quality care for our residents is a top priority, and we are pleased to be involved with an initiative that will foster community connections and meaningful relationships.

“Dunluce Healthcare has already seen the benefits of intergenerational socialisation through past projects in which local school children have visited our homes, and we look forward to developing this further in partnership with Red Brick House Nursery.”

In addition to Oakmont Lodge, Dunluce Healthcare currently operates residential and nursing care facilities at Hillcrest Care Home (Omagh), Hillside Residential (Omagh), and Gortacharn (Fermanagh), with the new Peninsula Care Home (Newtownards) due to open in 2024. 

Ashley Robinson, Red Brick House Nursery, added:

“As advocates for early childhood development, we are excited to take part in such a pioneering programme that will help create community spaces for both children and older people.

“We pride ourselves on childcare with a difference, and our involvement in projects such as this will help the children build valuable life skills including empathy and perseverance.

“The training and upskilling that Linking Generations NI will deliver will be invaluable to our staff members, and we’re eager to get started on the programme with Oakmont Lodge.”

The pilot has been funded by the National Lottery Community Fund as part of the Bringing People Together funding programme, which aims to build stronger connections across communities in the UK.

Elaine Brownlee, Development Worker from Linking Generations NI, said:

“Intergenerational activity is about more than bringing younger and older people together – it is a systemic approach to community development and wellbeing that recognises and values the contribution of all generations who live there.

“We are delighted to have the support of Oakmont Lodge Care Home and Red Brick House Nursery School as we develop this pilot scheme, which will allow us to establish quality indicators and in turn, make significant strides in improving intergenerational projects across the UK.”

To find out more about Oakmont Care Home visit: dunlucehealthcare.com/oakmont-lodge/

To find out more about Redbrick Nursery School visit: redbrickhousenursery.com/