Many people can experience social isolation in many ways. Some live on their own, and others have their nearest and dearest around them but still experience a sense of loneliness. This is what we had seen with the residents at Grove Court, in Ovenden.
Many older adults were isolated and reluctant to socialise and engage with others due to the fear of covid-19 still being present. Grove Court is a Together Housing Residency with facilities of a large community room and kitchen, yet this was not being used much by the residents.
June Harvey, who runs the Memory Lane Cafés in Calderdale and another volunteer have recently volunteered more of their time to run a weekly Bingo activity every Thursday afternoon for the residents at Grove Court in the community room. This was to support residents to interact and socialise, play a fun game of Bingo, share a brew and a natter and to reduce isolation and loneliness.
Following a meeting with June, Zain (Staying Well worker in North) and Linsay (Community Wellbeing Officer for Together Housing) we decided to explore other ways to engage with more residents in Grove Court out of their rooms to reduce their social isolation.
Skipping forward a few weeks, another meeting was arranged with Paula Howarth (Pastoral Manager at Moorside Primary School) to discuss whether children from the school would like to support the Bingo activity as part of their programme with the Junior Warden Scheme. This idea was well received, and a plan of action was formed.
Fast forward a month, six children from Moorside Primary School attended the Bingo activity with a total of 12 residents attending. This intergenerational activity benefited both generations by bringing a new dynamic into the activity, bringing new energy and conversation between everyone, and putting smiles on everyone’s faces!
We were also delighted to be joined by the amazing Tony Austin, guitar player and musician who plays at the Daisy Chain café at Blackburn House. Tony played a variety of songs from the 1940’s and 1950’s of which everyone played Musical Bingo (crossing out the songs on their card Tony was playing). The children helped the residents in completing the Bingo cards, engaging in conversation, and supporting with handing out snacks and drinks.
Overall, the Bingo was an even bigger success with more people coming out of their own rooms to take part in this activity. As an outcome from this, Moorside Primary School have arranged to send six new pupils down once a month to support in the activity with dates for the next academic year to be discussed in September 2022.