North East Connected

Off to University for 81-year-old care home resident Brian


HIGHER education called for 81-year-old care home resident Brian Hodgson – when he spent time with students at Durham University.

Brian, who lives at Mandale House Care Home, on Acklam Road, Thornaby, was invited to the University’s Queen’s Campus, on University Blvd, for a special event.

Accompanied by the care home’s activities coordinator, Tanya Spence, Brian enjoyed afternoon tea and board games with several students from the International Study Centre (ISC).

The students, who are attending the university from as far afield as Japan, China, Thailand and Canada, volunteered to spend time with residents from care homes across Stockton-on-Tees.

As well as sharing a meal and playing games, the group listened to music together, shared stories and enjoyed discussing their families, hobbies, and studies.

Law student Khadija Jawwad, 21, from Canada, said: “I love talking to elderly people, finding out their stories and life experiences. It was great talking about their lives.”

The idea for the intergenerational event came from a Stockton-on-Tees care home activities coordinator forum, which was held at Queen’s Campus.

Participants suggested elderly residents would enjoy spending time with young people from different parts of the world and Durham University staff members, Peri Anderson and Rachael King, agreed there would be benefits for both parties and put a plan into motion.

Tanya was among the activities coordinators at the forum. She said: “Brian absolutely loved going on the outing to Queen’s Campus in Teesdale. While he is mostly unable to speak, his smile said it all.

“He loved playing afternoon tea bingo, which he won.  And he played a few hard fought games of dominoes with the international students.

“I can’t thank Peri Anderson, Rachael King, Demi-Leigh Thompson, and the students enough for their kindness and patience.

“The afternoon tea was just lovely and we look forward to meeting up with the young people again.”

Peri Anderson, assistant facility manager at Durham University, said: “Finding local opportunities for the students to engage in is very important to the International Study Centre.

“Volunteering allows students to learn new skills, network in the area and give something back.

“The link with local cares home has been lovely to develop and, as our international students live far away from their own families, that intergenerational mix is something they really wanted to support.

“So, not only does it hopefully have a positive effect on the residents, but our students also gain so much. We all thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon tea event and look forward to our next one.”

Rachael King, student enrichment officer at Durham University, added: “Here at the ISC we welcome students from across the globe, with students joining us from far and wide.

“At the event itself, we had students who are from Japan, China, Thailand, and Canada, coming together to support the local community of Stockton.

“We are incredibly proud of all of our students who work tirelessly to make a positive difference both on a national and international scale.”

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