Suffolk young befrienders appeal for donations to send Christmas card to 1,000 care homes
Young befrienders are determined to give their elderly companions a festive greeting, as they begin a fundraising initiative that aims to reach 1,000 care homes located across the UK.
The Young People of the Year (Yopey) charity is appealing for donations towards its #1CardTo1000 campaign, off the back of organising a community partnership between schools and care homes in the Sudbury area.
The project asks people to make a £5 donation and add their message of goodwill to a special Christmas card, which the charity then plans to send out to 1,000 different care facilities.
Tony Gearing, founder of Yopey, explained that the idea was inspired by their young volunteers’ efforts during the Covid-19 lockdown, when, instead of in-person visits, they engaged with care home residents by writing letters, making videos and organising activities.
It comes after Yopey established a dementia befriending scheme between students from Thomas Gainsborough School in Great Cornard, and residents at Hazell Court care home in Sudbury.
This partnership sees a group of sixth-formers regularly visit the facility in Acton Lane, and provide companionship for those living with conditions such as dementia.
Mr Gearing said: “To begin with, our teenage volunteers wonder what they will have in common with people more than five times their age.
“But, more often than not, they do find things in common and it is the beginning of a wonderful friendship, even when the older friends have dementia.
“The majority of residents in Hazell Court have dementia and Yopey trains and supports its young volunteers to make friends with people living with different stages of cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s and frontal lobe dementia.”
To donate towards appeal, go online to www.peoplesfundraising.com/donation/1-card-to-1000-care-homes.