OVER recent months, in care centres across Wales, an innovative social experiment has been taking place – and the results are astonishing.
In a new series of three emotional programmes on S4C, starting Sunday (Dec 10), ‘Hen Blant Bach’ shows what can happen when six children share their day care with a group of pensioners – and the potential transformational effects it can have.
Three day centres – in Garnant, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Bangor – have taken part in the experiment where hidden cameras follow elderly people and children as they eat, play and build relationships with each other over three days. In addition, two psychologists from Bangor University listen in and set activities to bring the two generations closer together.
In the first programme, a day centre in Garnant, Carmarthenshire comes under the spotlight as children aged between two and four visit the centre from Cae’r Ffair nursery in Gorslas.
Dr Nia Williams is one of the psychologists from Bangor University taking part in the programme. She specialises in the development of children. She said: “The period up to the age of four is a key stage for children. What we want to know is what impact spending time with older people will have on this development.”
Dr Catrin Hedd Jones, a psychologist and lecturer in dementia studies at Bangor University, added: “Solitude can be an increasing problem as people get older and we know the older generation has so much to offer. In this way, older people have the opportunity to contribute rather than simply to receive care. By bringing children into their company, older people are encouraged to move and get out of their seats to enjoy activities with the children.”
One of the elderly people who benefited from the experience was Noel Francis McNamara, or Mac, who is 85. Before the filming started, Mac was concerned about how he would respond to the children because he’d had a very difficult time with mental illness over recent years.
“The change in him by the end of the three days was remarkable,” said day centre manager, Bernadette Thomas. “Initially, Mac was almost afraid of what would happen. But he has come alive with the children and been the Mac we know is there, but don’t always see.”
Through the tears and laughter, we will see that these two age groups have more in common than many would assume.
Time given to develop Parc Natur Penglais
VOLUNTEERS, including students, have given around 500 hours of their time to develop Parc Natur Penglais.
Along with support from Ceredigion County Council, the Group have built around 100 steps in 5 different places which has made the park a great place to walk, play and enjoy around a number of safe paths.
Councillor Mark Strong said: “Knowing that we have the support of the local community makes such a difference to peoples’ enthusiasm and having the grant from Aberystwyth Town Council, Cambrian News and Tesco made it possible. Volunteers can make a relatively small sum of money go long way.”
RSPCA aim for Christmas number one
MUSIC fans across Wales can help the RSPCA secure the Christmas number one slot, and provide vital support for animals in need across the country.
The animal welfare charity has thrown its hat into the ring to claim the festive chart accolade – as up-and-coming singer Lucy Ellie covers Simply Red’s hit song ’Stars’ in aid of the RSPCA.
‘Stars’ is the soundtrack to the charity’s ‘Kindness at Christmas’ video, which has already gone viral with over two million views online across a variety of platforms.
The tear-jerking video tells the story of Woody the Christmas toy pup who who is thrown out with the rubbish before being rescued and taken in for care by the RSPCA.
Proceeds from the single are being donated to the RSPCA to help in their work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming thousands of animals every year.
RSPCA Cymru is again bracing itself for a busy festive period. In December 2016 and January 2017 alone, in Wales, 5,932 incidents were reported to the RSPCA – with 141 of these on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Lucy Ellie Cooper, who works at the charity, said: “This was a lovely opportunity for me to combine my two loves – animals and music.
“Outside of my job at the RSPCA I am a country music singer and songwriter, so when the chance came up to record such a fantastic and well-known song for the charity’s Christmas video, I jumped at it. I really hope people will take Woody’s story into their hearts and support the RSPCA this winter.”
You can help the RSPCA rescue, rehabilitate and re-home animals in desperate need of care, and support the charity’s ‘kindness’ campaign online
Charity games raise over £2000
NOT all heroes wear capes and Tesco Aberystwyth’s very own Community Champion, Natasha Worrall has proven this raising a staggering £2,096.27 for local and national charities.
Natasha, the brainchild behind the charity football events, came up with the idea first off by challenging Tesco’s neighbours, Marks and Spencer’s, to a football match, she quickly set her powers to work and contacted Aberystwyth Football club who were more than happy to help and allowed use of the pitch.
The Big Day arrived, there was a lot of tension and passion on the pitch that night, it was more than just about winning a match it was the status, the pride and most of all bringing people together to raise money for three great causes; Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Mind. Hundreds of supporters braved the cold October evening to support the players and Tesco stole the show with a 7-1 victory and an amazing £607 was raised.
Natasha now had a taste of success under her cape and wanted to really get this event of the ground and challenged supermarket rivals, Morrisons to a match! The response for Tesco vs Morrisons was just what Natasha wanted and a November date was set.
Tesco now had experience in their boots and both teams had everything to play for. Victory once again went to Tesco who pipped Morrisons at the post and clawed back to a 5-4 victory raising a further £648.15 for Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Clic Sargent.
In true football fashion Natasha wanted a hat trick but could Team Tesco achieve this? Last Sunday (Dec 3) seemed the perfect opportunity and the opponents who were up for the challenge came from Bronglais Hospital and their chosen charity Pila Pala, Llwyn yr Eos. What a match! And what great team to take victory, Hywel Dda 2 – Tesco – 0. A rematch could certainly be on the cards especially as they raised the biggest amount ever of £841.12.
Behind every success there is always great team and working with Natasha and the players a number of local heroes who helped, Ruth’s kitchen provided heroic meals for all the players for a £1 donation, Aberystwyth women’s Team loaned their footballs, the Referees, linesmen, stewards, security, first aiders and ball boys and girls who all donated their time free of charge.
Team Tesco are looking for more opponents to play and raise even more money for local charities, if you are interested please call into Tesco store and see Natasha.
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