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.
New Children’s Book based on local fisherman
CHILDREN’S AUTHOR Natalie L Davies has written a story based on local man, Mickey Beechey, of Llangrannog.
Natalie said: “I’ve written a series of children’s books with the central character, the lovely ‘Mickey the Fisherman’. The first book is called ‘Pollution’, and is a bright colourful and fun book with a valuable message.”
The book is available to buy on Amazon in both paperback and kindle, and can be found at: mybook.to/mickeythefisherman.
Council supports the Learning Disabilities ‘My Charter’
CABINET members and senior officers in Ceredigion have signed ‘My Charter’. In doing so, Ceredigion County Council have become the first council to sign up to the charter. My Charter was written by people who have learning disabilities in West Wales.
The charter says that people who have learning disabilities want to have more chances in life, more choice and to be listened to. It also says that people who have learning disabilities want to be treated as adults, to be given dignity and respect and that their information is kept private.
Councillor Alun Williams is the Cabinet member responsible for Adult Services. He said: “People with learning disabilities have the same aspirations, hopes and feelings as everyone else. They deserve the same services and to be treated equally in a way that’s appropriate to their needs. I’m delighted that Ceredigion has become the first council to sign the charter, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this can positively influence the way our population of people with learning disabilities are treated in the future.”
The charter was developed by people who have learning disabilities from across Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.
Ceredigion Leisure Centres Summer holiday programme
A BUSY TIMETABLE of inclusive summer holiday activities for children has been organised across all Ceredigion County Council-run leisure centres in the county.
From football to bouncy castle sessions, from cycling skills to archery, there’s a wide variety of activities to choose from over the course of the summer.
There will also be day camps and multi-skills activity days available at some of the leisure centres, for children to attend for the whole day. There’s even a day trip to the beach with Teifi Leisure Centre!
A range of learning to swim programmes are available at Lampeter Swimming Pool and Plascrug Leisure Centre across the summer holidays. A week of swimming lessons will be delivered solely through the medium of Welsh in Plascrug Leisure Centre starting on 5 August.
Councillor Catrin Miles is the council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure Services. She said: “Ceredigion Actif is once again providing a busy timetable of fun activities during the summer. It’s a healthy and worthwhile way for children to spend their time during the summer.”
Booking for sessions is essential and staff at leisure centres reserve the right to cancel any session if attendance is too low.
For further information on the summer holiday activities planned, visit the Ceredigion Actif website.
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