Buddy Outreach Group forges relationships across the generations


Release date: 13 September 2018

A new weekly activity that brings two groups of people from different generations together has proven so popular it is to become a permanent fixture.

Adults who visit Burgess Hill day centre service Burnside have been making a weekly visit to nearby elderly care home Edward House as part of their activities schedule. The Buddy Outreach Group sees the adults with learning disabilities leading activities with some of the elderly residents and forging friendships.

After a three month pilot period the weekly visits have proven to be so popular on both sides that it will now be extended to become a regular part of their schedules.

Andrew Hooley, Burnside’s Assistant Day Service Manager, said: “The idea of the Buddy Outreach Group is to show that it’s not about the learning disability, it’s about the ability; it’s about what can be given back and brought to the community. Our people have such compassion and empathy and really want to get to know people, so it works beautifully. 

“Sometimes elderly people can feel as though they are no longer visible, but now people are coming in who are interested in them and want to know what Burgess Hill was like in the past. And they have some wonderful stories to tell.”

The sessions see the group lead a variety of activities with the elderly residents, including bingo, games and quizzes, as well as singing songs together, and during the recent warm weather they have also enjoyed a BBQ. 

But most importantly, they have built relationships with each other.

Registered Manager of Edward House, Linda Bartley, said the weekly visit from Burnside was a highlight of the week for the residents. She said: “When the idea was suggested I thought it was absolutely brilliant, and it has gone down really well with our residents. They seem to have really gelled and look forward to the activities. Because it is going so well we have decided to make it a regular thing each week.”

Amanda Jupp, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for adults and health said: “I am delighted that the Buddy Outreach Group has been successful and is enjoyed so much by everyone. Activities like these show how important it is for people to get out into the community, making a real difference to others lives.”

A video of The Buddy Outreach Group can be found here: https://youtu.be/co6o9i47WTg 

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