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Haverhill young befrienders enjoy a 'pint' and a sing-song with residents at town care home




Four girls from Castle Manor Academy in Haverhill visited residents of a Haverhill care home in their ‘pub’.

The girls are part of a larger group of the secondary school’s pupils who have been trained as befrienders by the Stradishall charity YOPEY.

Since their training in July, the group has made over 70 visits and given the residents – some of whom are lonely while others live with dementia – about 150 hours of their time.

YOPEY befrienders and their hosts at the Meadows care home 'pub. Picture by Paul A. Sanwell
YOPEY befrienders and their hosts at the Meadows care home 'pub. Picture by Paul A. Sanwell

Headteacher Vanessa Whitcombe said: “We are delighted that our young people are involved in such a fantastic project in their local community.

“They are learning so much about working with people with dementia and finding it incredibly rewarding.

“I am very proud of them and their work so far and look forward to the project growing even further.”

A Meadows care home resident with a young befriender and a drink. Picture by Paul A Sanwell
A Meadows care home resident with a young befriender and a drink. Picture by Paul A Sanwell

The manager of the Meadows care home in Brybank Road, Helen Selby, said: “The YOPEY Befrienders are a real asset to The Meadows and many of our residents really look forward to their visits.”

Charity founder Tony Gearing MBE said: “YOPEY wants to make Suffolk ‘The Beacon for Befriending’.

“These friendly girls, Castle Manor and The Meadows are all helping us to achieve this.”

A young befriender and a Meadows care home resident share laughter. Picture by Paul A Sanwell
A young befriender and a Meadows care home resident share laughter. Picture by Paul A Sanwell

While the girls, all aged 14-15, did not drink alcoholic drinks, this did not stop them joining in a singsong at ‘closing time’.

YOPEY is short for Young People of the Year. Tony has previously run Young People of the Year campaigns in Suffolk and other parts of the UK from London to Scotland.

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