“Just to say we have had a wonderful day today – thanks mainly to our university student volunteers! This morning we had a coffee morning for Dignity Day followed by a charming session with Helen & Lily who made Lavender bags with all the residents. Even the men took part – it was really refreshing… with the added bonus of the whole home smelling of lavender! Family were really impressed. Then after lunch Peter arrived and read to residents in the main lounge and also got them chatting together about things.- again very well attended and thoroughly enjoyed. These students put a lot of planning and thought into every session and they are a joy – the residents love them. Afterwards I constantly get asked by our residents, ‘when are they coming again?'”      (Gillian, care home manager)

“I have really loved my time so far on the reading project. Lily and I have gone along to the same care home every Friday morning and brought various bits of poetry and newspapers to read to the residents. It is amazing to hear stories from their youth, and to see what a difference just a few hours can make to someone’s day. The staff have all been very welcoming and lovely. I hope to continue going for a long time, and coming up with new activities!”       (Helen, 2nd Year English)

“The Care Homes Reading Project has been both fun and rewarding. My only regret is not taking part in my first year. Having completed my DBS check and training, I was placed with a lovely lady named Peggy and I organised a weekly slot when I would visit in term time. Peggy writes her own poems so all along my experience has been one of reading poetry and discussing it. As an English Literature student, is has been wonderfully refreshing to read texts without over-thinking them, but instead enjoying the sounds and images for what they are. On my very first visit Peggy insisted that her friend join us and the week after that another lady joined us so we moved from Peggy’s room to the lounge. Now anyone can join in who wants to but discussion is based around the four of us: me, Peggy, Anne and Suzanne. The ladies are brilliant fun and shattered for me any kind of stereotypical care home experience – they are constantly laughing and mischievous (several outlandish escape plots have been hatched). I feel like I have made a genuine connection and one of my favourite moments was when Anne (who has dementia) remembered who I was for the first time. We have also created several poems together. There was a nonsense poem created from a rhyme game we made up and several limericks about the care home staff!”    (Simon, 2nd Year English)