Pengam’s intergenerational lunch club gets visit from Older People’s Commissioner for Wales
By Freddie Holmes
A club to build bridges between youngsters and older people received a special visit from the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales recently.
Sarah Rochira visited the intergenerational lunch club at Lewis School Pengam to help them celebrate Older People’s Day.
The club encourages older residents and pupils to join together, with between 50 and 70 regulars attending the popular Wednesday gathering.
Ms Rochira chatted with locals over lunch about what they want out of the Older People’s Commissioner.
She said: “This is a simple yet practical project that provides the older people in the community with so much more than just a nice place to have lunch.
“It is evident that a real difference is being made, through the friendships and sharing that is seen between the pupils and local residents; it helps them all to feel like valued members of the local community.”
During her visit, Ms Rochira presented a Princess Diana Award to pupil Joel Brown for his voluntary work in helping to run the intergenerational club.
Mike Oliver, assistant headteacher at Lewis School Pengam, said: “The elderly people that Joel helps think the world of him. Joel’s ambition is eventually to go into the armed forces and several of our elderly gentlemen, veterans themselves insist that he would make a fantastic soldier. From a personal point of view as the member of staff responsible for community focus and intergenerational activities I just couldn’t do it without him.”
Counciller Robin Woodyatt Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet member for social services, said: “It is heartening to see the respect these youngsters have for the older people who attend this weekly club.
“Social interaction is so important to the health and wellbeing of the older people who live in this borough, and I am pleased that the younger generation is so enthusiastic about this project.”
Hilda Moss, 85, from Tir-Y-Berth attends the club every week.
She said: “It was interesting to speak to the Commissioner today; she showed that people do truly care about us”.
The Connecting Schools and Communities Project set up in Caerphilly has created a number of intergenerational clubs across the schools in Caerphilly.
The intergenerational club at Lewis School Pengam takes place every Wednesday from 12pm to 2pm.Follow @CaerphillyObsvr