#BefriendingIs Intergenerational as Aylesbury Youth Action volunteers spend time with care home residents

Thu 5 Nov 2020

Aylesbury Youth Actions aims to support young people to develop their skills, and have new experiences, by making and being recognised for a positive contribution to their community. AYA,’s befriending project is called Biscuit Buddies. Before lockdown the project ran in a group setting in a care home for older people. AYA are currently developing a spin-off one-to-one version of the project over the coming months. Two of their young Biscuit Buddies volunteers share their stories.

Laura Abbey told us -

‘When I first started volunteering for Aylesbury Youth Action last year, the prospect of helping out at one of the care homes immediately caught my interest. The promise of participating in an intergenerational befriending project and, stemming from that, the opportunity to listen to and learn from the stories of the residents seemed to be a richly rewarding experience. Not to forget, of course, my want to finally give back to the community and to the people who have aided in its development over the years.

I had a great time during my stint at a local elderly residential care home. Even if it was only for an hour a week, seeing not only the folks but the workers enjoy themselves whilst taking part in the range of activities we organised (from lantern-making to Wii games) was definitely the best part of my Monday. As well as this, going to the project definitely improved my communication skills. Alongside the more general ability to work as part of a team, an added layer to everything we did was ensuring that we explained what we were doing well enough for the residents to understand. As such, I think that the way in which I interact with people from different walks of life, and with different needs, has been really enhanced.

So overall, the project was fantastic, both for my own personal development, and to know that I was generating something positive every week. (Since lockdown) I’ve really missed going there, seeing everyone, and having a chat (and the occasional biscuit too). It always proved to be a much-needed break from my studies and I hope that one day I can return, safely and securely.’

 Zahra Hussain’s story -

‘I am a volunteer on the intergenerational befriending project. I wanted to acquire this position to make a difference for the older generation, especially those experiencing high levels of dementia. Over time, I realised no matter the size of the activity or conversation, it made the patient’s day brighter; this is something that is very important to me.

Furthermore, I noticed there was a development of my skills; not only has my attention to detail improved, but my ability to communicate with others of all ages has as well. I feel as though this project is one that not only presents challenges, but it is one that helps to develop oneself.’

With such positive experiences we hope they will continue to volunteer in the future.