14 March 2019

It is hoped a project to bring people with dementia and young people together which started at Stoke Damerel Community College six years ago will be rolled out across other schools in the city.

The Jiminy Wicket dementia croquet sessions take place regularly here with younger students and residents of local care homes and on 14 March representatives from other schools in the city came along for the first time to see how their schools can get involved, as did Plymouth's Lord Mayor Sam Davey.

Cllr Ian Tuffin, Plymouth City Council cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Care, also attended for a second time. "It is a privilege to be at Stoke again to see everyone's enjoyment and the amazing care the College's young people display," said Cllr Tuffin. 

"I really want to spread this around the city, it can play an important part in our work to tackle loneliness and social isolation."

Lord Mayor Cllr Sam Davey said the students were "a credit to the College".

"They were an absolute joy to meet, so confident and polite, but full of fun," he said.

 "I had a wonderful time, as I am sure the residents from the homes did as well."

James Creasey travelled from his home in Colorado for the session - he set up Jiminy Wicket with his brother Andrew when their father, Maxwell, was diagnosed with dementia and he and his brother Andrew began to search for an enjoyable way for them to spend time together.

Andrew hopes the project will expand across Plymouth too.

"We know that the magic is here," he said.

"Now I think the magic is about to explode around Plymouth, the engagement and interest of the other schools and their desire to replicate the joy and happiness here is palpable."

The sessions are a highlight for residents of St Barnabas Care Home in Stoke according to Holly McNamara, the home's Social Inclusion officer.

"They always get excited when they know they are coming for a game of croquet, the students are brilliant and really look after them."

Year 8 student Ansku said she and her fellow students look forward to it just as much.

"It's really lovely to spend time with our visitors," she said.

"They have such interesting stories and are good company - you can learn a lot spending time with older people and there is nothing to be scared of."

 

Executive principal of Stoke Damerel, Anita Frier, said: "It is heartwarming to see our students being so caring and confident in talking to our visitors. 

"It is vital to educate our students to understand dementia and remove the barriers and fear around this condition."