They are separated by generations – but united by the simple joy of sharing each other’s company.
The children, aged three to six-years-old, spend the morning carefully baking a delicious cake and making welcome cards to greet the six residents upon their arrival.
After the cake and card presentations, each child chooses a book to share with a resident, followed by a special song or dance performance by the children.
Hub Director Samantha Gould said the program, Generations Together, was the first of its kind for the centre.
“The children are so excited to be part of this program. It is such a treat for them to be able to venture down to our multi-purpose room and they are quite proud to present the residents with the pictures they have made.
“Some of the children are very shy at first but it doesn’t take them long to warm up. After the sessions the children are buzzing with excitement and love to tell us about the time they have spent with their new friends.”
Samantha said the one-on-one time had boosted the children’s self-confidence, particularly those without large, extended families.
“Building a relationship with potential role models and having the continuity of an adult figure with them each week has also benefited them greatly,” Samantha said.
“Their families have noted this change and have commented on the children’s excitement and positivity when coming home.”
VMCH Berwick Lifestyle Coordinator Carolyn Buckley said residents too looked forward to Monday afternoon visits at the Hub.
“It’s a very enjoyable time for both the children and the residents. The children are a little shy to start with but it doesn’t take too long for them to come around. All the residents who have visited the Hub are amazed at how welcoming the children are. It’s a great opportunity to bring the community together from the very young to the more mature.”
Resident Doreen, aged 74, described the children as “very friendly and welcoming”.
“They bring us so much joy,” she said.
World War II veteran Stan (pictured above right with resident Doreen and youngster Sophie), said he was familiar with children, as great-grandfather to 34 of his own.
“It’s always lovely to be around the children,” Stan, aged 92, said. “I was very impressed on how well-behaved they are towards us. I hope they all have a good life.”
Trudi, aged 82, described her first visit as “refreshing”.
“The children were very loving and I didn’t expect such a positive reaction from beautiful little Madeline (both pictured above left).”
The visits began in April and will continue throughout the year.