10 Mar 2015


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Please note this article can be found in its original location here.

The Lifebook Project is part of our Helping Older People campaign, in turn a part of our wider aim to teach the importance of social responsibility (Mu’asharat).

Beginning in January this year, we partnered with Folkstone Care Home in East London and Azhar Academy Girls School to arrange six weekly visits by the students. Their task was to create a Lifebook: a collection of stories, photos and quotes about the lives of the residents.

Following the completion of the project, the Newham Recorder newspaper featured our work. I spoke with 1st Ethical’s Umar Malik, our London Relationship Manager and organiser of the Lifebook Project to find out more.

What was the highlight of the Lifebook project?

For me, the highlight of the Lifebook project was just seeing the students interact and engage with the residents. It’s really beautiful to see and especially with the girls, who instinctively warm more to these situations. More specifically, my favourite moment was when Mr Stockwell, a resident in the care home who I’ve seen to be very quiet in previous visits, was really opening up to the girls, cracking lots of jokes and was quite the comedian!

What did the children and residents gain from it?

The residents were really happy with the visits. As you can see from the video on the Lifebook project, it’s something that they really enjoy and lifts their spirits for a few days after the visit. They’re eager to get the kids over as much as possible.

The students have their eyes opened to an environment they may never have experienced before. They return with a newfound sense of appreciation of the elders amongst their community and even in their own families, as well as inspiring some students to get involved in similar community work.

Will you be doing this again?

The school will be getting involved in many of our campaigns and hope to maintain contact with their new friends at Folkestone Care Home. Many other schools will be getting involved with several getting involved with their local care home.

If someone wanted to visit a care home, which steps would they need to take?

Get in touch with a 1st Ethical rep close to them! We can help facilitate a campaign and arrange a visit with your local care homes. Getting the kids prepared is very important, they may want to prepare some activities to do with residents, make some cards for them, a small presentation, some questions, the ideas are endless.

What were the main difficulties that the children and residents had?

There’s always an aspect of the fear of the unknown. Many of the students don’t know what to expect and how to respond in a situation that’s new to them. Sometimes the students may find it hard to initiate discussion but after 10 or 15 minutes they become a lot more comfortable, discussions are flowing and we’ve even had beautiful scenes in the past where some of the more quieter students have fed the residents with their own hands, much to the teachers surprise!

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