Schoolchildren partner with hospice patients in new buddying scheme
Children from Porchester Junior School in Nottingham have paired up with patients at Nottinghamshire Hospice in a special project, working together on creative activities and sharing stories.
The children, aged eight and nine, visited the hospice for three consecutive weeks, each child being partnered with a specific patient. Together they worked through structured activities designed by Nottinghamshire Hospice Occupational Therapist Kerry Lovell.
On their final visit, children and patients worked together to write poems which the children read out to an audience of patients, staff and parents.
Nine-year-old Abbey, who paired up with patient Barbara, said: “It’s been really nice seeing Barbara and finding out about her. I’ve liked seeing how things work here.”
Barbara said: “I’ve enjoyed it very much. We’ve discovered we share a love of baking and painting.”
Abbey and Barbara wrote an acrostic poem which spelt the word HOSPICE. It read:
Over at the Hospice
People are nice
It’s lovely here
Cakes and biscuits fill your tummy
The children also spent time with other teams at the hospice, including fundraising and finance, where they learnt how to use a money counting machine. They also climbed up to the building’s historic tower which has views all over the city.
Daniel, 8, said: “We did paper dolls and poems and we went to see around the hospice. I liked meeting the patients and going up the tower.”
Liz Morgan, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Nottinghamshire Hospice said: “We have had schools visit the hospice before for events and picnics but this is the first time we’ve organised a structured series of visits like this, where children pair up with a specific patient.
“Our patients have loved having the children come here. It’s been a big success and we plan to repeat it next year with a different group of children.”
Kerry Lovell, Occupational Therapist at Nottinghamshire Hospice, who led the programme, said: “The visits have been beneficial to both patients and children. They’ve enjoyed spending time together, learning about each other and doing activities together.”
The scheme was designed to fit with the school curriculum because it helps the children learn about loss.
Helen Foster, Deputy Head at Porchester Junior said: “As Porchester Junior is an accredited value based education school, it has been a wonderful opportunity for the children to engage with our values and practise using them in real life. The children represented the school brilliantly throughout the project and we have a long list of children hoping to get their chance next time. We welcome the chance to strengthen our links with Nottinghamshire Hospice.”
Nottinghamshire Hospice provides palliative care and support for people with a terminal illness throughout Nottinghamshire in the last year of their lives and support for their families and carers. The hospice needs to raise £2.7 million a year to deliver its services. To find out how you can help, visit: https://www.nottshospice.org/get-involved/