Time to Connect is a partnership project by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) and Timebanking UK (TBUK), which aims to improve the lives of older people and people with learning disabilities who live in care. Below Carol Robinson from NDTI shares some fantastic examples of links between care homes and the community in rural places.

From Older People’s Homes

  • Rebekah posted a request on a Dursley community Facebook page to ask if anyone would be willing to bring a classic or vintage car/bike to the home and the response was overwhelming. There were so many people that wanted to come to the home that they had a little show of their own at Henlow Court. There were also individuals that don’t have any vehicles that have offered to come and help.  This happened eventually but was rained off at the first attempt! It brought lots of local residents to the home to see the cars and they stayed for a cuppa.
  • Margaret, a 97 year old lady and a former teacher, went to the local primary school to listen to the children read. She was reluctant to get involved at first, but it worked really well and she went fortnightly to the school until she became too ill. —- Reflecting on Margaret’s achievements, Rebekah wrote: My thoughts on community connections, having spent time with Margaret, is it can take time. To think about yourself, how you see yourself and how you fit into the community can be difficult. I think Margaret was able to – given time to reflect – admit to herself she was not the person she used to be but, importantly, she could still see the value in herself as she is now and to be able to see how much people still value her.
  • At the point when Margaret became ill, two other ladies became involved with local schools, one with a nursery and the other with the local primary. In one case, the lady’s son took photocopies of the pages of the book that she was reading to the children and made them big font and even inserted where she should show the picture to the children. BBC Radio Gloucestershire came and interviewed her and the children for a piece about inter-generational working. It was so lovely to hear what the teacher and children had to say about Freeda’s visits and vice versa. This is her being interviewed:

  • The local library went into the home to ask residents for their memories of the town and they produced a book. The library returned and talked to some of the residents about their memories, to expand on the things they had written. The memories have been put together along with others from podcasts etc. to form a portfolio that is to be put forward to compete for funding to produce it as a book.
  • Through the local timebank, there was a an opportunity to join a community walk in a park that has a museum in it. One older person went on the walk and while going around the park, said that she was related to the inventor of the first lawnmower that is featured in the museum. See the link below for more: https://www.ndti.org.uk/blog/how-a-chance-comment-during-a-park-walk-led-to-a-fascinating-journey

From Learning Disability homes

  • One home has produced a leaflet about a truly accessible walk that is being sent to everyone on the disability register in Gloucestershire. It is also being lodged in the Forestry Commission info hubs and an article about it is going in the Family Information service newsletter. Without someone in a wheelchair to test the route and the parking and toilet facilities, it would have been difficult to produce this guide.
  • A man called David who is a wheelchair user goes out and delivers the local parish magazine and is now being recognised by local people who talk to him. A woman from another home near Cheltenham is attending a local knit and natter group which comprises largely older people.

Time To Connect is made possible by the Big Lottery Fund.