Friday, May 11, 2018
*Picture spread available Schoolchildren in Accrington have been piecing together history with the help of residents from a nearby care home.
The youngsters from The Hollins secondary school have been finding out about the lives of residents at the Woodlands Home for Older People to create a giant 100-piece jigsaw puzzle.
Each piece tells a story about an aspect of each resident's life such as their family, the jobs they've had or their hobbies and interests.
The pupils have used different techniques to ensure the images on each piece stand out and reflect the unique character of each pensioner and their experiences.
Around 17 pupils who are part of The Hollins Let's Be Foundation volunteered for the project and have been visiting the home in Clayton le Moors on Thursday evenings to speak to residents about their experiences. The final visit took place on Thursday 10 May.
The giant jigsaw is part of a scheme called Let's Be Creatively Connected, which is managed by Waqar Ahmed, extended schools coordinator at the Accrington school.
Waqar said: "This project has been superb. We knew the students would enjoy it, but it's far beyond what we expected.
"The pupils enjoyed visiting Woodlands over the last 10 weeks and finding out about the people who live there. They've had random conversations and found out interesting facts about them, their lives, the area and sadly, people they've lost.
"They've been particularly interested to find out about jobs people have done, which have included everything from being cotton weavers to playing for Accrington Stanley!
"It's been amazing to see the jigsaw pieces taking shape as the pupils use their talents to create images using paints, crayons and other materials.
"They've been working alongside local artist Banu Adam and she's helped them to come up with some fantastic ideas.
"The result is a masterpiece – an eclectic mix of images that really brings the history of Woodlands, the people there and the community to life.
"The most difficult part of the project has been the end of each session, when students don't want to go.
"We're all looking forward to the launch next month, when the giant jigsaw will be on display for the first time."
Liz Wilde, head of the county council's older people's service, said: "Everyone at Woodlands has really enjoyed the visits from pupils from The Hollins.
"It's been a great opportunity for them to chat, tell the young people about their experiences and to help us all understand an individual's life story. Contact with a young generation is invaluable for people's sense of worth and residents have enjoyed building relationships and finding out about what the schoolchildren are working on.
"Staff and residents have been pleased to be involved in this important project helping them to piece together the history of the community that live here."
County Councillor Graham Gooch, cabinet member for adult services, said: "It's great to see that schoolchildren and care home residents are working together in this way.
"Staff at our care homes do a superb job supporting schemes like this, which help residents to try new activities that improve their mental wellbeing."