A gentlemen's day out

Through our Making Pals project we’ve created some blossoming relationships between care home residents and their communities

By spending time with residents and asking them directly what activities they would like to take part in, we’ve been able to reunite older people with some of the places and pastimes that really mean something to them.

In early December we took a group of male residents from Bishopsmead Lodge, Kenver House and Manor Cottage care homes to a Christmas event aimed at tackling loneliness amongst older people. The event was a collaboration between St Monica Trust and Bristol Sport Foundation, the idea being that after enjoying some festive activities people could then come together to have a chat about some of their favourite sporting memories. After the event we took the residents for lunch and a pint at a nearby pub; a perfect gentlemen’s day out.             

Carols and chatting           

The Christmas event kicked off with around a hundred older people gathering in the atrium at St Monica Trust to sing carols, sample festive treats and meet new people from Bristol and beyond. Then Bristol Bears players came around to chat to everyone about their sporting memories of Bristol.

We had some Rovers fans and some City fans on the trip which sparked up a lot of friendly banter- one gentleman revealed he’d played for both teams in his time! It also turned out that two of the gentlemen used to drink in the same local pubs after matches. They did a lot of reminiscing about events that went on in the pub over the years and even discovered that they have friends in common!

Many happy memories 

John, a resident from Bishopsmead Lodge told us that the trips put on by us had meant a lot to him. He told the others about the trip to the seaside we’d arranged during the summer; he’d been filmed by the BBC demonstrating his excellent bowling skills, “I was famous that day” John told the group. He also told us that he’d enjoyed the intergenerational zoo trip we’d organised along with Young Bristol, “I have a mug from the zoo gift shop in my room. Sometimes I’ll get it down off the shelf and drink from it and it reminds me of that day”.

We asked John if today’s Christmas visit had been a good way to wind up the trips for the year. He said it had been wonderful “I haven’t been in a pub in years. I don’t drink these days but it’s good to come here and talk to everyone and meet new people. I’ve enjoyed singing the carols today as well”.

It’s been an absolute joy to work with this group of residents and to see how beneficial getting people out of the care home and into the community is. There are lots more trips planned for next year, so watch this space to find out what's next in store for the residents.