Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire praises Vandyke’s Sixth Form Students
The Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis CStJ, who is HM The Queen’s representative in the County of Bedfordshire, visited Carrington House care home in Leighton Buzzard in June. It is the first YOPEY Dementia Befriender scheme in the County.
Teenage befrienders from Vandyke’s Sixth Form introduced Mrs Nellis to their elderly friends – some living with dementia – at the care home near the school. About 10 of Vandyke’s 20-plus Year 12s trained by YOPEY to be befrienders are still visiting the care home six months into their year of volunteering. Our leading befriender, Callum Betley, has visited Carrington House 22 times and given over 40 hours
Carrington House laid on tea and cakes for more than 20 people including the Lord-Lieutenant, YOPEY Befrienders, residents and their relatives. The event was also attended by Mr Carroll, Mr Downey and a YOPEY charity trustee.
Mrs Nellis said: “I am delighted to see the work of YOPEY Dementia Befriender in action. What splendid young people we have here in Bedfordshire! It is a wonderful idea to bring the younger and older generations together so that they are able to enjoy each other’s company. Well done to the students of Vandyke Upper School.”
Mr Carroll said: “As a school we encourage all our Sixth Form students to volunteer in the local community as part of their enrichment curriculum. We were delighted when we received details of YOPEY Dementia Befriender and were keen to encourage our students to get involved, which, I am pleased to say, a good number have. Observing them working in this environment was a real privilege. It goes without saying how proud I am of our students who display such maturity and commitment to their local community.”
Callum Betley said: “There was an amazing buzz in the air. The Lord-Lieutenant gave a speech which engaged with the residents – they felt a sense of pride as she complimented their home.” Hannah Gafa said: “I found the visit very moving. Seeing the residents that we now know quite well interacting with someone as important as the Lord-Lieutenant was lovely to see. The free cake was quite nice too.”
The manager of Carrington House, Alex Roberts, said: “Carrington House is very proud to be the first care home in Bedfordshire to take part in YOPEY Dementia Befriender. The young people from Vandyke Upper School are upbeat and have been an asset to the home and the residents. They have brought more laughter and energy into the home, they are a breath of fresh air”.
YOPEY Befrienders do this for a year and are encouraged to put their YOPEY Befriender record on their CV and applications to higher and further education. The Vandyke group includes would-be medics, lawyers and even an astronaut!