Thornhill Play Group in Cwmbran was the first port of call for an afternoon out and about in the constituency for MS Natasha Asghar.
The pre-school children and staff were celebrating Shwmae day and warmly welcomed Natasha.
Manager Victoria Rogers showed Natasha the outdoor play area and garden where the children enjoyed growing tomatoes and strawberries this summer. Victoria talked Natasha through the children’s daily activities which always begins with washing hands and cleaning teeth. “We use timers and music as prompts which helps the children gauge how much time is needed for these important jobs!”
The children confidently took her to a cosy corner where they read a book, played cars and then compared sparkly shoes before getting ready to visit “their friends in the care home next door”.
Victoria explained how the play group’s application for a Community Cohesion Grant had been successful and enabled her to buy some equipment. “We have a wonderful partnership with the award-winning Leadon Court Care Home next door which specialises in caring for people with dementia.
“Using the grant I bought craft supplies, a bubble machine and musical instruments which we store at the home. We visit each week and read stories, paint and sing with the residents. Our children love visiting “their friends” and the residents’ faces just light up when our children arrive. We had a beach party themed visit in the summer, complete with a paddling pool which was enjoyed by all!” added Victoria.
Natasha joined the children and walked over to Leadon Court, a short journey during which they practice how to cross the road safely, and received an equally warm welcome from the staff, residents and families visiting that afternoon.
Events and Fundraising coordinator Katherine Bright described how uplifting the play group’s visits are and how the children brighten the residents’ day. “Their energy and laughter is infectious and our residents – and staff! - enjoy every minute of the activities they do together.”
Katherine proudly showed Natasha the hair salon and nail bar within the home: “Coming here feels like a weekly trip out, possibly like they used to do, and provides a quiet time to relax. We are very fortunate to have a member of staff who is a trained beautician so our ladies enjoy a professional manicure.”
Natasha said: “I was absolutely blown away by my visit to Thornhill Play Group and Leadon Court Care Home and the wonderful connection they have made. This has to be an example of intergenerational best practice which clearly has so many benefits for residents and the children, who were an absolutely delight.
“I must congratulate the staff at Leadon Court on winning Home of the Year Award at the South Wales Health and Care Awards 2023. They have created a wonderful caring, friendly atmosphere and environment with stimulating activities, and I was very pleased to meet so many members of the team and residents during my incredibly enjoyable visit.”