SCHOOL children have collaborated with care home residents to create a unique online memory bank that will help dementia sufferers to recall their younger days.
The Barnard Castle project, called Memories of Teesdale, focuses on sharing true stories about older people’s early lives.
Pupils from Forest in Teesdale Primary School worked with residents of Kings Court Residential Home to create the online memory bank.
A total of ten youngsters worked with project worker Jude Irwin to develop their reporting skills, then visited the residents to interview them and collect stories.
Ms Irwin said: “We know older people often have very powerful memories from their distant past and these memories are priceless and can be immensely stimulating and rewarding for anyone, especially those with dementia.
“Working with the residents at Kings Court we found that just talking about the past brought so many wonderful memories to mind.
“The residents were delighted with the interest the pupils showed, and proud of the information they’d been able to share.
“People remembered all sorts of things, from the clean, cold taste of village pump water to the propensity for keeping a pigs carcass hung in the kitchen of many a Teesdale farmhouse. These impressions can really bring history alive.”
The project also includes the children’s illustrations of the stories they have heard and is designed to be used in a care home setting or on a one-to-one basis with anyone who has dementia.
The children have asked to go back to the care home to sing war time songs to the residents.
Forest in Teesdale head teacher, Ian Carroll said: “The community element is absolutely huge, and the children have made it very clear they want to continue the relationship with the care home.
"They gained a great deal from the experience – it’s given them a perspective on history.”
Care workers or families can download the resource for free and use it to generate discussions and memories with older people.
The project was funded by the Heart of Teesdale Landscape Partnership, through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and is available at www.lifetime-memorymag.co.uk