Befriender '19

YOPEY Befriender

Young people supporting the elderly in care homes

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Stories about YOPEY Dementia Befriender (YDB) schemes in 2019

We started 2019 with YOPEY Dementia Befriender (YDB) schemes running in 13 places.

Among these are sixth-formers going in to care homes in Chelmsford, Norwich, Nottingham and Watford. We have started our first scheme in Bedfordshire in Leighton Buzzard, also using sixth-formers.

Younger secondary school pupils are going into other care homes Cambridge and Watford.

We have two schemes running in two semi-rural areas of Suffolk with several more planned as we endeavour to make YOPEY's home county the 'Beacon for Befriending'.

Cambidgeshire is also earmarked for major expansion.

We are also working for a second year with our first primary school, Burton End in Haverhill. You can see a film about our youngest volunteers on Youtube.

Our schemes in West Bridgford, Notts, and Wymondham, Norfolk, are in their fifth and third year respectively.

YOPEY founder Tony Gearing MBE said: "In 2019 we are poised for our biggest expansion yet."

First YDB in Cambridgeshire's Fenlands

Photos by Paul Sanwell of OP Photography

Teenagers from a Fenland school have been trained to be ‘YOPEY Befrienders’ and make friends with elderly people living with dementia.

The 14-15 year-olds from Neale-Wade Academy were recruited by the East Anglian charity YOPEY and trained by YOPEY founder Tony Gearing MBE at the March secondary school. On the same day they paid their first visit to Clovelly House, one of two care homes in March that will be welcoming the teenagers.

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Neale-Wade YOPEY Befrienders being trained

Photos by Paul Sanwell of OP Photography

Neale-Wade Academy allowed YOPEY founder Tony Gearing MBE to spend nearly a whole day training Year 10s who had volunteered to become YOPEY Befrienders how to relate to care home residents living with dementia.

They finished their training by visiting Clovelly House, one of two care homes in March that has agreed to take part in the scheme.

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New photo album Not out at Carrington House

Photos by John Flynn

Sixth-form YOPEY Befrienders from Vandyke Upper School have been visiting residents at Carrington House care home in Leighton Buzzard to provide companionship and entertainment.

Here are a couple of them organising a game of bowls.

One Callum Betley said: “The residents are very happy we are there. They have told us they love it when we come and it’s always nice to talk.”

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New photo album Another game at Carrington House

Photos by John Flynn

Sixth-form YOPEY Befrienders from Vandyke Upper School have been visiting residents at Carrington House care home in Leighton Buzzard to provide companionship and entertainment.

Here are a few of them organising a different game.


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Our first YDB scheme in Ipswich

Photos by Paul Sanwell of OP Photography

Teenagers from an Ipswich school have been trained to be ‘YOPEY Dementia Befrienders’ and make friends with elderly people living with dementia.

The sixth-formers from Northgate High School were recruited by the charity YOPEY and trained by YOPEY founder Tony Gearing MBE at The Willows care home in Ipswich.

About two-thirds of The Willows' 60-plus residents have dementia, many are lonely and some do not get any

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Our first YOPEY Befrienders in Ipswich are trained by Tony

Photos by Paul Sanwell of OP Photography 

YOPEY Dementia Befriender has brought together its first school & care home in Ipswich. Here are photos of sixth-formers from Northgate High School being trained by YOPEY Founder Tony Gearing MBE at The Willows care home in Ipswich. Photos of the young people's first conversations with care home residents to follow...⠀

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Northgate High YOPEY Befrienders meet Willows residents for first time

Photos by Paul Sanwell of OP Photography

YOPEY Dementia Befriender has brought together its first school & care home in Ipswich. Here are photos of sixth-formers from Northgate High School being meeting residents at The Willows care home for the first time...


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Wymondham YOPEY Befrienders bake with residents

Photos by John Bulpitt

A few YOPEY Befrienders from Wymondham High Academy helped Windmill House residents bake.

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Wymondham YOPEY Befrienders take residents singing

Photos by John Bulpitt

A couple of YOPEY Befrienders from Wymondham High Academy helped Windmill House's activities coordinator take a few residents to a dementia choir in the Norfolk town.

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New photo album Rushcliffe YOPEY Dementia Befrienders

Photos by Andrew Wainwright

The fifth year of YOPEY Befrienders from Rushcliffe School volunteering at a care home in West Bridgford, Nottingham, have been visiting for a few months. So we thought it time to send along a photographer and record their blossoming friendships with residents.

Here a few of the 29 Year 12s are photographed chatting with residents and taking part in an activity at Leawood Manor care home.

The photos of old and young comparing telephones, old and modern, are wonderful.

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