YOPEY Befriender '16

Young People of the Year

Revealing, Recognising and Rewarding Positive Role Models

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More schools and care homes join YOPEY Befriender


In 2013 – the first year of YOPEY Befriender scheme – two care homes, three schools and about 60 young people in Hertfordshire were involved.

In 2016 – three years later – at least six care homes, six schools, one FE college and over 150 young people are involved.

As well as three Watford schools who have been visiting two care homes and one day centre, YOPEY Befriender schemes are now operating in Nottinghamshire and Suffolk.

In West Bridgford, Nottingham, one school is sending sixth-formers into its local care home. In Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, two schools are among the first to send Year 10s into a local care home while one sixth-form is sending its students into another care home.

YOPEY is headquartered in Suffolk and – following winning a grant from Aviva in Norwich – it has started new YOPEY Befriender schemes linking two homes and two schools in its home county, with more to follow in the neighbouring counties of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.

It is also starting a YOPEY Befriender scheme in Sudbury with a grant from the Suffolk Community Foundation.

Trailblazing 6th-formers praise scheme

Community-spirited sixth formers have been giving up their spare time to get to know elderly care home residents as part of a scheme that helps bring the generations closer together.

Year 12 and 13 students from County Upper School, in Bury St Edmunds, have been visiting the town’s North Court Care Home as part of the YOPEY Befriender initiative.

Organised by Stradishall-based charity YOPEY, the scheme sees schools link up with care homes in an attempt to bring friendship and happiness to the lives of residents, many of whom suffer

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YOPEY Befrienders 'star' in film

Photographs by Paul Sanwell of OP Photography and Cambridge Camera Club

Aviva, the insurance giant which is supporting five YOPEY Befriender schemes in the East of England this year, shot a film about the YOPEY Befriender scheme at North Court care home in Bury St Edmunds.

The film will be used to promote the Aviva Community Fund from which YOPEY won the top prize of £25,000 last year.

The photographs of the film-making in the gallery on the left were taken by Paul

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'Win, win, win' for young and old alike

By Steve Larner  For over 100 photos see 3 article boxes below...

The Countess of Verulam, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, visited the Victoria House day centre, Greenbank Road, Watford, and saw how the YOPEY Befriender scheme is transforming the lives of elderly people with dementia, and the student volunteers who befriend them.

Dione Verulam said that as a schoolgirl she visited elderly

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'Win, win, win' photos – part 1

Photographs by John Flynn  If you would like to buy high-resolution images on a DVD to have your own prints made, please contact John on 07730 587 965 or click here to email him ...
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'Win, win, win' photos – part 2

Photographs by Cat HumphrieIf you would like to buy high-resolution images on a DVD to have your own prints made, please contact Cat  on 07974 733 843 or click here to

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'Win, win, win' photos – part 3

Photographs by Cat HumphrieIf you would like to buy high-resolution images on a DVD to have your own prints made, please contact Cat  on 07974 733 843 or click here

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Younger age group trailblazes YOPEY Befriender

Scheme funded by Aviva is well under way

By Kevin Palmer

More than 20 teenagers from two Bury St Edmunds schools are blazing a trail on a new befriending scheme in the town.

The year 10 pupils from County Upper and St Benedict’s are regularly visiting elderly people with dementia at a care home in the town centre.

The scheme is run by the Stradishall-based charity YOPEY, which stands for Young People of the Year and last year won the largest grant from a major

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Head teacher praises YOPEY

The head teacher of County Upper school in Bury St Edmunds, which is taking part in YOPEY Befriender for the first time, has praised the scheme.

Mrs Vicky Neale said: “The YOPEY Befriender scheme is giving our students the chance to understand the care needs for those with dementia. Many were anxious about the first meeting, but we can now see they’re gaining in confidence as they commit to regular visits and get to know the residents.

"They’re having to learn to adapt their conversations and think about how to respond to the residents at the

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More photographs from St Peter's

These photographs were taken in St Peter's House dementia care home in Bury St Edmunds whose participation in YOPEY Befriender was made possible by a grant from Aviva, the insurance giant.

This scheme is the first to involve Year 10 students rather than sixth-formers. The 14 to 15 year-olds came from two secondary schools in the Suffolk town – County Upper and St Benedict's.

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Home and school into second year

Photographs by Andrew Wainwright and John Sutherland

Nearly 30 Year 12s (lower sixth in old money) have become YOPEY Befrienders at Leawood Manor, Runwood Group's care home in West Bridgford, Nottingham.

In these photographs, taken by members of Rushcliffe Photographic Society, five YOPEY Befrienders chat with residents. They are Maryam Salamat, Mariam Bello, Payam Soleimani-Nouri, Sophia Hashmi and Olivia Scotney

The photographers have also taken some lovely portraits of young and old...

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