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.

Conversations for advice on how to make conversation with a person with dementia return to our Home page and click on Befriender in top menu

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Life Story for advice on how to make one for your friend return to our Home page and click on Befriender in top menu

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Youngest YOPEY Befrienders bring care home alive with show

Photographs • Paul Sanwell

Schoolchildren, who have been taking part in a “grown-up” scheme befriending elderly people with dementia, said goodbye to the care home where they have been volunteering for a year.

The year 11 pupils from County Upper and St Benedict’s secondary schools put on an afternoon of activities at St Peter’s House in Out Risbygate for the residents and staff.

The afternoon included playing the harp, readings and arts and crafts. One observer said: “The care

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Teenage YOPEY Befrienders give speeches at national show

Three Nottinghamshire 17-year-olds, who have been volunteering as friends to elderly people with dementia, gave speeches to care professionals at a national show.

The three sixth-formers from Rushcliffe School in West Bridgford spoke at the Care & Dementia Show at the NEC in Birmingham in October 2016.

They were representing hundreds of young people from across England who volunteer in care homes nationwide as ‘YOPEY Befrienders’. YOPEY is short for Young People of the Year and YOPEY Befrienders are teenagers

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Three YOPEY Befrienders raise £7,500 in one day

Three YOPEY Befrienders were invited to attend a big company's annual meeting and help raise money for the charity.

The big company was insurance giant Aviva. YOPEY Befriender won one of the top prizes of £25,000 in the first Aviva Community Fund last year.

As a result YOPEY founder Tony Gearing was invited to attend the Aviva AGM (annual general meeting) in London. The charity was promised £2,500 for attended and invited to pitch to shareholders for a further £5,000.

Tony asked if YOPEY Befrienders could

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Tea with Mayor and rewards for best Befrienders

Photographs • Chris Fell

The Mayor of St Edmundsbury recognised young people who are visiting elderly people with dementia with a VIP visit to West Suffolk House.

Cllr Julia Wakelam invited Tony Gearing, the founder of Stradishall-based charity YOPEY, which stands for Young People of the Year, to bring young people currently volunteering on the YOPEY Befriender scheme in Bury St Edmunds to her parlour at the council HQ in Western Way.

YOPEY Befrienders are young people who are trained to relate to elderly people living

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Veteran befrienders meet elder statesman MP

Photographs by Andrew Wainwright of Rushcliffe Photographic Society

A group of Nottingham teenagers have met a former Government minister to explain how they are helping a small charity tackle the UK’s biggest killer – dementia.

People living longer means Alzheimer and other forms of the condition overtook heart disease as the most common cause of death last year, it has been reported to the Government.

Heart disease was responsible for 11.5 per cent of 529,655 deaths in 2015, or 60,818 people. But for the first time this

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Interviews with Nottingham YOPEY Befrienders

Sixth-formers in Nottinghamshire have been brightening up the lives of care home residents as part of an initiative to help tackle misconceptions about young people.

A group of kind-hearted Year 12 pupils from Rushcliffe School, in West Bridgford, have been giving up their spare time at nearby Leawood Manor care home.

The visits are part of the YOPEY Befriender programme and aim to help bring the generations closer together.

Initiated through the charity YOPEY (Young People of the Year), the scheme sees participating schools

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Rewards for summer befrienders

Cinema tickets and gym passes to be won

Mrs YOPEY has been busy securing treats for YOPEY Befrienders who carry on befriending at care homes during the summer of '16.

For YOPEY Befrienders in West Bridgford there are three pairs of tickets to different cinemas in Nottingham, including The Savoy, Broadway and Cineworld.

For YOPEY Befrienders in Watford there is a 14-day pass to David Lloyd Bushey for a family of four and two pairs of adult tickets to The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Brothers Studios. We may keep one of these until our YOPEY

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YOPEY is making its own film

Photographs by Chris Fell of Cambridge Camera Club

Abi Goulding, a media-production graduate of St John University in York, is making a film about YOPEY Befriender at St Peter's House care home in Bury St Edmunds.

YOPEY founder Tony Gearing plans to use the film is a centrepiece of a YOPEY Befriender Celebration at St John's College, Cambridge, in November.

The photographs of the film-making in the gallery on the left were taken by Chris Fell of Cambridge Camera Club. YOPEY Befrienders are welcome to download any of these watermarked images

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