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Bridging the generation gap at Kirkley Manor!

The prospect of lazy summer days might seem great to begin with but teenagers can quickly become bored during the long school holidays.   However, one group of youngsters from Lowestoft and Beccles has found the perfect way to keep busy and make new friends while improving the quality of life for elderly people in their community.   The 15 and 16-year-olds are working on a two week project to create a memory garden at Kirkley Manor Nursing Home, in Kirkley Park Road, Lowestoft.   After raising more than £240 by running a tombola in the town centre and setting up a JustGiving page, they have designed their garden and set to work building it.   The project is the culmination of a four-week National Citizen Service programme organised by the charity Inspire Suffolk, which aims to motivate young people towards a more positive future.   Inspire project leader Jade Anderson said: “The young people were recruited for the scheme by us visiting schools and local youth clubs. Our ethos is to create a varied social mix with a lot of different backgrounds.”   Following two weeks of team-building during which time the teenagers were given the opportunity to take part in activities such as canoeing and abseiling and to learn employability skills, they have been based at Colville House, in School Road, Lowestoft, for their project.   Miss Anderson said: “Roy Fern, a former Ipswich mayor and a dementia champion, gave us a talk about dementia and becoming a dementia champion and it touched many of the young people quite personally.   “After speaking about the issues, the group decided they wanted to create a safe area that people with dementia could enjoy and they chose Kirkley Manor to do it.”   The garden will have sensory elements such as wind chimes and plants with rustling leaves and a theme of “Inside Out”, bringing indoor objects such as a bookcase outside to create a homely effect.   One of the youngsters, Hannah Mensah, 16, who lives in nearby London Road South, said: “It is a nice thing to do for my local community before I go off to East Norfolk Sixth Form College.”   Dani Gaston, manager of the Kingsley Healthcare run home, said: “It is a wonderful project and creating something our residents will really appreciate.”

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