Befriender '17

YOPEY Befriender

Young people supporting the elderly in care homes

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YOPEY Befriender enters its 4th year

YOPEY Befriender grew greatly in the autumn of 2016. We started new schemes in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk – see stories below – as well as recruiting new YOPEY Befrienders for our established schemes in Watford, Nottingham and Bury St Edmunds.

We also trialled a new style of YOPEY Befriender scheme for younger pupils with Year 10s from Watford Girls Grammar going into a care home for a half-day introduction to YOPEY Befriender in the hope that they will want to return regularly when they are sixth-formers.

YOPEY founder Tony Gearing was so inspiring at the girls' assembly that over 90 out of 150 girls asked to take part in this scheme and YOPEY is organising five half-day visits to Runwood care home Greenbanks to accommodate so many volunteers.

We also did the same trial with 20 Year 10s from All Saints Catholic Academy in Mansfield, Notts, going into local Runwood care home Maun View. They enjoyed the visit so much that they have volunteered to go back and help with the care home's next party for the elderly residents.

Over 70 teens take part in first introduction afternoons

Words: Daniel Hartropp • Photographs: John Flynn

On four Friday afternoons more than 70 enthusiastic 14-15 year-olds from Watford Grammar School for Girls visited Watford’s Greenbanks care home in Leadbetter Drive, to learn how to befriend elderly people living with dementia. This is the next step in the ‘YOPEY Befriender’ scheme which the charity YOPEY (Young People of the Year) has been trialling for four years.

YOPEY Befrienders are usually sixth-formers, aged 16-19, recruited to visit residents

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'Enlightening, eye-opening and emotional'

Reaction of Tej Raval, 15, to taking part in an introduction to YOPEY Befriender 

Enlightening, eye-opening and emotional. These are the sort of words and phrases I would use to describe our visit to Greenbanks Care Home when we took part in an Introduction to Yopey Befriender.  

I found out about this opportunity from seeing a poster near the care home and how lucky it was that I did. When we arrived we met other young people taking part from our sister school, Watford Girls’ Grammar.

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Relatives of people with dementia praise YOPEY Befrienders...

A scheme linking young people with care home residents is revolutionizing the way each generation sees the other.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society the UK now has 850,000 people with dementia, with numbers set to rise to over a million within 10 years.

The pioneering YOPEY charity recruits and trains young people to befriend elderly people with dementia and supports them in care homes to befriend lonely residents. Its YOPEY Befriender scheme, which has grown from two care homes and three schools to over 20 care

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... and what the elderly residents did in the past

Doris Lion had a hard upbringing and was one of four children brought up in tenement buildings built for railway workers, behind St Pancreas station in London.

“When mum was six, her dad had gum disease and the dentist took all of his teeth out. He felt unable to take any time off work, so went straight back in the afternoon. And he fell from the cab of the stream train after having a heart attack and died. Whether than was brought on by having his teeth out we don’t know.”

“She was a lovely mum. She

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Second year of befrienders start visiting residents at St Peter's

Twenty teenagers from two Bury St Edmunds schools have started volunteering at a care home in the town as ‘YOPEY Befrienders’.

YOPEY Befrienders are young people who volunteer to visit elderly people with dementia to ease loneliness. YOPEY stands for Young People of the Year and is a charity based in Newmarket, Suffolk, that runs YOPEY Befriender schemes nationwide.

The 20 year 10 pupils from County Upper and St Benedict’s secondary schools are visiting residents of St Peter’s House,

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Party funds! Waitrose cheque for Nottingham befrienders

Two YOPEY Befrienders from Rushcliffe School went to Nottingham town centre to collect a donation from Waitrose to the scheme where they and more than 20 of their sixth-form colleagues are volunteering in a West Bridgford care home.

Serena Norman-Thomas, left, and Jack Scott, right, were presented with the cheque for £145 by Waitrose community champion Bernie Howitt, centre, who works in the Waitrose store in Trinity Square and organises the monthly green token scheme.

Shoppers are given green tokens as they pass through

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Sudbury befrienders put on first outing in years for residents

A group of young volunteers arranged for four disabled women from a Sudbury care home to see their school musical.

The ‘YOPEY Befrienders’ from Ormiston Sudbury Academy organised the first night out ‘in a year’ for Mavis, Margaret, Dorothy and Joy, all of whom are in their 80s and use wheelchairs.

The Suffolk charity YOPEY gave the sixth-formers £50 to pay for a special wheelchair taxi to take the elderly women and carers to and from Catchpole Court care home in Walnut Tree Lane to their

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Founding Watford schools' 4th generation of YOPEY Befrienders

A scheme that recruits young people to visit unrelated residents in care homes – many with dementia – has recruited a record new generation of volunteers in Watford.

The YOPEY Befriender scheme started in Watford over three years ago and has expanded to Nottinghamshire and East Anglia.

The two original schools continue to be involved. Sixth-formers from Francis Combe Academy and St Michael’s Catholic High have been trained to relate to elderly people with dementia. Ten 16 to 17-year-olds from

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© YOPEY registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales as charity number 1145573
Registered with the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales as company number 7751145

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