The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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October 2019

Henderson Court Age UK Camden Resource Centre, Day Care Centre

Barbara Alden

A Health & Positive Living Hub

As many of you know, Henderson Court is one of the local charities the church
supports. It offers a wide range of activities and workshops as well as being a specialist centre caring for older people with complex care needs, including those with dementia.

They offer a varied programme of activities, every day something different.
These include craft workshops, a knitting circle, music appreciation, chair-based exercise, dancing, singing, board games, quizzes, bingo, and much more.

Once a week there are outside visits from specialists offering individual services by appointment, for which there is an extra charge. These include a hairdresser, an
acupuncturist and someone to give massage. These practitioners are all much appreciated and highly valued.

There are also a range of occasional outings and special events and once a month they have a Tea Party with the Hampstead Women's Group, for an enjoyable hour of tea, cake, hand massage and chat!

Talking of food, there is also a nutritious 3-course lunch cooked daily on the premises.

The main development in this last year has been the involvement of several schools, some very local, some a little further afield, whereby pupils come in and get involved in many different ways.

Here is a summary of their contributions.

Christchurch Primary School
a). Inter-generational Gardening Project
This has involved a group of about 30 children coming to help planting out the front area and create a delightfully welcoming garden. They even donated the plants (Well, I guess that was really the parents – but the children brought them along themselves and did the hands-on work!). They came about 4 times during spring and summer and have transformed the front area. They will come again to continue to help maintain it.

b). Inter-generational Social Project
Every Thursday a group from the school come in their lunch break from 1-1.30pm to chat to the members and take part in art projects.

Northbridge House School
A group of 20-30 pupils come six times a year to give a half-hour concert, which includes a sing-along with the members. Needless to say, this gives enormous pleasure to the members and also engages those with dementia who really come alive with the singing.

South Hampstead High School
Around 8 girls come to the centre every Monday for half an hour, either playing their musical instruments or doing a mini quiz with the members, one girl on each table's team.

The American School in London
About thirty 15 – 17 year old pupils from this school come once every 6-8 weeks for a whole afternoon between October and March. They organise and take charge of the afternoon themselves, with craft sessions and quizzes.

South Bank International School
A group of pupils come 6 or 7 times a year to do concerts for the centre.
They enjoy having an opportunity to perform to an audience and the audience of members absolutely love the concerts.

University College School (UCS)
a). Sixth Form Student Placements
every Friday 1.30 – 3.30pm four 16 year olds spend the afternoon at the centre to meet and engage with the members, listen to their stories and learn about the relevance, and importance of the caring work provided by the dedicated staff.

b). Social Engagement – Drama Project
the Director of Drama at the school came to the centre with about 20 students, to talk to members about what it feels like to grow old in Camden, to face loneliness and what Henderson Court means to them at their stage in life.

They then created a play, 'Pearls' from the information gathered together, and performed it at their school theatre, followed by a highly successful run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Sadly I knew nothing of this play's existence before preparing this report. I would have loved to see the production, at least at UCS, as Edinburgh's rather a long way to go!

However, I have managed to find an article about the project on the internet, in which the UCS drama director, George Roberts, is quoted:

"I wanted to break the stereotypes of age and address the misconceptions that are associated with the elderly. I spent a great deal of time at Henderson Court and was moved by a number of the residents there. I wanted to give these supposedly forgotten people a voice and show audiences that elderly people's personalities still shine brightly."

Clearly Henderson Court is playing a very significant educational r๔le in sharing their experiences with their young visitors, and assisting the young in taking this knowledge out into the wider world.

It also seems that the schoolchildren gain as much enjoyment for themselves out of their involvement, given their enthusiasm and commitment.

As for Hampstead Parish Church's involvement, as well as financial contributions to a very valued local charity, there are the monthly Tea Services the parish leads at the Centre, the Christmas Hampers parishioners contribute to, and the 'Tea at the Ritz' event that the church takes there during 'Holiday in Hampstead' week.
Needless to say, funding is an ongoing struggle, so further donations from individuals are also always more than welcome and much appreciated.

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