Last week’s BBC Songs of Praise episode featured a school play as an innovative way to combat loneliness and spread joy within the community at Christmastime.

Primary school pupils and a care home worked together to produce a dementia-friendly nativity performance.

Pupils from West Rainton Primary School took part in a heart-warming and innovative collaborative Nativity play with older adults who are residents at Springfield Lodge Care Home, part of Ascot Care, in West Rainton.

As well as learning their own lines, the children have been supporting the residents, most of whom are living with dementia, to read and perform in the play alongside them.

This has led to fantastic positive relationships between the two generations and the benefits of working like this are clear for both groups. The residents show renewed energy and spark when the children are with them, communicating about their past and sharing skills such as knitting and crochet with the children.

For the young people, they have grown so much as empathetic members of a cohesive community, not afraid of ageing and proving that anyone can live well with dementia.

Each pupil has at least one very close connection to one of the residents whom they affectionately call their 'grandfriends'! The children have become Dementia Friends and used their new knowledge and skills to reassure and support the older people with their communication, organisation and confidence. They also enjoy a song and dance together!

The school has also been raising funds for Alzheimer’s Society through donations making cards for Elf Day and also through fundraising from the nativity. 

Watch the Songs of Praise episode on BBC iPlayer here: BBC iPlayer - Songs of Praise - Sharing the Joy of Christmas