YOUNGSTERS have been bringing cheer to elderly patients at Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

Children from the on-site Tops Bournemouth nursery have been visiting patients in the Fayrewood Ward, an older persons’ rehabilitation ward, as part of a six-week ‘ Generations programme.

Weekly activities include ball games, singing and crafts such as making Easter bonnets.

Patient Eric Mosley said he had formed a genuine friendship with the children and the sessions had taken him back to his childhood.

Fellow patient Delia Miller said: “I just love the interaction with everybody.”

Gemma Brittan, directorate manager for older people’s medicine, said: “The idea came about following a really successful Christmas crafts session, when the nursery children visited the ward. We know there is lots of evidence that suggests interaction between children and older people can not only improve their physical wellbeing, so their mobility, balance and strength, but can also really help with mood and cognitive ability.

“It’s been a lovely boost for our ward team to have some smiley young faces brighten our patients’ day, and the feedback we have had from our patients has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Stacey Nash, nursery manager at Bournemouth Tops Day Nursery, said: “The children have thoroughly enjoyed their visits to Fayrewood Ward and have formed some lovely friendships with the patients.

"The visits have helped the children to learn empathy, compassion and social responsibility which in turn has supported them in understanding and valuing the diversity of patients here at the hospital. We are very much looking forward to future visits to Fayrewood Ward.”

A new six-week summer programme will commence in May.