CHILDREN from a Colchester primary school are learning all about dementia while spreading "joy and happiness", thanks to a special project run by a care home.

The pioneering intergenerational initiative, nicknamed the Archie Project, sees Year 3 pupils from North Primary School connect with residents of Alderwood Care Home, many of whom have dementia.

It aims to educate youngsters about the condition while encouraging bonding between the generations.

Gazette: Alderwood resident Geoff paints with eight-year-old EnidAlderwood resident Geoff paints with eight-year-old Enid (Image: Alderwood Care Home)

Retired headteacher Geoff, a resident at Alderwood, said: "It’s great to see the youngsters, they always bring a lot of joy and happiness.

"The more awareness the children have of dementia, the more compassionate they will become, and the younger they learn the more influence they can have on politicians and other decision makers."

Two classes from North Primary School visit Alderwood each week for their interactive sessions, comprising of mutual storytelling, crafting activities, and conversations with the residents.

Gazette: North Primary School pupil Oli with Alderwood resident MaryNorth Primary School pupil Oli with Alderwood resident Mary (Image: Alderwood Care Home)

The initiative is now in its second year at Alderwood Care Home - which is recognised as 'Outstanding' by the Care Quality Commission - and there are plans for the project to continue in the future.

Michelle Olley, a Year 3 teacher at North Primary School, said: "Each time we visit it is an absolute pleasure to see the interactions between our children and the residents.

"The children like to ask their new friends questions to discover what life was like for them when they were younger.

Gazette: Alderwood resident Sir John Ashworth with Maisie, aged eightAlderwood resident Sir John Ashworth with Maisie, aged eight (Image: Alderwood Care Home)

"It always fills me with joy to see the happiness that these visits create for all involved.

“I hope that we can continue with the project for years to come."