UNLIKELY friendships have been formed at a Kidderminster care home during the first of many visits organised with a neighbouring nursery.

Herons Park Nursing Home has teamed up with Hickory Dickory Dock Day Nursery to bring old and young together for a series of weekly visits.

Julie Read, activities leader at the home, said: "I saw something similar on television about integrating older people with children and we decided to reach out to schools in the area.

"None of them got back to me and then I rang Hickory Dickory Dock and they thought it was a great idea.

Hereford Times:

"Some of our residents have dementia and some don't have families so we thought it would be lovely to get them mixing with the younger generation and to get them more involved in the community again."

The first visit, which took place on Tuesday, saw five three-year-olds select a favourite toy to show the group of 12 elderly residents.

Home manager Alison Morgan-Iqbal said: "You could see straight away that the visit made the residents more animated and they loved playing with the children.

"For those with dementia it allows their caring and nurturing side to come out. The residents loved it."

But its not just the residents who benefited from the visit.

Nursery manager Jade Harris said: "The children have been really excited to go and visit someone else's nannies and grandads.

"They were told to bring something that is interesting to them to show the residents and to give them something to talk about.

"Some of these children are usually quite shy but you can already see this has helped to bring them out of their shells.

"Already you can see that the children are forming bonds with certain residents who have similar interests to them."

Next week's visit will involve the pre-school children bringing story books to read with the residents, and there are also plans for an arts and crafts day.

Herons Park resident, 88-year-old Derek Leech, said: "I've enjoyed it. It's been a nice change.

"We've been playing with the children and it's been nice to watch them play too. William and I have made good friends."