Laughter is the Best Medicine
Speaker's School Action Award 2018.
What were the aims of organising the campaign, event or activity?
The newly elected St Francis de Sales school council discussed what projects they wanted to deliver during the academic year and decided to consult with each class on what the school council should focus on during the year .
This involved each individual class discussing what they believed the school council should undertake for the academic year. The School Councillors put suggestion boxes in each class and invited children to make suggestions on what the school council should focus.
These ideas were then discussed in the school council meetings, with each school councillor discussing the key idea from their individual classes and it was decided the St Francis de Sales school council would organise Tea Parties at North Middlesex University Hospital Older People wards. The key aims of the project were:
The school council wrote to the Director of Nursing at North Middlesex University Hospital and requested the opportunity to visit the Older People Wards and deliver Tea Parties.
The School Council made an application for funding and secured £1000 from City Hall Brighter futures fund and a private company. This money was placed in St Francis de Sales School account and children manage this fund.
The children attended the hospital and spoke to staff and patients as part of their research into the proposed project and decided to focus on:
Drawing with older people
What was delivered as part of the campaign, event or activity? How was it delivered?
The children have delivered four Tea Parties at North Middlesex University Hospital and have a further 10 Tea Parties planned. On average eight older people attend each Tea Party and have they have a range of medical needs.
The Matron in the Older People Wards spoke to the children on what items of food could be purchased. The children had a workshop on Health and Safety, Infection Control and Mindfulness.
The older people requested opportunities for singing and art. The children selected the menu choosing food items that were free from nuts and noted the allergies of the older people.
The children researched songs older people would enjoy and produced lyrics in large prints in songs like Yesterday, When I am 64 and Knees up Mother Brown. These lyrics were given to all the older people to keep during the Tea Parties.
What was the impact of the campaign, event or activity? How has it encouraged others to engage with the UK Parliament?
The children have a better understanding of the NHS and Social Care and have organised an Assembly for the whole school explaining what they have undertaken in delivering the Tea Parties at North Middlesex University Hospital.
The school council have written to their MP Right Honourable David Lammy, and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care the Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt MP; requesting consideration of the Government supporting and extending the initiative.
The School Council believes the project they have initiated should be replicated with local schools linking up with Hospitals in their proximity. St Francis de Sales School Council have invited other schools to visit the Tea parties at the Hospital.
The St Francis de Sales School Council have owned this project and have been at the centre of this project from its inception. The children came up with the name “Laughter is the best Medicine” and are extremely proud of this project.
North Middlesex University Hospital employs over 3000 staff and many of our children were born at the Hospital. In addition many of our children have parents who work at the Hospital and during the Tea Parties they attend the ward and join in the singing and art.
Although the primary aims was focused on the intergenerational project to reduce impact of loneliness, the unexpected factor was bringing together children and older people from different ethnic backgrounds together in a positive project.
The St Francis de Sales School Council Tea parties are now well established features in North Middlesex University Hospital. A private company has agreed to fund the project when the initial funding ends at the end of 2018.
This initiative has enables the school council to deliver an exciting project and increase their understanding of Health and Social care and at the same time reduce the impact of loneliness on older peoples.