Sunderland pupils help launch day care centre

Pupils and staff from Bernard Gilpin Primary School at the re-opening of the Princess of Wales Centre in Sunderland

Pupils and staff from Bernard Gilpin Primary School at the re-opening of the Princess of Wales Centre in Sunderland

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Youngsters from a Wearside primary ensured Sunderland charity staff hit the high notes when they launched their revamped day care centre in style.

Pupils and staff from Bernard Gilpin Primary School headed to the Alzheimer’s Society Princess of Wales Centre to mark its official re-opening with musical entertainment.

They sang to people with dementia and their carers as well as staff at the Hylton Road complex, which has undergone a £160,000-facelift courtesy of the Lloyds Banking Group.

Headteacher Andrew Bainbridge, whose school has won plenty of plaudits for its inter-generational work, said the pupils felt ‘honoured’ to be asked to take part in the Alzheimer’s Society red letter day.

“As a school we feel really strongly about creating dementia-friendly communities, so the pupils jumped at the chance of making sure the centre got off to a great start,” Andrew said.

“We want to do our best to make people who have dementia know they are valued members of our community and this was a way of the children showing that they really care about a disease that is affecting more and more families.”

John Patterson, who led the renovation project for the Lloyds Banking Group with a team of volunteers, said he was delighted with the outcome of the work.

“We wanted to leave a lasting legacy and I feel that is what we have achieved for people who are living with dementia in Sunderland,” he said.

“They deserve top-class facilities and I can say with my hand on my heart that is what we were determined to create for people with dementia, their carers and the Alzheimer’s Society team in Sunderland.”

Alzheimer’s Society regional operations manager Hazel Cuthbertson is delighted with the outcome of the refurbishment project, which saw a group of Lloyds Banking Group contractors give up their time and resources for free over a week-long period.

“I saw first-hand just how passionate the Lloyds Banking Group team were to make a positive difference to the lives of people with dementia and their efforts have yielded wonderful results,” said Hazel.

“People with dementia and their carers deserve facilities of the highest standard and now it is fair to say that is what they can expect when they come to the Princess of Wales Centre for day care. The pupils were wonderful as well because they sang their hearts out.’