STUDENTS have brightened up a care home providing a bespoke mural for the residents to remind them of trips to the seaside.

A group of eight students from Rivington and Blackrod High School have been giving up their Wednesday afternoons to paint a corridor at Hazelbrook Christian Nursing Home to help residents with dementia.

Head of the art department at the school, Kamal Hussain, said: “The kids are giving up their time after school which I thought was very noble of them, because you can imagine how busy they are with revision and school work.

“Two of the staff also gave up their after school hours as well to supervise.”

A wall of the care home in Albert Street, Horwich, has been turned from drab to fab with the pupils covering it in a bright mural of images drawn from the past of the residents.

Care home manager Alison Harvey wanted to create a focus for reminiscence for the residents as well as brightening up the home.

People living with dementia can struggle to recall recent events and answering specific questions can also be taxing or embarrassing if they cannot remember.

Both the NHS and the Alzheimer’s Society advocate reminiscence therapies to help.

Often a person with dementia can remember their past and offering prompts, like images, mementos or music, can encourage them to share stories from their past.

Drawing on this skill they still hold can help improve their confidence and reminiscing has been shown to boost moods as well.

Often enquiring about school days or holidays is a good place to start says the Alzheimer’s Society.

Mrs Harvey said: “I like the train going in and out of the tunnel and one of our residents, who is a train enthusiast, loves that bit too.

“A lot of our residents have been remembering their holidays, going to Blackpool.

“They will talk about walking down the Promenade and the Golden Mile, the beach huts and the big wheel.

“That’s what they remember.”

The residents spoke with staff, the students and art teachers about their memories of being younger to inspire the creation of the wall.

Mr Hussain said: “They were talking about going to Blackpool and going dancing so it reflects their personalities.”

Students have been visiting the home since around October and Mrs Harvey explained the benefit was more than just the finished product. Friendships have grown up between the residents and the students.

She said: “The residents are secure and they don’t like going out. Even if we have trips it’s difficult getting a coach together.

“A lot on the day don’t want to go.

“But this has brought people in. The residents are comfortable because they’re in their own home.

"The residents can watch the painting, it’s interesting that the students are in each week. Some of the students have been chatting one on one with the residents.

“Some of the students families have been in too to see what they’ve been doing.

“I think sometimes there’s stigma around nursing homes, but a lot of people haven't been into nursing homes."

Mrs Harvey said: “The mental health nurses have been in as well, they have noticed it and been really impressed.

“They said it’s much more dementia friendly ­— the colours are quite muted, the trees are like lavender ­— and research shows us the muted colours are less frightening to someone with dementia.

“The mental health nurses were really happy with it.”

The mural has a few more finishing touches to go and the school and nursing home plan to collaborate in the future.

Mrs Harvey and Mr Hussain both hoped it could become a regular project for each new cohort of year 11 pupils.