children and residents dancing with singer at care home party

The relationship between Balhousie North Inch care home in Perth, and Balhousie Primary School around the corner, has been a long and valuable one: twenty years of an exceptional community partnership, of joint activities taking intergenerational fun to new levels.

In a recent party swap – the residents joined the children in the school one Friday afternoon, and the children popped along to the care home to dance and sing together on the following Friday – Balhousie Care launched a special competition for the children to win a bespoke, tailored kilt, as a commemorative gift to the children before the school closes its doors next spring.

The afternoon was packed with wall-to-wall smiles, sharing homemade biscuits and cakes. Joined by Perthshire singer and musician, Chris White, it didn’t take long before all ages were raising the rafters and taking to the dance floor.

Prior to the pandemic, the Balhousie North Inch residents and the schoolchildren created their very own ‘Balhousie Intergenerational Tartan’ together, bearing the name of both and using the red and white uniform from the school, and blues and greys that feature in Balhousie Care Group colours. The inauguration involved John Fyffe, Deacon of the Weaver Incorporation of Dundee, who presented the care home with the official Scottish Register of Tartans certificate, and weaver Ashleigh Slater, who had worked with the children and residents to develop their ideas into their tartan, in a series of workshops at the care home. The tartan was to symbolise a lasting legacy of the partnership, but plans came to a halt as lockdowns ‘stopped play’.

Home Manager, Diane Cain was delighted to resurrect the plans this month as the tartan finally gets into production with Strathmore Woollen Company in Forfar, and the competition is the perfect way to engage the new classes with the project once again.

All children had to do to enter was to let their imagination run wild and draw a picture to include a kilt (like the prize), a squirrel (like the grey ones that live in the care home’s grounds) and a castle (like Balhousie Castle by the school and after which Balhousie Care was named).

Balhousie Primary sits within a grand Victorian building in the heart of Perth, but, along with North Muirton Primary, will be transferring to a brand new building, Riverside Primary, in April 2023.

Teacher, Katrina, has developed and written an intergenerational module for primary teaching, along with a colleague from Generations Working Together, Lorraine George, giving ideas, specific curriculum aspects to consider, along with physical and emotional considerations. Katrina explained, “The partnership between the home and the school, the children and the residents, has been joyful for all involved, but gives a great point of learning for the children too. It’s been such a longstanding friendship, across many incarnations of primary classes and residents, while the new school is somewhat further away in terms of walking time, we really hope we can continue to come together regularly, as we have done for so many years.”

Once the creations are completed, they will come through to Diane at Balhousie North Inch, who will then engage her residents’ artistic prowess to judge and decide the winning entry. Then the kilt measuring and making will commence for presentation in the autumn!