New pathway creates even stronger link between school and scheme

Abbeyfields First School pupils and staff and residents at St Christophers House following the Alice in Wonderland song showcase.
Abbeyfields First School pupils and staff and residents at St Christophers House following the Alice in Wonderland song showcase.

Residents at a retirement housing scheme in Morpeth took a trip down the rabbit hole to see a first school’s dress rehearsal following a ceremony to officially open a new pathway between the two sites.

Abbeyfields First School and Anchor’s St Christophers House have organised joint activities and visits in recent years and they are both planning to use the new facility to develop even closer links.

Pictured during the ceremony for the new pathway are, from left, Abbeyfields First School business manager Mairi Gibson, Anchors head of care quality, Rob Martin, and St Christophers House scheme manager David Sinyard.

Pictured during the ceremony for the new pathway are, from left, Abbeyfields First School business manager Mairi Gibson, Anchors head of care quality, Rob Martin, and St Christophers House scheme manager David Sinyard.

Groups of children were invited to put forward a name for the path and the winner was Year 2 with The Olive Branch.

They came up with it after meeting 96-year-old Olive during a recent visit. She has lived at St Christophers for 24 years.

Anchor’s head of care quality, Rob Martin, was present at the ceremony.

He said: “This is a perfect example of how working together can provide great benefits. The development of a physical link between Abbeyfields First School and St Christophers will further develop an already strong community partnership.

“We at Anchor look forward to sharing experiences across the generations for many years to come. I know first-hand the benefit my son (who currently attends Abbeyfields) has had in meeting so many people from the older generation and has been fascinated by their stories.

“Equally, the children at Abbeyfields are fantastic and always put a smile on our residents’ faces.”

After the ceremony, the invited residents, staff and other guests went into the school and watched pupils sing half-a-dozen songs from their Alice in Wonderland show that they are performing for their parents and other relatives this week.

Coun Andrew Tebbutt, county and town councillor for Morpeth Kirkhill and vice chairman of governors at Abbeyfields, said: “This is an innovative and exciting development because the two organisations already know the benefits of bringing children and older people together. They have a lot to offer each other. 

“Creating easier access means there can be greater communication between the children and residents safely. I am so pleased to have been able to play a small part in facilitating the new access, but the real credit goes to the staff at St Christophers House and Abbeyfields First School in having the vision to see the advantages.”