YOUNGSTERS from a day nursery are enjoying play dates with a difference as they spend time getting to know care home residents.

Children from Beckers Green School, in Braintree, have been visiting to residents at Great Bradfords House, in Coggeshall Road, this month

The trips see the young and old getting to grips with making greeting cards, decorating cakes and playing with plasticine.

Liz Fleming, from care home operator Abbeyfields, said: "The effect on both the children and the elderly residents has been amazing.

"The children have grown in confidence and the elderly seem to brighten up immensely when the children arrive."

The visits are inspired by popular TV Channel 4 show Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds and have become part of the Livewell Child project.

The project is led by Braintree Council with the county council and Community 360 and it's hoped it can soon include other schools and homes in the area.

Community 360 boss Tracy Rudling said: "We live in a society where care of young and old is increasingly segregated, with very limited opportunity for the two age groups to interact.

"If we just thought a little more socially, however, these 'book end generations' could become great resources for each other - all we need to do is put them in the same place.

"Some of the residents have dementia, but remarkably they do remember the children and have built some lovely relationships with them already.

"The children bring a breath of fresh air into the home and both the children and residents love the activities they do together and look forward to their visits."