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Intergenerational care village with nursery scoops top award for innovation

Chester is celebrating as its groundbreaking intergenerational care village with integrated children’s nursery has been recognised at the 3rd Sector Care Awards with a win for the work of dementia specialist, Belong, and early years educators, Ready Generations, for their home to both older people and children who live and learn together.

The not-for-profit partners proudly accepted the Development and Innovation Award for The Nursery in Belong Chester, as ceremony host, actress Sally Lyndsay congratulated the teams in front of industry leaders from across social care.  

Since opening in 2022, the City Road village has outperformed expectations, with older residents describing their home as their ‘garden of Eden’, while their relatives note the joy the children inject into village life. Parents of nursery children laud the relationship between the older community and their offspring, citing remarkable developments in the latter’s language abilities, emotional intelligence and social skills.   

Among the many intergenerational experiences that feature in the daily life of residents, tenants and children are shared mealtimes, storytelling, arts, ceramics, exercise, and ‘prambles’ – rambling with pushchairs around the neighbouring canal. Its choir, the Sankofa Songsters, is well-known for its local performances, and a new repair workshop sees residents teaching children how to use tools on a workbench.  

A research nursery, its Mirrored Curriculum Framework has been developed and researched by Ready Generations in conjunction with academics from the University of Northumbria. The charity also works with several other universities to explore the benefits of intergenerational living and to develop a blueprint for the future roll-out of nurseries within older people’s settings, more widely.  

Commenting on the award, Martin Rix, Belong chief executive, said:

“We’re honoured to have our intergenerational community recognised with a 3rd Sector Care Award. Belong Chester and The Nursery in Belong really push the boundaries of social care. After years of research and planning, to see our vision come to life and the relations between customers and the nursery children flourish every day, is something truly special.”  

Sue Egersdorff, co-founder of The Nursery in Belong operators, Ready Generations, added:

“We are incredibly proud to receive this award. We believe what we have created is the way forward for how communities live together and we’re very excited to see what the future holds.” 

Last year, Belong Chester was recognised at the prestigious LaingBuisson Awards with a win for Innovation in Care. Similarly, The Nursery in Belong won accolades, including the International Award at the Generations Working Together Excellence Awards. 

Pictured (L-R): Sue Egersdorff (Ready Generations); Sally Lindsay (actress and awards host); Liz Ludden (Ready Generations); Amie Adams (Belong Chester); Claire Dalton (award sponsor, Social Care People). 

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