Nursery bringing a younger feel to Nightingale home

Old and young are cared for together, with mutual benefit,at a new care home initiative in south London


A pioneering venture which will bring young and old together at the Nightingale care home in south London was formally unveiled on Sunday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a nursery on its Clapham site.

The 30-place nursery — which will accept its first children for the new academic year — is a second branch of Apples and Honey, which has operated since 1991 at Wimbledon and District Synagogue.

It will meet in a renovated building at the bottom of the Nightingale garden, to which a new playground has been added.

Ninety-year-old Margaret Bloom, one of Nightingale’s 200 residents, said the nursery would have therapeutic benefits. “It’s wonderful having children around.”

Her daughter, Jacqui Joseph, considered the inter-generational project “a very Jewish concept. When you were a child, you’d spend a lot of time with older family members — and it’s the same atmosphere here.

“When these residents were children they had the whole family around, especially those living in the East End many years ago. That was their life.”

Apples and Honey principal Judith Ish-Horowicz was joined at the ceremony by Nightingale staff members and the Wandsworth Mayor, Councillor Jim Maddan.

While all Nightingale residents are Jewish, the nursery will be open to children “of all faiths and none”. However, there is a Jewish curriculum and it will close early on Friday for Shabbat.

Non-Jewish parent Rebecca Hassett, whose two children have attended Apples and Honey, cited the nursery’s Jewish ethos as a positive.

“There’s a sense of tradition to it. Everyone’s very caring and considerate and there is a great sense of belonging.

“I would absolutely recommend it to other non-Jewish parents.”

The £500,000 project has been funded partly by a “substantial donation” from an Apples and Honey family.

Stephen Burke, director of social enterprise United for All Ages, believed the nursery — “the first one of its kind” — would help combat “isolation and loneliness” among residents.

“The ongoing interaction will be of great benefit to the residents here. And it’s a great opportunity for the children’s learning and development.

“As a society we can be quite segregated by age. It’s a great way of getting the two to spend time together.”

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