A group of students and staff from Bridgwater and Taunton College have been delighting residents of a local dementia care home with their renditions of Christmas songs old and new, and younger pupils from Northgate Primary have welcomed them to watch the dress rehearsal of their nativity.

Staff at Avalon Nursing Home have been working with the leaders of Bridgwater and Taunton College’s Health and Social Care programme to devise an ongoing programme of activities which will benefit both students and residents.

The students’ first visit of this academic year featured a get-to-know-you arts and crafts session, and the ‘carolling’ visit was the second of the series.

Avalon’s activities co-ordinator, Lisa Priddice, said: “The residents loved the students and staff singing and a lot of them joined in with their familiar favourites.

“The group started with traditional carols including Away in a Manger, Silent Night and Little Donkey before moving on to more recent pop classics such as Last Christmas, Merry Christmas Everybody and Fairy Tale of New York.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to our operations manager, James Marchant, who came in during his week off to play keyboard for the singers.”

James’s wife Claire Marchant, a lecturer on the Health and Social Care programme, said: “We’re keen to visit Avalon regularly because it provides valuable work experience for our students that is highly relevant to their career aspirations, and they thoroughly enjoy it.

“We’re hoping that in the spring they can be involved in developing the sensory garden at the home.”

Residents of Avalon also have strong links with younger students locally, especially those from Northgate Primary School who have been paying weekly visits to the home.

But the tables were turned last week when a group of residents visited the school instead, to watch the dress rehearsal of the children’s nativity play.

Residents Shirley Kearle, Barbara Vermont and Beryl Hawkins were accompanied on the outing by healthcare assistant Fria Cuadra and Lisa Priddice who said the group were “spellbound” by the children’s performance.

Tots from Bridgwater’s Little Montessori nursery are also regular visitors to Avalon and this month that gave residents the chance to indulge in seasonal craft activities together.

Lisa Priddice said: “It allows our ladies and gents to relive their childhood or the days when their own children were small, and they love having little ones in the home.”

Avalon Nursing Home is run by award-winning care providers Camelot Care who also have homes in Plymouth, Wellington and Yeovil