Lower Sixth Former Joba Thomas used his spare time during lockdown to create an inspiring and heart-warming initiative to support the mental wellbeing of elderly people living in local care homes.  

Lockdown restrictions forced thousands of elderly care home residents, many of whom suffer from dementia, to stay inside their homes, isolated from the outside world. Joba came up with a solution to help ease their feelings of loneliness and combat boredom, as part of a social entrepreneurship challenge issued by the school.

Joba told us, “Many, including myself, believed that the UK Government had failed to provide enough support for care homes during the pandemic, and so I began thinking of ways that I could make a positive difference. Upon doing some research, I built on the idea of sending board games to the elderly in care homes in my local area. Board games are proven to be fantastic for keeping dementia patients mentally stimulated, and are scientifically proven to slow the rate of cognitive decline at an old age.”

Joba focused on his local area of Hemel Hempstead and some nearby towns, and arranged for board games, garden games and card games via Amazon, to be sent directly to care homes to help them keep their elderly residents motivated and active during the lockdown.

The project was funded by Joba’s fundraising scheme. He set up and marketed a GoFundMe page, which, thanks his smart marketing skills, soon saw donations rocket to £455.  

A total of 43 games were donated to 14 care homes – five of those care homes were in Hemel Hempstead, seven in St Albans, one in Kings Langley and one in Chesham. Overall, a grand total of 691 elderly care home residents benefited from his project.

While the initiative has now come to a close, Joba reflected on his time and told us, “I have learned many things during this project, such as how to confidently and effectively communicate with management, how to budget and also how to organise large amounts of information on Excel to allow a project to run in a smooth and coherent manner. Above all, I have learned how much of a difference someone can make, even when confined to one’s home.”

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