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The Griffin Community Trust

Bringing together medical students and older local residents through a buddy scheme in which each student befriends a resident, who they visit every week.

  • School/Institute/Department: School of Medicine and Dentistry
  • Subjects: Life Sciences
  • Audience: Undergraduates, Postgraduates, Older people

The Griffin Community Trust is a unique charity which aims to promote integration between medical and dental students and the elderly residents that live within the local community, at the Shaftesbury lodge. Barts and The London students living at Griffin House each befriend an elderly resident, who they visit every week. In addition, various group excursions are organised by the students which the elderly are encouraged to attend.

All of the Shaftesbury residents are elderly. Many moved to Shaftesbury Lodge following a serious life event, such as the loss of a carer and loved one or a significant deterioration in health. As such, many Shaftesbury residents are at risk of loneliness, social isolation and further stressful events because of the stage of life they are in. Having a student visitor is one means of enhancing community participation for both the Shaftesbury resident and the Griffin student.

The Griffin students derive enormous pleasure from discovering the wealth of knowledge passed on from the residents which gives a great cultural perspective. For some students and elderly residents, the befriending scheme provides a link to a group with whom they would otherwise have little or no social connection. Whether sharing war stories or talking about the latest goings on locally, students and residents always find something interesting to talk about. What is more, there is a great sense of friendship between those involved. It is for this reason the Griffin Community Trust is considered a unique project, helping to prevent social isolation, which is ever present in our aging population and promoting a sense of community.

With it’s high success, The Griffin Community Trust was awarded The Richard Garriott Award for best public engagement activity.

If you're interested in joining the Trust as a student or resident, have a look at the The Griffin Community Trust website here.

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