A HIGH school in Pontypool took the next step towards becoming a dementia friendly school after inviting members of the community in for a Christmas choir performance and bingo morning.

St Alban’s RC High school staff underwent training to help support people affected by dementia last month, and the school were keen to extend the training to the pupils as well.

Residents from Plas y Garn residential home joined students for a festive morning of Christmas carols, mince pies made by the students, and bingo.

Richard McLennan, additional learning needs co-ordinator and assistant associate head teacher, said: “We are making every effort at the moment to become a dementia friendly school.

“It’s an initiative that we looked into starting last summer, and we have worked towards getting here this term. Our staff are all now dementia friendly trained.

“It’s really beneficial for the students, because they are working with people here now within the community who suffer with dementia

“Many of them will have relatives or friends of the family who could be facing some of the challenges that some of the people we have here today are.

“It’s a benefit for them because they are getting experience of being with people who are suffering in this way, but also, there is the benefit for the people who have come along today.

Hopefully they will enjoy what we are putting on today, because it gets them out of their care home and it gets them interacting with young people.”

94-year-old Gladys Jefferies, whose great-granddaughter goes to the school, said: “I’m looking forward to the event.

“We had a good welcome coming in and I’d like to thank the school for involving us.”

Ada Woodman, aged 98, said: “It’s a wonderful event. Thanks to the school for inviting us.

“It’s great to talk with the children as well.”

Head teacher Stephen Lord said: “We are pleased to welcome members of the community in to school.

“It’s our first event with the community since our staff training and it puts us on the way to become a dementia friendly school.”