MANCHESTER DIARY
Benji, 5, helps out at Village

THREE GENERATIONS: Benji Borson with grandmother Ruth Goodman and great-grandmother Muriel Cobb

AN afternoon stroll in the early spring sunshine while pushing a resident in a wheelchair around the Heathlands Village gardens provided a moment of hard work for volunteer Benji Borson.

There are many volunteers who regularly replicate this familiar scene, but the difference is that at just five years old, he is The Fed’s youngest volunteer.

Benji, who visits Heathlands regularly to spend time with his great-grandmother Muriel Cobb, has been a familiar face at the Prestwich care home since he was three.

“He loves coming here,” Benji’s grandmother, Ruth Goodman, said.

“The residents adore him and often asks his mum whether he can go to Heathlands.”

And he is certainly not shy when it comes to pitching in.

“I like coming to Heathlands because I like to work,” Benji said.

“I join in at the Activity Centre with different activities, and I get the residents cups of water if they need.”

As part of three generations who visit Heathlands — together with his parents Georgie and Marc — Benji knows his way around the site almost perfectly.

“When I come to visit, I know where the lift is, and I always press the button for the right floor,” he explained.

“If we’re going to the garden or the café, I lead the way.”

One of Benji’s earliest memories of activities at Heathlands was painting with residents and members of The Fed’s Children’s Centre.

The group was given small garden stones, which were painted in a variety of bright colours and patterns to be used in a pirate-themed treasure hunt outdoors.

King David Primary School, which Benji attends, organises visits to the home throughout the academic year, with Benji joining the next group in June.

“I think it would be fun to hold a Heathlands disco with me as the DJ,” he said.

Ruth added: “It doesn’t faze him at all, and he loves spending time with older people.

“Benji can play outside if he likes and takes part in activities, such as painting and playing pairs with residents.”


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