Big-hearted pupils from Drummond Community High School have been working with two local care homes to bring happiness and companionship to elderly residents, writes Susan Lambert, a principal teacher at the school.

The S5 and S6 pupils have been visiting Porthaven and Clermiston care homes regularly over the past year to socialise and interact with the older people.

And the group of youngsters have been working on developing social activities in the two homes – such as bingo events for elderly residents who are blind and deaf.

The aim of the project is to get the pupils to interact with older people, improve things for them, and show people what teenagers are really like.

Now, the project is to be rolled out into next year, with more pupils taking part in the scheme.

Satveera Singh, an S5 pupil, said: 'Working with the elderly has been such a rewarding experience. Listening to their amazing stories from how they were brought up to how life has changed for them. It was good to bring a smile to the residents' faces, letting them socialise with new people and having a laugh.'

Josh Duffy, also in S5, said: 'This experience has taught me a lot. As a group we’ve all grown more independent and it has hopefully broken the stereotypical view people have of young people our age.'

Margaret Laurenson, a resident at Porthavan Care Home, said: 'They have been a very welcome group of visitors.  We really enjoyed their company and activities. They came round and spoke to us all and have been very pleasant.  The students have done very well.'

Another resident, Priscilla Beaton, said: 'I think it's very nice of the students. It's been much appreciated.

'There are a lot of people their age who wouldn't be bothered coming in to an old folks home but it's been very nice of them spending time with us.'

Councillor Paul Edie, Health and Social Care Leader at City of Edinburgh Council, said: 'This has been a unique project, bringing together the young and old for a really good cause. Not only have the pupils gained a lot of experience and heard the life stories of the older people, the care home residents have also benefited from their smiling faces and great company. I am glad the scheme is being continued next year.'