A GROUP of excited children read books, ate cake and played with care home residents on Friday.

Outnumbered two to one, the 12 residents from Tallis House, Waltham Abbey were inundated with little ones and their parents from Hillhouse Primary School.

Every week the pupils visit their elderly friends, through a scheme that also involves Sacred Heart Baby and Toddler group, Abbots Langley Primary School and Harlow scouts, cubs and beavers.

Sarah Pettit, dementia services manager, said: "One of the parents said to me that one of the children had really bonded, and they wanted to come and see what resident had made such an impact on her daughter.

"Some of the residents who are more reluctant to come out of their rooms have been really looking forward to the session when they come in."

Tallis Houses residents have also been forging connections with secondary school pupils from King Harold Academy in Waltham Abbey.

Ms Pettit added: "We will be starting a pen pal scheme and watching sporting fixtures, where the residents go down and see them play sport.

"The pen pal scheme is part of the curriculum so it benefits them as well.

"It is not just about what the community can give us, but what we can give the community."