LOCAL nursery children joined some snakes, lizards and rabbits for a day with a difference at St Ronan's House this week.

Recent research has found that pre-school children and the elderly can both benefit from joint activities.

The residents at the care home in Innerleithen welcomed the pre-school children on Wednesday for a day of fun and laughter.

And the pensioners can now look forward to further intergenerational visits ever six weeks or so.

Donna Leslie from St Ronan's House explained: "This was the first intergenerational workshop with the local children, who are aged between two and three years, to strengthen our already existing community links.

"We are looking to promote engagement and ties between the very young and our older residents - and this was very much the case on Wednesday."

Recent experiments in Wales and London have found both the elderly and the really young gain mutual benefits from regaulr intergenerational interaction.

And a television documentary, filmed in Caernarfon, highlighted clear benefits for all when they partake in joint activities.

Next month the first care home-nursery shared facility will open in south west London - based on a model that has been successful in many other countries such as the USA, Japan, Canada and Australia, and elsewhere in Europe.

In Innerleithen this week both generations enjoyed the added attraction of a visit from Zoolab.

The residents as well as the children were given the opportunity of cuddling the fluffier pets as well as handling a few snakes and other reptiles.

Donna added: "The first workshop was a visit from Zoolab who brought along a variety of reptiles and other wonderful creatures to create a new experience for all.

"The plan is now to hold other intergenerational workshops ever six weeks with the aim of a positive outcome."