Bring down the walls was a 2-year programme funded by The Henry Smith Charity 

It introduced Reading Rooms and a shared decision-making model to a group of six residential care homes in Derry/Londonderry and Omagh. The aim was to develop a sense of connection between care homes and their local communities.

Residents, staff, family, friends, and neighbours were all involved.

Connect with the local community

We tend to see residential care homes as separate from our local communities. Perhaps we don't want to know what is involved in later life care.

Care home residents may also feel detached, particularly if they are now living in an unfamiliar area.

Bring down the walls challenges these negative perceptions and strengthens connections between care homes and their communities.

My Home Life

We linked to My Home Life, a UK-wide initiative that promotes quality of life in care homes.


Volunteer facilitators were a key to the success of our project.

We recruited care home staff as well as friends and family of residents.

What we achieved

Through participation in the enjoyable, creative act of shared reading and conversation, we saw improvements in:

  • Quality of life for residents
  • Decision-making opportunities
  • Feelings of being valued
  • Community involvement
  • Perceptions of care homes