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/ 8 September 2013

Intergenerational Celebration at Rossmore Road

Since January this year The Youth Development Project has been working in North Marylebone running Intergenerational Work. We have been working alongside older people from St Paul’s Church Rossmore Road and Year 5 students from Christ Church Bentinck School.

Intergenerational work seeks to find out and address perceptions of young and older people and use the input of the participants to shape the project. It can help to enhance the quality of life of those involved and strengthen communities.

Our project aimed to create intergenerational community cohesion between young people and older people (50+) in North Marylebone by providing mutually beneficial activities which promote interaction, greater understanding and respect.

Over the months a core group of eight young people and five older people met at Christ Church Bentinck every fortnight. In order to build trusting relationships between the different generations we offered fun and creative social activities. This encouraged the sharing of experiences and helped people to develop an understanding of each other’s lifestyles, fears and hopes.

The project concluded with an Intergenerational Celebration at St Paul’s Church Community Centre organised by the core group. All of Year 5 and older member of the community were invited to join in. The core group ran activities including games, art activities and school days reminiscing. Older and younger people worked together sharing stories and helping each other to take part. A few of the older people struggled with the art activity due to poor mobility, but the children made sure they felt included. An older woman shared with the children how she had done the flower arrangements at the Church in the past but was no longer able. The children then drew her pictures of flowers to take home.

The project celebrated the joy that different generations can experience by working together. We also observed the young people grow in confidence over the weeks and the perceptions that older people have of the young were changed and challenged.

A teacher from Christ Church Bentinck said:

“The session used real communication – writing, listening, speaking, reading with others from the community, learning about people of another age and history – so important.”

Jim, from St Paul’s Church, said:

“How we perceive youngsters is different from reality, we are led to think they are wild. Really they are interesting and interested in having good conversations with older people.”

If you are interested in running your own Intergenerational Project in the Church or community please get in touch. The Children’s Society also has some useful guides on how to run Intergenerational Projects in schools or communities.

 

This article was written by Ruth Burgess.


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