Generations United – part of Quality Street
Generations United brought together Year 5 boys and adults from Leyton Orient Walking Football Club for 6 weeks through April and May this year with sessions taking place at “The Hub” community space, Leyton Orient FC. Led by artists Ben and Surya the group explored themes of Games, Play and Football. This collaboration was an exciting new venture, bringing creative arts and sports together.
Using the universal themes associated with Games, Play and Football as a starting point, we explored ideas of teamwork, rules, fair play, identity, style, equality, respect, difference, training, hard work, positions on the pitch and supporters in stands. The group considered questions such as, where do we come from? Who are our heroes and who are our role models? What do we mean by leadership? What characteristic do we share with the animals we often see as mascots?
Joining up with The O’s
An ambition of our Quality Street project was to develop new partnerships and intergenerational links within Leyton. This began by discovering what organisations and individuals were already established in the community and finding ways of working together. Leyton Orient FC has been an important part of the community in Leyton since the club was founded in 1881. The club has seen many changes in that time but local support has always been strong. Leyton Orient Trust was set-up as a means for the club to invest in the local community with the goal of using the power of sport to improve life chances. The shared aspiration to make a difference in people’s lives and build stronger communities set the groundwork for a strong partnership between The O’s and Quality Street.
Building a team
Throughout Generations United the group used poetry, drawing and collage to illustrate and exchange their ideas. One activity, creating self-portraits through collage, emerged as a strong visual element to represent the group as individuals but also as a team. This activity was recreated with the whole of Year 5. Each individual portrait formed the basis for a new school mural painted by the intergenerational group.
This was a very enjoyable and rewarding project for us all. We all commented on how polite the boys were and how well they engaged and communicated with us. Interaction between the generations was very natural and the boys gained in confidence throughout the project. We were very impressed with the way the boys spoke of their family roots and their understanding of diversity. We all felt the boys were a credit to their school and their families.
Mick Mullens, Leyton Orient Walking Football Club
As a way of bringing together all the three Quality Street projects, Year 5 have worked with musician and bandleader Sam Alexander to create a school anthem. Across a number of sessions students have learnt to play complex rhythms, forming a percussion band which will play at the Meet the Street festival.
Photos on this page by Magic Me staff and (final two) Samia Meah