Intergenerational connection is at the heart of what we do. By creating interesting arts projects pupils and older people (some of whom are living with dementia) can work as peers to explore and make. As they get to know one another, preconceptions about different ages and generations are challenged and new, positive ideas take their place.
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 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..
Older Participant, Generations United
I think it has given them empathy, when you talk to them they say ‘I’ve really enjoyed it, getting to know somebody else, other than my family’.
There are immediate benefits in feeling part of a wider community and having horizons widened, something that became particularly important during 2020 as many of the older people (particularly those living in sheltered accommodation) were increasingly housebound, but also for younger people, isolated from their friends and wider families.
They’re getting to connect with people. A lot aren’t seeing grandparents or anyone of an older generation so at this point especially this is extremely valuable – this really came through when they watched the video, heard the adults’ voices and gave feedback – this really struck a chord.
Teacher, George Mitchell Primary School
Staying connected during the pandemic
It was a huge success that 12 older people living in supported housing remained engaged when projects became remote over a 9-month period. During this time staff support was restricted due to health and safety regulations and Magic Me invented new and varied ways for older people to contribute artistically, for example working together creatively over the telephone in one-to-one and group calls. Opportunities for older people to continue nurturing their creativity and connect with the outside world was vital at such an isolating time, when visibility of older people has decreased significantly.
Being able to talk to people has picked me up and kept me connected to the community.
Connections between the partners continued to grow despite restrictions to seeing each other in person, building upon the great relationships started in Year 1.
Two of the three remote projects (Our Story, Our Street and The Colours of Us) focused on increasing connections between pupils and residents at Albany Court and Glebelands; we therefore made a conscious choice to work with children who already knew and had previously worked with residents. We saw the benefits of this long-term engagement in the strong intergenerational relationships that formed in spite of not seeing each other in person.
My favourite part of the film was listening to the older people. I liked it because I miss them.
11 young adults (18+) took part in Inside Out Festival (Nov 2019), working closely with residents at Glebelands Extra Care Scheme.
The art we produced on this project has been genuinely experimental and collaborative. I found the team so welcoming and open. Working with the residents has touched me and I hope we’ve impacted their lives positively in return.
Young Adult participant at Glebelands
Four of the young adult participants involved in Inside Out Festival became committed members of the Quality Street Steering Group, set up to assist with planning and delivering We Bloom in July 2020.
If you would like to bring the benefits of intergenerational connection to more people please make a donation here.