Intergenerational Week – The Importance of Community

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The importance of community

One of the core aims of Quality Street was to strengthen the connection between George Mitchell Primary School and the wider community.  Quality Street provided an opportunity for the school to become an intergenerational hub linking with a number of organisations working with and/or housing older people.

The greatest pleasure for me was to welcome local residents to work in our school on arts projects with our children, and  for our children to visit local residents in their homes too.  Some wonderful and special bonds have been made …Over  the project, our wonderful school has been enriched further  and an exciting place to be.

Head of Primary Phase, George Mitchell All Through School

It was important to the project to reach a wider community and although the number and type of people we could reach changed as a result of adaptations to the project throughout 2020, we succeeded in reaching 930 people as attendees or audience members through digital artworks such as film and animation and community events (pre-2020); 396 attendees at festival events  & 534 digital audiences.

An original aim for Quality Street was to establish an annual street festival centred around the school. The first Meet the Street Festival  (2019) reached over 300 people and exceeded the school’s  expectations. It contributed significantly to the aim of increasing parental engagement in the first phase of the project. Evidence of this could be seen in the overwhelming response to the call out for  refreshments, which needed six tables to accommodate everything that was baked or donated. Support for the event was widespread, building a strong foundation for the second  year. 

92% of people surveyed said that following the event they felt more part of the community

It helps me to mix, and I think it is a very good idea. I didn’t  know the local area, I knew about the local park […] but I  didn’t know very many people
It was really nice to meet the children’s families at the final  event, now I meet them out on the street and we say hello and I feel closer to the community

Older participants

Five community partners were represented at Meet The Street, including Waltham Forest Community Transport and Waltham Forest  Council. Three intergenerational creative projects fed into the event (Wonderful WednesdaysGenerations United, Our Celebration) in which groups of older and younger people created  artworks which were presented at the festival. Across the three projects lasting connections  were formed. A senior leader from a school in Redbridge with 20 years of experience said she was; 

blown away by the community feel and felt it was one  of the most amazing and worthwhile events [she] has ever  seen organised through a school community.

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