Shoreham children work with Age UK club members for intergenerational project, encouraging conversations

Shoreham schoolchildren and members of Age UK’s Adur community clubs have been building friendships to encourage conversations between different generations.

The three-month project for year-five pupils at Swiss Gardens Primary School culminated in a community tea party at the school on Friday.

Bianca Donnelly, founder of Great 2 Create, right, Lis Telcs, teacher at Swiss Gardens Primary School, left, and Peter Hornsby, co-ordinator of Age UK West Sussex's Adur Community Clubs, centre, with year-five pupils and their guests at the community tea party

Bianca Donnelly, founder of Great 2 Create, right, Lis Telcs, teacher at Swiss Gardens Primary School, left, and Peter Hornsby, co-ordinator of Age UK West Sussex's Adur Community Clubs, centre, with year-five pupils and their guests at the community tea party

Bianca Donnelly, founder of Great 2 Create, set up the intergenerational project with the help of crowdfunding through the Community Initiative Fund run by West Sussex County Council.

Working in partnership with the school and Age UK, she organised various sessions for 16 children, aged nine and ten, where they could mix with older generations, play games, make things and chat over tea and biscuits.

Bianca said: “I decided I wanted to try to make a difference and enrich our community through art and design. It is all about reducing loneliness, trying to make the community thrive and bring people together.

“One of the reasons for doing this project is because now, everyone is on their tablet, their mobile or their computer, the art of conversation is being lost. We wanted the children to be able to have a conversation and show them what life used to be like.

“We have done sessions in the school and sessions hosted by Age UK at the Shoreham Centre, where they chat, drink tea, play Scrabble and have conversations, talking about what life used to be like and what life is like now.

“It is just really nice to bring communities together. I find that life can be quite fragmented. We don’t have conversations like we used to these days.”

Thanks to the project, one of the Age UK club members is now working with the children in school as a reader twice a week.

Peter Hornsby, co-ordinator of Age UK West Sussex’s Adur Community Clubs, said: “It has been a great project between the younger and older generations. It has helped break down a lot of barriers. People are talking to others of all ages and having fun at the same time, and it seems to have worked.”