“I like being with young people because it stops me being old,” said 82-year-old Brenda Kershaw, who was taking part in an intergenerational project involving students from Rochdale Sixth Form College and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) residents.
Brenda was one of 30 or so older people from Moss Row and Ravendale independent living schemes who met up with students to share life experiences and teach each other skills from both today and times gone by.
Some of the traditional skills passed on by older participants included knitting, crocheting, laying a table for tea and ‘make do and mend’. The college students in turn challenged the seniors with digital tasks as everyone shared their learning with good humour and mutual understanding.
The most popular part of the project turned out to be simply chatting over a cuppa and learning about each other’s lives.
Nick Vile, Student Performance and Development Leader at the college, said:
“The six week project by RBH was part of their Time Out in the Community commitment to provide social and learning activities throughout the Rochdale area. It fitted in perfectly with the college’s Social Development Programme where we want to improve student social skills and opportunities. It was so rewarding to see everyone – young and old – getting on so well and finding out about each other.”
One of the tasks that the group took on was to knit bees in preparation for the arrival of Dippy the Dinosaur in February. Between them they produced 47 bees to become part of the 500 planned for the display next year.
Social inclusion of older people and intergenerational activity is very important to RBH and the services it provides for older people. It also fits very well with the college’s learning opportunities for students around social development.
The scheme has been a tremendous success in providing more inclusive opportunities for generations to link together through fun and interactive activities. The project will continue in 2020 with another group of volunteers.