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Young at Heart bridges gap between generations

Students visit Chesterton group

The Young at Heart project has teamed up with St John Fisher Catholic College to collaborate on some intergenerational work that will benefit older people and teens in North Staffordshire.

Together they will look at ways the school can support Young at Heart’s social groups in Chesterton and Cross Heath, as well as how sixth form students can help at the groups.

On 13 March, Mark Porter, Young at Heart project manager, and Jane Johnson, family support worker, spent the day at the school talking to students about our work across the Archdiocese.

The collaboration will see intergenerational work taking place over a period of time. It aims to help students learn about how things were in the past and help older people understand how things have changed now.

Mark said, “There are many differences between the two generations and we’d like to bridge that gap. We told the students about what school was like when our beneficiaries were young – how work was done on a blackboard, how there were no computers, and how different the exams were. And we’ve tried to explain to the older people why the younger generation are always using technology, to help create more understanding.”

Students wrote down how they thought it feels to experience isolation. They also came up with ideas of how to help tackle this. A group of young people also visited the Chesterton group where they enjoyed a dance with the beneficiaries.

Mark intends to take a group of beneficiaries to the school for the students to teach them about the technology used in modern classrooms. Mark says, “This will be a fantastic opportunity to get the younger generation talking more and to give the older generation a better understanding of how important technology is in today’s world. I’d like to thank everyone from St John Fisher for all their support and help, and to Jane Johnson and Jackie Kelsall from the Family Support service for linking our project with the school.”

This isn’t the first time the project has united young and old. It has brought children and older people together for a tea dance, lunch and a Christmas party. This work helps break down barriers and builds an understanding between generations, broadens the opportunities for beneficiaries to spend time among young people, and teaches the students important lessons about inclusion, compassion and Catholic care.

Father Hudson’s provides Family Support workers in primary and senior schools in the Archdiocese. To find out more about their work, visit the Family Support section of this website.

The Young at Heart project reaches out in friendship to build a stronger community for older people in North Staffordshire. Find out more about their work on the Young at Heart page.

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