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Arts project links old and young through play

Howard Middle School have had Intergeneration Reminisces: For 10 weeks, members of the over 60s club have been talking to children in the school about their experiences,
from left Emily Smith, Ernie Broom, Lauren Curry, Roger Ballam

Howard Middle School have had Intergeneration Reminisces: For 10 weeks, members of the over 60s club have been talking to children in the school about their experiences, from left Emily Smith, Ernie Broom, Lauren Curry, Roger Ballam

For nine weeks, members of the Howard Estate over-60s club have worked in partnership with pupils from Howard Middle School, in Bury St Edmunds, on an intergenerational arts project.

Together, the two groups produced a series of art projects based on their discussions and shared memories of play.

In earlier ‘reminisce’ sessions, they played games together, shared old photographs and used objects to stimulate memories.

“The emphasis was to get the older people speaking about how they played as a child, to compare with the children’s experiences,” said Hayley Field, co-director of Suffolk Artlink, the organisation that developed and managed the scheme.

In later ‘animation’ sessions,’ the groups used video cameras and computers to manipulate objects and animate their memories of play.

Ernie Broom, founder and committee member of the over-60’s club, said: “Those kids were a pleasure to work with. They looked after us and taught us things.

“What a wonderful experience it was to meet such lovely people - they’re a credit to their school, their parents and a credit to themselves.”

He said as a youngster he cycled, and played cricket and football in the streets, but that children nowadays spent ‘a lot of time on their computers and telephones’.

“Play’s different all together but the kids are basically the same, looking for good things to do and experience,” he said.

On March 22, there will be a film screening at the school of footage taken during the animation sessions.

A booklet produced of the reminisce sessions will also be handed out.

Mr Broom, who plans to attend the screening, said: “That will be a very special day for all of us. There’s close relationships built up between the two groups. Already we miss them.”

The intergenerational project, which spanned a total of 12 weeks, including three weeks of training with the children, was jointly funded by Suffolk County Council’s Transforming Suffolk Innovation Fund and Havebury Housing’s Neighbourhood Investment.

 

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