Manor House Development Trust worked in partnership with Genesis Housing Association on the Age2Age intergenerational programme, funded by HACT – the housing action charity.
Our aim was to build positive supportive relationship between the generations in the Manor House area.
The way we set out to achieve this aim was through an arts project which offered local residents the chance to try creative activities they might not have experienced before. Three activities were chosen to pilot – a pottery class, a community choir and a dance group. The community is rich in cultural diversity and the flexibility of the arts projects enabled people to express themselves and a find news ways to connect with each other.
Approximately 45 residents aged from 5 to 55 participated directly in the project. A much larger number of local people took part as spectators at events. The choir sang at a community event in March 2011, attracting an audience of over 100 people of diverse ages and cultures, as well as a visiting delegation from Germany.
The key outcomes of the project were:
Reaching more residents who have not participated in community activities before; in particular a group of Bangladeshi women and their families whom professionals have found hard to engage.
“Being able to turn a lump of clay into something practical you can actually use is incredibly empowering. The benefits to my health have been extraordinary.”
Thamasin Marsh, see her full interview here
Improved mental health. One example is the tangible benefits for an older white British woman who had become very isolated on the estate through previous experience of harassment from young people. A friend suggested she joined the choir, and in doing so, her confidence has improved over time, she has something to look forward to each week, and she’s making friendships with other local residents.
New friendships between different generations and cultures in the community. Each week, over the course of the project, participants shared something about what had happened during the previous week, praising each others work, giving each other encouragement and sharing ideas.
An increase in skills, knowledge and confidence. Through the pottery session, six volunteers worked for 12 weeks to become trainers leading to a Level 3 Creative Crafts using Ceramics qualification. Participants of all ages have increased their skills, knowledge and confidence. We see skills development as important for empowering local residents to negotiate and play a key role as partners in the regeneration of Woodberry Down.
MHDT and Genesis plan to continue working together to develop and strengthen their partnership. We now promote the values of intergenerational work in all the projects we are involved in.