Dine, design and a really great time
YOUNG people involved in an employability scheme in Newtownards returned to The Savoy in Bangor to catch up with 'old' friends.
Nicola Thompson, youth worker for the Give and Take Scheme, said:
"This intergenerational project has been really worthwhile as it brings people together from varying ages, that don't always get many chances to interact outside of their own families.
"Many young people, especially those living away from home or without the support of their family, feel just as isolated as some older people do, so it's important to bring both age groups together as much as possible to challenge any fears and form great friendships."
During the sessions the group discussed stereotypes, perceptions of young and old, played bingo and had lunch together. In pairs they also produced artwork mapping their life from birth to present day, each sharing their own very personal story and experiences.
"It was great to hear the giggles from start to finish while watching new bonds formed as they all got to know each other," added Nicola.
"There was even some fierce competition during bingo but all in good spirit, with the winners sharing their prizes out with the whole group.
"We hope to go back again to perhaps do a gardening project, because despite the age difference both groups seem to get a lot out of it."
Retired nurse Fiona McCandless, who has lived in Bangor for more than 40 years, said:
"I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions; they turned out to be a lovely bunch of boys and girls, polite and well-mannered. I was actually in awe of them.
"I liked doing the history of my young days, right up to what had happened today. A lot of detail I actually had forgotten about, the small things, until I sat down with the girl who I was with. She was a lovely girl.
"I've really enjoyed the craic; we've all had a good laugh. It's nice to let you hair down and jolly along with the young generation. I realise that the young ones here today have had problems in their past and they all are coming on tremendously. Everybody can fall down along the wayside, it's how you get picked up again that matters. Hopefully they'll continue on this road."
The project marked EU Day of Solidarity between Generations and was funded by Linking Generations Northern Ireland. Include Youth's Give and Take Scheme provides employability support to vulnerable or disadvantaged young people across Northern Ireland. It is funded by European Social Fund (ESF) and Big Lottery NI.
Give and Take Scheme participant Abbie Crumley, 17, said: "I enjoy the work with the older people because I learned that old people are just like someone of my age. I am looking forward to learning more and changing my mind about older people."
Media enquiries: For more information contact Sharon Whittaker, Communications Officer at Include Youth, on 028 9031 1007 or firstname.lastname@example.org