An intergenerational project is bringing older and younger people in Banbury together to socialise and share their experiences.
With funding from Sanctuary Housing and Cherwell District Council, charity Full Circle has been running sessions with North Oxfordshire Academy (NOA), in Banbury, bringing different generations together to enjoy shared activities.
The sessions at St Francis Church see a small group of older volunteers meet students from NOA to take part in fun and creative activities aimed at building friendships and helping each other cope better with the challenges of youth or older age.
The volunteers are able to pass on their skills, knowledge and valuable life experience, while pupils benefit from the care and attention of new friends and develop their social skills and confidence.
During the sessions the group has painted mugs, played card games and chatted about topics including being a success and how to manage challenging situations. One session focused on a map of Banbury, discussing the places that the different generations like in the town and why.
The project has been a hit with both young and old alike and, following the success at NOA, Full Circle is now recruiting volunteers for a new group starting at William Morris Primary School in the new year.
Kate Winstanley, Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, said: “We aim to support residents to live happy and fulfilled lives and Full Circle is a great way to bring people together to share experiences and learn new skills.
“It has been wonderful to bring people from different generations together and connect them to their local community.”
Ruth Stavris, project manager at Full Circle, commented: “The older volunteers were quite nervous about joining the group before they met the students, but soon found out the young people had been equally unsure.
“The group hit it off very quickly. They look forward to the sessions and feel that everyone is benefiting from the experience of talking to each other.”
Lee Davis, youth development worker at NOA, added: “We have had a good mixture of younger and older people who have all enjoyed talking and having good fun in each other’s company.”
This project is part-funded by Sanctuary’s Community Investment Fund, supporting projects which benefit Sanctuary residents and their communities.
To find out more about taking part in either group, contact Ruth Stavris at Full Circle on 01865 246456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.