Twenty four children and young people from St James’ Primary School, West End and the Weston Youth Project, gathered at St Mary’s Stadium, home to Southampton F.C., to conclude a months-long intergenerational project.
The project, entitled ‘Memories’, sought to affirm the value of older people in society and communities whilst raising awareness of other issues including dementia.
Memories was launched at the end of September at Wolvesey Palace, home to the Bishop of Winchester. There, the twenty four children and young people paired up to interview twelve older people from St James’s Church, West End. The interviews covered a range of topics including entertainment, films and their school experiences, through to sweets that they ate growing up and games that they played. Following the interviews, each pair was tasked with putting together a presentation based on what they’d heard. These took a variety of forms, from PowerPoints, through to songs and raps.
Last week’s event at St Mary’s Stadium saw the children and young people deliver their presentations to the older people they had interviewed. Over the course of an afternoon, the group reminisced and celebrated these memories. Celebrity guest, Lawrie McMenemey MBE, the FA Cup winning Manager of Southampton Football Club 1973-85, was on hand to present prizes and provide a fascinating tour of the stadium.
Memories, led by the Saints Foundation, the charitable arm of Southampton FC , and supported by the City Chaplaincy in Southampton and the Diocese of Winchester, is being rolled out across Southampton, and potentially further afield, over the coming year.
Jeff Williams, the Diocesan Director of Education, said:
“We want both young and old people to understand and feel connected to on another within a society that is increasingly disconnected. Intergenerational projects such as this have a hugely important role to play and I am delighted that last week’s event went so well. I’m hugely grateful to the Saints Foundation for all that they have done and hope that this pilot project will provide a blueprint which we can now roll out across Southampton and beyond.”
Sam Fulling, Saints Foundation Manager, said:
“Saints Foundation are delighted to be working with the Diocese of Winchester on this pilot project as part of our Senior Saints Programme. It is a great example of celebrating connections between the generations, and bringing these individuals together to share their experiences. We are proud to have been involved and look forward to furthering opportunities to bring people together in future.”
Erica Roberts, City Chaplain for Older People, said:
“This has been an inspirational project, bringing young and old together to discover the common threads that connect us across the generations. Sharing stories has enormous power throughout our lives and particularly for those living with dementia. This project has enabled school children to reflect on some of the gifts and the challenges of growing older and we hope that this will be the beginning of ongoing connections between the young and old in their communities.”