Generations come together as part of health project
A GROUP of adults with learning disabilities have been working in partnership with the residents of Roxborough House in Moy on an intergenerational project.
Gareth Hughes, Daytime Opportunities Support Worker, and Eileen Canavan, Community Access Officer, from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, facilitate the group.
Eileen says that two diverse groups have created a joint identity by sharing cultural traditions and values.
“The project promotes inclusion of adults with learning disabilities and with older people who often feel isolated”, she explained.
“The participants talk about life, work, local history and experiences with the residents. The interaction with the residents has enhanced the communication skills and developed the self-esteem of the young people, and fostered friendships between the generations.
“They have developed skills and knowledge to access volunteering opportunities in their local communities at senior citizen clubs, through activities with the involvement of Armagh County Museum and shared interests like storytelling and singing.
“At Christmas the young adults sang carols with the residents and presented CDs on which they had recorded Silent Night and Away in a Manger.”
Rachel McCance, Learning and Outreach Officer at Armagh County Museum, adds: “As part of this project I delivered two outreach workshops. These workshops developed the themes of ‘Homes in the Past and Domestic Life’ and ‘Harvest Traditions’.
“The workshops used the collections of the Museum, such as objects and photographs, to stimulate discussion and the sharing of memories amongst the participants of the project.
“One of the hands-on activities was the making of Harvest Knots which enabled a mixing and working together amongst the groups.
“The sessions were a relaxed, engaging and interesting way for understanding amongst the groups to be fostered while exploring aspects of local history and traditions.
“I have undertaken several projects involving the Daytime Opportunities project and such community work is a key aspect of the Museum’s local engagement objective.”
Vicki Titterington, Manager of Linking Generations Northern Ireland, concludes: “Linking Generations NI commends the work undertaken by Moy Intergenerational Project. It is vital that opportunities are provided to strengthen relationships between generations on a community and organisational level.
“Intergenerational and all age initiatives address ageism and create support networks, promote participation and contribute to building age-friendly communities.
“Today’s ageing society should be celebrated and projects like Moy Intergenerational Project enable people of different ages to do this by having a positive impact on each other’s lives.”
More than 200 people with learning disabilities in the Southern Trust are developing their skills through Daytime Opportunities projects which cover four areas of development: recreational, vocational, volunteering and further education.
The activities form part of a diverse range of age-appropriate day support for adults with a learning disability and are an alternative to daycare at social education centres which is one of the proposals in the government’s Transforming Your Care Review.
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