Connecting Generations (Playbusters)
The aim of Connecting Generations is to challenge negative perceptions to create mutual respect and a more cohesive community. Playbusters was originally set up to address the lack of good quality, safe play areas for children and young people in Glasgow’s East End.
In response to local need and local parents’ wishes to improve things, Playbusters has developed over the past five years, and in 2009 won a special award. It now includes intergenerational work with a programme to bring the generations together through a variety of fun workshops, visits to places of interest and transfer of traditional and technological skills. The Connecting Generations programme was established with funding of just £1,000 from the Standing up to Antisocial Behaviour Award. The aim is to challenge negative perceptions and, through positive dialogue, to create mutual respect and a more cohesive community.
The project takes the form of traditional workshops, art, heritage and environmental projects, visits to museums and places of interest, especially those that stimulate discussions about differences and common areas of interest, such as the Scotland Street Museum and the People’s Palace. Workshops take place in schools, community centres, youth clubs, community gardens and ‘Andy’s allotment’, in partnership with learning staff, housing associations and community groups (including PAGE – Pensioners Action Group East). From these small beginnings, the programme has now been awarded £294,278 over a period of 5 years. This will enable a full-time dedicated worker to be engaged to roll out the programme to the wider East End.
Many of Playbuster’s other programmes are also open to people of all ages, including the popular ‘East Spanish’ course with participants from three generations. There is also an emphasis on skills sharing, with older adults teaching young people traditional crafts such as knitting, crocheting and carpet bowls and, in return, they learn more about mobile phones, Nintendo and Wii.
Projects are delivered in a number of schools. The initial target was P6 and P7, but they are now also working with P2s on a project called ‘When Granny was a girl’. This work fits well with the Curriculum for Excellence. Projects have also taken place in sheltered housing development, and many residents have now become involved in different ways.
Both older and younger people can often feel that their voices are not listened to and that their views are not taken seriously. Yet when they come together, it becomes apparent the different generations are facing many of the same issues and fears. The success of the project is shown by the number of people who have remained involved, enjoying each other’s company, with older adults enjoying, in particular, opportunities to revisit their own childhoods! There was work to be done initially in breaking down barriers within schools and between different schools. Timing, too, needs to be well thought out and fit in with the school year. However the obvious enjoyment of all is worth all of the hard work.
One allotment holder said, “Although there have been achievements in planting and growing, what has been achieved is the growing of relationships!”.
Other adults said:
“The kids enjoy what they do which makes me enjoy it more.”
“It was lovely to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they realised they could skip.”
“I enjoy meeting people of all ages.”
“One thing I learned is that these are children with adult problems. It gives you more understanding.”
“I loved going to the sheltered housing. Will I get one of these houses when I’m older?”
“When I went home from school, I showed my mum how to knit.”
“It is good when the older people tell us stories. I like it when they tell us about when they were younger.”
“I love going to the allotment with Andy, he is great. He shows us how to plant things and we get juice.”
Helping Hand project
New project in partnership with a youth project during the severe winter of 2010/11:
- picking up shopping or prescriptions
- topping up electricity or gas card
- helping clearing footpaths