The creative initiative sees students from Dunbar Grammar School, ranging from ages 14 to 16 years old, visit Bield’s Southfield Court every Wednesday with their teacher.
The programme aims to encourage young and old generations to come together, get to know more about each other and teach each other new things. So far, this has involved everything from playing snooker and darts to having in depth discussions and debates on a range of topics.
Margaret Keenan, a tenant at the development who regularly takes part in the social group, commented: “The school children have been absolutely wonderful and I always look forward to seeing them when they visit as we have such a good laugh together.
“We believe it is important for the children to understand older people and the challenges we face and vice versa. We are all learning a lot, it is great to share stories, experiences and advice.”
She said: “Bield operate a ‘Free To Be’ policy which encourages tenants to live their life the way they want to while still having the option of support when needed, and the project is perfect for this.
“I think what has been most beneficial for both groups is realising how much they have in common. It’s always great to watch the children and tenants getting along so well.”
“Spending time with the pupils gives the residents such a boost as they love interacting with them and hearing about what life is like for kids growing up these days.
“And I think the project has also been a huge eye opener for the pupils too. They’ve all grown up technology literate and it’s part of their daily lives, so I think they find it quite surprising to hear from a generation that isn’t constantly online or using some sort of digital device.
“We are hoping that this project will continue to run permanently and that more tenants and school pupils will get involved.”
Bield – a registered charity – has grown from humble beginnings, starting out with one housing development in Bo’ness to become a major provider of a wide range of housing and services for around 20,000 older people across 23 local authority areas.
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