Working together

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Make, bake and create is the name of a project designed to encourage the older and younger generation to work together and bring the community closer.

Building bird boxes, cooking and getting crafty were just some of the weekly projects set up to encourage interaction.

Groundwork Derby and Derbyshire have just completed the scheme working with people in Cotmanhay.

The project, funded by Erewash Borough Council’s Community Safety Team, invited volunteers from the Ilkeston Neighbourhood Watch group, to work with a group of young people from the Ormiston Enterprise Academy (formerly Bennerley Business and Enterprise College).

For five weeks students and volunteers turned up at the Cotmanhay and Ilkeston Adult Community Education Centre after school.

Jazmin Tomlinson said: “I have really enjoyed the project and liked building the bird box and doing the art work. I have learnt how to measure and was able to help teach someone else how to cook homemade burgers, I loved it.”

Gill Riley said: “As one of the adult participants from Neighbourhood Watch, I thoroughly enjoyed the Intergenerational Project.

“I believe the young people did, as they were very engaged, to the point of total absorption in some activities. We did a wide variety of crafts and cookery, for short enough periods for them not to get bored, but to still produce something to take home with them to show and discuss with their families.

“Cooking was particularly well-received, by the helpers and the children, and eating the end result was a shared experience when we could chat. As we made things, I saw this as an opportunity to chat about school, friends, teachers, and family and so provide a listening service. All the adults would jump at the chance to repeat this programme.”

Community project officer and project leader, Jo Perkins, said: “The project’s aim was to allow two very different aged groups to come together and spend some quality time, aiding cohesion and breaking down issues related to generational divides within communities.

“It allowed both groups to pass on skills to the others in the group enabling both teaching and learning for all participants.

“Activities involved in the project included various cooking sessions, making Christmas wreaths and using wood working skills to build a bird box.”

By taking simple tasks and encouraging the two groups to work together a bond was built and community spirit started to shine through.

Jo added: “This very successful project received excellent feedback from all participants and proved to achieve its aims of integrating the two groups to work well together and swap skills.

“Both groups have gelled really well and it was lovely to see the different ages being given the opportunity to work together.

“I’ve met some fabulous local people who are keen to work with others to create a better sense of community and involvement for all.”