Young and old bridge generation gap at Welcome Centre

PUBLISHED: 08:30 05 December 2014

Little Bear Norman aged 3 shares a book with 101 year old Beattie Farley at the Welcome Centre's intergenerational project. Ref exe 9007-48-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife.

Little Bear Norman aged 3 shares a book with 101 year old Beattie Farley at the Welcome Centre's intergenerational project. Ref exe 9007-48-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife.

Archant

Some of Exmouth’s youngest and most elderly residents have been brought together, with the aim of bridging the gap between generations.

Ronnie Norman and Ashley Haines of Ronnies Rainbows with Angela Boatwright at the Welcome Centre at the start of an intergenerational project. Ref exe 9015-48-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife.Ronnie Norman and Ashley Haines of Ronnies Rainbows with Angela Boatwright at the Welcome Centre at the start of an intergenerational project. Ref exe 9015-48-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife.

Children from Ronnie’s Rainbows childcare spent a morning at the Welcome Centre, based at Morgan Court, which provides day services and activities for over-60s.

The youngsters made mince pies with the seniors, played games and enjoyed finding out more about each other.

Ronnie Norman, of Ronnie’s Rainbows, said they were hoping to return once a month to try different activities.

She said: “Not all children have grandparents or a grandparent that they see often, and I think it’s important to educate them that these generations have seen a lot more than we have seen.

“The delight on the faces, especially of the elderly people at the centre, was so lovely. They absolutely loved it and, if we can bring a union or respect between the generations, that’s good, because the elderly can be forgotten about and the younger generation don’t know anything about it.”

Welcome Centre manager Angela Boatwright said visits like that of the youngsters were very important.

She said: “We would like to be able to break the stereotype that sometimes is associated with the concept of a day centre - that of a room where people sit around drinking cups of tea or playing bingo.

“We aim to be more and bring an innovative concept.

“That is why the intergenerational interaction is one of our main principles - not only for the therapeutic effect that the children have on the elderly, but also for the beneficial effect on the children.”

Angela added that she was also hoping to have visits from older children to the centre, such as from primary schools and Exmouth Community College.

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