A zoom meeting with two younger people and an older person holding up their posessions

Older and younger generations have lots ‘InCommon’

Older people from Basingstoke gained a bunch of fun new pals during lockdown, thanks to the sterling efforts of charity InCommon.

With the aim of bridging generational divides, InCommon paired 11 residents – with a combined age of more than 700 years with 80 seven and eight-year-old school children from Chalk Ridge Primary School and Park View Primary School in Basingstoke.

The residents all live in Sovereign Housing Association’s Bach and Novello and Buckingham Court Housing for Older People schemes.

Children and residents practised their best handwriting as they exchanged letters and got to grips with tech by speaking weekly via Zoom and telephone calls. They enjoyed sharing stories, doing crafts together online and playing games like ‘i-Spy from afar’!

The participants in the programme are now working on a magazine that features contributions from both the schools and residents and will be sent out in March to everyone involved.

Resident Veronica, said: "I really enjoyed today’s call. It’s lovely for the older people who may not have grandchildren and it’s nice for the children to speak to people who are like their grandparents...it works really well both ways.”

Adam, one of the children taking part, said: “I really like doing the calls. It’s fun playing the games!”

Charlotte Whittaker, Co-Founder and Director of InCommon, said: “One highlight of the programme so far has been a visually impaired older volunteer teaching three children how he plays blind tennis and blind football - the children were amazed by this and also loved meeting his guide dog Wagg!” 

Diane Humphries, Community Development Officer for Sovereign, added: “The pandemic made many people feel more lonely and isolated. That’s why we wanted to support this wonderful project of connection, increasing awareness between generations of each other’s worlds, sharing skills and knowledge whilst having fun. 

 “Moving forward we’re going to do more to keep our residents digitally connected – as they’ve all had a taste of how enjoyable and vital that can be.”

Sovereign welcomes applications from groups and individuals seeking project funding, or support in setting up a community group. Please call 0300 5000 926 and ask for the Communities team, or email community.development@sovereign.org.uk