A group of primary 6 pupils at a Ballymoney school have been learning how to play traditional board games and knitting during weekly visits to residents of Cramsie Court, an independent living scheme in the town.
The pupils of Ballymoney Model Integrated Primary School have been visiting residents of the scheme every Friday afternoon to play games like Ludo and draughts and learn how to knit, while also chatting over juice and biscuits and getting to know each other.
Barbara Hall, Scheme Co-Ordinator at Cramsie Court explained how the Friday afternoon meetings began:
”We had done some training with Linking Generations NI earlier this year, where we learned about how different age groups can really benefit from each other’s company. I was keen to involve the local primary school as they are located just round the corner from Cramsie Court. When I contacted the school’s principal, Mrs Julie Jamison, she was really enthusiastic, and so we arranged the first visit in October.”
“At Clanmil we want older people to stay independent for as long as they can and we are always looking for activities that give them a chance to socialise and keep their minds active. This initiative has been so beneficial for residents, and there’s a real buzz in the common room when the children are there.”
The young visitors are looking forward to their new friends coming to see their Christmas play in a few weeks and they plan to continue their weekly visits into the new year.
Mrs Julie Jamison, Principal of Ballymoney Model Integrated PS was very keen for the pupils to meet and get to know the residents:
“Our school’s strapline is ‘Learning Together’, and this project helps us take that one step further by encouraging some of our Year 6 pupils to get to know the people who live in the community near our school, and learn from them. The children are really enjoying their visits to Cramsie Court, and they are picking up useful skills, like problem solving and concentration, as well as having fun. Thank you to the residents for being so welcoming and to the children (and their parents) for taking part so willingly.”
Kathy Murphy who has lived at Cramsie Court for just under a year, said she really enjoys the weekly visits:
“It’s very good for the children and for us residents. It’s good for us to mix and to show the children our skills like knitting and playing games. I’ve been teaching one of the wee girls knitting and she’s getting on very well. We’re invited to go up to the school and see their Christmas play, so we’re looking forward to that.”
Vicki Titterington, Director of Linking Generations said:
“We are so pleased to see links between Cramsie Court and Ballymoney Model Primary develop following Linking Generations NI training and the friendships between the p6 children and residents are just lovely. It’s a great example of two generations in the same neighbourhood learning from each other and enjoying each other's company and we look forward to seeing what they do next. Taking an Intergenerational approach can really add value to existing work and in this case supports education, promotes social inclusion and is great fun! We would encourage anyone who’s keen to set up an intergenerational project to go for it!”
Cramsie Court is one of 33 independent living schemes owned and managed by Clanmil Housing. Each resident has their own apartment but has the peace of mind of a 24-hour emergency call system should they need it. A Scheme Co-Ordinator is on site to provide help and support and to arrange activities and days out.