A £10,000 funding win will see a Gateshead primary school become among the first dementia-friendly schools on Tyneside.
Supported by Equal Arts, Harlow Green Community Primary School will run a year-long series of creative intergenerational activities with residents living independently and in care.
The £10,000 cash pot from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All follows a successful pilot with our artists which saw pupils and older people renovating gardens together and documenting their work on film.
Kate Rowe, Forest School Leader at the school in Harlow Green Lane, said: “For many children pride is a new emotion and this pilot project gave them self-worth in abundance. They were able to take positive experiences from the difference they had made to others.
“If that is what we can achieve in six weeks then long-term the project knows no bounds.
“This project is about connecting people of all ages, from our youngest pupils aged thee and four-years-old up to residents in their 80s and 90s.
“There can be a very real risk of older people finding themselves isolated, on the outside looking in and we’d like to encourage them to be a part of and enjoy our lively, vibrant school life with us becoming a truly dementia-friendly school.”
Named Budding Friendships, the upcoming project will see the school extending its links with people living at Angel Court, run by Gateshead Housing Company in Gateshead.
Together residents and pupils will be joined by Equal Arts’ artists for horticultural sessions, hatching chickens and weekly creative activities while capturing their progress on film to form a documentary.
Pupils have previously worked alongside older people living at Wood Green, a sheltered housing scheme run by Gateshead Housing Company.
Dani Giddins, an Equal Arts’ artist who is supporting the project, said: “During the pilot we saw how bringing pupils and older people together to learn from one another can help improve wellbeing and reduce loneliness.
“We are delighted to be supporting the school to develop its creative work helping people living dementia become active members of their community.”