Local community work recognised at SCNI conference
Published: Thur, 4 Nov 2010
The Breezemount Community Association was one of 35 local community groups featured at a recent conference held to promote the work of community groups throughout Northern Ireland.
The conference was organised by Supporting Communities Northern Ireland (SCNI), while the Housing Executive provided support. Our District Housing Community Networks co-ordinate the work of over 450 community associations throughout Northern Ireland.
The Breezemount Community Association’s inter-generational project brought together young people between the ages of 7 and 15, and a number of older residents to encourage mutual respect and understanding. This was achieved through a range of activities carried out over a number of weeks.
Anne McCrea, the project worker who developed and ran the programme, explained: “We thought some drinks and snacks would break the ice when the group came together for the first time, but the real fun started when Christmas came into the conversation. The lists that the young people had for Santa were mind-boggling!
"The project offered opportunities for older folk to talk about how they ‘made do’ when they were young, sometimes getting the same toy dressed or repainted year after year. They explained to the fascinated young people how they made their own stilts and walkie-talkies from empty tins of beans and bits of string and how they played hopscotch with a stone and a piece of chalk.
"The young people were amazed at how the older generation entertained themselves with activities such as ‘French Skipping’ and ‘playing shops’ with empty cigarette packets collected from the streets. They were determined to give some of these play ideas a try. In turn, the young participants taught the older participants how to ‘surf the net’, send emails to family members abroad and send text messages on their mobile phones.
"This project was extremely successful in breaking down barriers and addressing feelings of fear between the two age groups. The community association intends to continue to develop the project with further activities such as dancing lessons and a cookery and tasting event with demonstrations from both age groups.”