Mount Vernon Court and Let Youth Lead, a north Belfast youth project, recently joined forces to deliver their own intergenerational event, Linking All Ages.
A project that aims to increase intergenerational social contact in the north Belfast area has held its first event in Mount Vernon. The Linking All Ages project is the idea of Ashton McClean, Scheme Coordinator at Mount Vernon Court, and Sean Montgomery, a Peripatetic Scheme Coordinator at Radius Housing.Through their work in the local area they recognised that residents needed to establish greater social contact with young people from the local area, and set out to create an opportunity that would enable the two generations to come together in a positive environment.
Mount Vernon Court, which is run by Radius Housing, offers apartment style accommodation specially designed for over 55s who want to live independently with the reassurance of 24 hour support. The accommodation boasts easy access to local shops, churches,restaurants and public transport.
The first event of the project was an activity night held at Mount Vernon Court where 13 local teenagers met with 30 residents to enjoy a host of games, a BBQ and live music.A showing of the All Ages promotional film opened the event, and set the scene for an evening of reminiscing and storytelling. The residents and youths each brought with them a treasured item that they could use to tell a personal story that would spark conversation and encourage bonding within the group.
Commenting on the success of Linking All Ages, Ashton McClean, Scheme Coordinator, said: “The joy that both generations received from participating in tonight’s event has been heart-warming. It was lovely to see the participants interact, and both the older generation and youth have asked for the opportunity to meet again. There is no doubt bonds have been established and we plan on building upon this event.”
Sean Montgomery, Community Support Officer at Radius Housing, added: “This event represented a true change in tenant engagement at Mount Vernon Court. The empathy and interpersonal nuances between young and not so young was natural and meaningful. This is only the start of what we hope will be a consistent engagement between the residents and the young people in the community.”
Future plans for more intergenerational events include an opening day at the scheme to boost the uptake of the voids. It is envisaged that the young people will be involved in this event and follow up intergenerational engagements.