In February 2014 Somerset Community Foundation awarded a grant to the Frome and District Day Centre, a group which gives a lifeline to many elderly people who can enjoy a hot meal, entertainment and some physical activity twice a week.
This particular grant was to fund an intergenerational project in conjunction with Frome Community College, which involved students visiting the group to chat to the members before and during their lunches. This provided a rare opportunity for the older generation of Frome to socialise with young people, and share stories about their time in education, as well as ‘old Frome’ and the area during the war and rationing. The students talked to the members about their experience living in Frome today and gave insight into how computers and iPads have shaped their education. The head teacher of Frome Community College has commented on the educational and social benefits to the students from their time spent with the group, and the positive transformation in attitudes towards the elderly.
Members of the day centre found the experience so rewarding that they were sad when the students had revision sessions or exams and therefore could not attend the lunches! Some members found that their negative perceptions of local young people were changed as a direct result of the interaction they had with the members of the Frome and District Day Centre, and their confidence around young people has grown immeasurably. Day Centre organiser Gerald Franks said "the young people from the college were very polite and great fun, and the clients all really enjoyed the talking together and sharing stories"
Frome and District Day Centre and Frome Community College are continuing the project during 2015, and look forward to helping the old and young generations in the area build strong relationships for the future.