|Intergenerational Community Centre Opens in East Putney|
Aims to 'spark'; friendships between young and old
A new community centre has opened in East Putney to enable the generations to mix for mutual benefit.
‘Sparkle’ was opened by the Mayor of Wandsworth and at the launch, younger guests were invited to find a 'Grandfriend', do handprints on the wall and make a paper aeroplane together. The aeroplanes were launched at the end to celebrate the opening.
The ribbon, cut by the Mayor, was held by the oldest (96) and youngest in attendance (2) and age gap of 94 years. The local police and their 8 week old sniffer dog, who was a real hit with young and old alike, were also in attendance.
Sparkle will run weekly intergenerational sessions in St Stephen’s Church Hall, Putney and local older people are invited to take part in activities with children from Little Fingers Nursery and Brandlehow Primary School. These activities will include singing, reading, craft, gardening, digital and exercise and a free lunch will also be served.
Founder Emma Chisholm said, “I felt really strongly that after the pandemic, which of course made everyone even more isolated, it would be amazing to facilitate somewhere we could bring the generations together.
“Intergenerational work really is a win-win. There are benefits for older people like reducing loneliness and improving cognitive functioning, mobility and wellbeing. And for younger people, improvements in communication skills, confidence and empathy.
“Mixing the generations is something that happened naturally in times gone by, with families living together, or at least close to one another. Modern London sees a divided population with just 5% of those under 18 living in close proximity to someone over 65. Our lives are more segregated and of course this can drive a wedge between the generations and this causes all sorts of societal problems such as intolerance and ageism.
“Sparkle is a place where we want relationships to ‘spark’ and bring light and joy to young and old. Everyone is valuable because everyone has something to give, as well as receive. For the older generations that could mean giving their time to read with a child, teaching a child about their culture or sharing their knowledge of how to do something. For our little ones this could mean sharing a song, playing a game, giving a smile to someone who might be feeling sad or sharing all that energy they have!
Sparkle will be open 10.30-14.30 every Thursday in St Stephen’s Church Hall, Manfred Road, East Putney. Pre-registration required. To register or volunteer email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8877 3003.
July 1, 2022