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Making 'Friends'

Making 'Friends'

The sense of belonging is an intrinsic human need crossing all ages and generations.  Fulfilling our place within the communities of which we are members can add colour and perspective to the lives we touch.

Helen Somerville and her team at CrossReach Queens Bay Lodge residential home are passionate about creating purposeful community-building opportunities for the people who have chosen to live there. They proactively work to ensure each individual maintains connections with family and friends and has the opportunities to build new and meaningful friendships with other individuals and organisations.

Over the years, children and young people of almost all ages have taken part in a variety of intergenerational projects in the home.  Recently a particularly colourful and entertaining project was completed, culminating in a celebration with family and friends of the participants (children and older adults).

Following a successful application made by Helen to Vision Mechanics to lead a project funded by NHS Lothian with the purpose of bringing old and young together through creative arts, Activities Coordinator Gwen Anderson approached Jan Paterson, Head Teacher of Newcraighall Primary School, to invite the P7 class to join in the adventure of creating a film. 

Mrs Paterson enthusiastically agreed and when permissions and Health and Safety practicalities were put in place, the work began in earnest.

The children met with members of the Vision Mechanics team and created their own personal story shields. They were then invited to visit the participating residents of Queens Bay Lodge to help them create their own personal story shields.

The residents smiled as the children arrived, armed with notebooks, pencils and endearing enthusiasm.  Natural friendships developed with each child befriending one resident.  As the shields took shape, conversations flowed about likes, favourite things and life experiences.

Using their newly gained information gathering skills, the next step for the children was to assemble a bank of information that would be used to create the film’s story board.  Staff and family members were amazed at the experiences and preferences shared by the residents, some of which they had not previously known.

When the board was put together, the children created puppets to animate the story and the narrative was written.

Next came the soundtrack!  The residents and children recorded the various spoken parts and everyone involved came together to sing songs like “Ye Cannae Shove Your Granny Off The Bus” and “Wild Mountain Thyme”. 

Finally, a title had to be chosen.  For the participants, there was only one name it could be given: ‘Friends’.

The premier showing and project celebration took place on Monday 30th October 2017.

Featuring the film, a sing-a-long of the songs used on the soundtrack and reports about the positive impact the project had on everyone involved, the sense of community was tangible

Afterwards, dignitaries, guests and friends joined the artists for celebratory cake.  As the refreshments were enjoyed, the flow of conversation around the table testified to the depth of connections made.

While the project may have finished, its impact lives on.  Residents continue to talk about their life experiences and about the fun they had in helping create the film.  It is easy to see why Newcraighall Primary School and Queens Bay Lodge are already developing new intergenerational initiatives.

We look forward to hearing all about them!

**We'll link to the film as soon as it's available online**


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Charis House, 47 Milton Road East, Edinburgh, EH15 2SR
Tel: 0131 657 2000 Email: info@crossreach.org.uk