New virtual programme bringing generations together is set to launch during National Intergenerational Week

A virtual programme aiming to help build connections between generations is set to launch in March.

The project, called LaST (Learning and Sharing Together), is based on the model of Burnham Health Promotion Trust’s (BHPT) long-running face-to-face Burnham Intergenerational Programme, which started in 2002 and brought together pupils from St Peter’s School with residents of Perry House sheltered housing.

After BHPT’S programme was suspended following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, ideas were put forward to carry out virtual intergenerational projects.

LaST has been developed by former BHPT manager Shirley Shaw since she retired from the charity in 2019.

The LaST Toolkit is an online guide of how to set up and run an intergenerational programme.

The Toolkit provides resources for the school year based on different themes such as Christmas memories, autumn and St David’s Day.

It is aimed at children aged from nine to 11 and older people aged 60 and above and is suited towards residential or day care settings, and sheltered housing schemes.

The programme can be run by staff or volunteers who are working in partnership with a teaching assistant or teacher from a primary school in the local area.

In November, the virtual LaST project was trialled for six weeks over Zoom with pupils from St Peter’s School and older residents from Perry House and within the community.

Prior to the pandemic, the Burnham Intergenerational Programme would see pupils visit Perry House for hour-and-a-half sessions.

The sessions saw children meet with older people to carry out a range of activities on a chosen topic of the afternoon, which is often related to the time of year.

Some of these activities included doing quizzes, writing and drawing, singing, or simply talking.

The project aims to help generations learn from one another through sharing memories and experiences to reduce loneliness and isolation, and help to build and increase confidence and rediscover new talents.

Discussing LaST, Shirley said: “I hope that it will encourage and enable others to set up projects of their own and so discover the lasting benefits, and the joy, that comes from building intergenerational connections.

“In these unprecedented times, these connections are more important than ever.”

The LaST project website is set to launch during National Intergenerational Week between Monday, March 8 and Sunday, March 14.

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