There’s a lot of buzz around about intergenerational projects (think Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds/Teenagers) and we have one right here in Toormina. The Link joined forces with Stephanie Sims from Uko Ono to bring together Seniors from Marian Grove and students from Mary Help of Christians Primary School to collaborate and make some music.
Thanks to an Arts & Cultural Grant from City of Coffs Harbour Council, this creative project has been running for the last six weeks at The Link on Friday mornings. The Link was always set up as an intergenerational space for the community, so it was a natural fit for this project to run here. We had residents from Marian Grove and other retirement villages attend each week and we love that the project is bringing more people into the space.
Intergenerational programs provide learning opportunities, care and social support for children and older people in the same setting, at the same time. These can benefit wellbeing across generations as children and older adults interact and exchange knowledge and skills.
Stephanie Sims has been teaching the ukulele through her business, Uko Ono, for the past seven years, including classes at Mary Help of Christians school. Stephanie has had students as young as four right up to the age of 91 years and sees the benefits of learning a musical instrument at any age.
The group met on a Friday morning for a one-hour lesson, then enjoy a morning tea together. Some of the seniors have already had experience playing the ukulele with the Marian Grove ukulele group, which has been running for 11 years now, and others in the group have never picked up an instrument.
Marian Grove resident and participant, Brian Burn, has found the sessions “wonderful and inspiring”. He says, “the mixture of age groups enables a more open approach to playing and better interaction between those involved. It is also a joy to see how much the younger generation are progressing, the appreciation they exude, and the willingness they exhibit towards learning this instrument.”
Assistant Principal at Mary Help of Christians, Margaret Ryan, says, “the children are super keen to jump on that bus each Friday morning to go along to the project.
The project concluded with a Christmas Concert on Friday 8th December at the Marian Grove Rec Hall attended by 80+ guests as well as City of Coffs Harbour Mayor Paul Amos. The group played 3 songs to the residents and enjoyed morning tea together afterwards.