Project members from Pie Factory Music's Create Community project

Pie Factory Music is a youth club that supports young people in Thanet, Kent. Three years ago, they set up an intergenerational group – Create Community - after multiple requests from older residents who wanted to offer their support to young people in their wider community and be part of something.

The idea was for different generations to be able to share their skills and experiences around cookery, gardening, music, computing, and personal safety.

As well as learning from each other, the aim was to help facilitate friendships and intergenerational understanding.

Not without its challenges, project lead Francesca says it took some time but that the group became more integrated and connected over time. She explained: “The different generations were quite separate in the beginning. We discovered that icebreakers at the start of each session worked well and helped everyone get to know each other.

“Group outings were also very popular and helped bond the group as a whole. The shared experiences give them something to talk about during the following sessions.

“Food became a central part of the group. Volunteers for cooking were always available! It provided an opportunity for the older members to mentor the younger ones and as the kitchen only had a capacity of three in at a time, it meant those cooking had more quality interaction. Eating together is a very social activity and it helped bond everyone involved.”

Social connections play a vital role in health and wellbeing. They can help reduce isolation and can have positive impacts on health, contributing to a sense of belonging. For the Create Community project, activities helped members build their confidence and strengthen their sense of community.

Francesca said: “The best part of the project was when you saw everyone encourage each other. We had a young member who announced his gender transitioning to the group and told us that apart from his family, Create Community was the first place he had shared this news. He told us that he felt very safe and comfortable to do so and was inundated with support and encouragement from the rest of the group as a result. It was wonderful to see how supportive the group was.”

“Another young member, who had recently moved to the area, was struggling to make friends. Create Community provided a safe space for her to get to know people locally and when she was nervous about trying another group, one of the other Create Community members said she would go along. This was a great outcome for both of them.”

The Create Community project was funded by People’s Health Trust with money raised by Health Lottery London East.

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To read more news from the Trust, click here.

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