A Birkby Church is uniting members of the community after introducing a simple new intergenerational project involving tea, toast and chit-chat which has already helped to encourage ‘mutual respect [and] sharing’ between those of different generations.
T@3 runs each week at St Cuthbert’s Church where free drinks and snacks are served by parishioners while activities including bingo, the name game, Christmas card making and icing buns are held to help bridge the generation gap.
The project is co-ordinated by Amanda Ogilvie-Berry, a parishioner at St Cuthbert’s, who liaised with Community workers before setting up T@3 and finding community funding to help sustain the project.
Amanda says, “Having chatted and worked alongside other community projects and people engaged with the community it became apparent that there was a gap for an intergenerational project, and people were very enthusiastic about it.
“More and more people don't have experience of different generations and we want to overcome that.
“So far it has been brilliant!”
Amanda explains, “We decided to make it 3pm as we were aware that all of the kids coming back from school pass the Church every day and our doors were usually closed.
“Now they and their parents can drop in and have a snack and chat.
“We also host activities to engage everyone and get them chatting and working together.”
The Revd Mary Railton-Crowder, Vicar of St Cuthbert's, says, “It has been wonderful to watch this project grow.
“The children tumble in after school, full of energy and head straight for the hot toast.
“Then when they sit down and chat with people some of whom are old enough to be their great grandparents it is a joy to watch the interaction between the generations.”
T@3 has been running since October and has already encouraged the interaction of people within the community between the ages of 5 months and over 90-years-old in this ‘fun’ and ‘welcoming’ environment.
Amanda mentions, “The aim is to bring people of all ages together and get them to know each other.
“We also want to bring people from the community into the Church and give them hospitality, and to spread the news that we are here to serve our parish.”
She continues, “My favourite moment was seeing a teenager look after a recently widowed elderly gentleman – they were being supportive of each other and they were both delighted by it.
“They always ask about each other and are committed to that support - this is what the project is about!
“The children that come advertise it for us at school and want more older people to come.
“We had a favourite book week and the mutual respect, sharing and engagement was just a sheer delight to be a part of.”
T@3 runs each Wednesday in St Cuthbert’s Church, Birkby, at 3pm. Entry, drinks and games are free. All are welcome.