Project helps bridge gap between young and old in Norwich

Pupils at a Norwich school have been exchanging their skills and knowledge with the older generation as part of an innovative project.

The East Norwich Youth Project (ENYP) has been working in partnership with Age UK Norwich and The Norwich Living History Group to create Bridging the Gap – an inter-generational reminiscence group.

The project has been running for almost a year at Heartsease Primary School, allowing young people from the school and older people from the community to share memories, learn new skills, improve communication and build self-esteem. One young person and one older person are paired up and over the weeks get to know each other better as they talk about their lives and memories, as well as taking part in crafts, singing, writing and miming activities together.

Sessions cover various themes and some past topics have included fashion, memory boxes, favourite pastimes and memories of the home, using multi-sensory triggers to aid memory and conversation.

Trips out have also been arranged for the group, including a visit to Norwich Castle for a tour round the keep and a medieval interactive workshop.

Ellie Payne, ENYP Youth Worker said: 'I find this project really exciting. It's great to hear feedback from older participants who now recognise the young people they meet down the shop due to being part of the group.

'For me, this shows that bringing together different generations in this way can make a positive impact in our community.'

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Since starting the project a wider group of people from the community have shown an interest in taking part, so training sessions have been set up to enable others to be confident group leaders.

Plans are also under way to include the sessions within the school curriculum, as many of the topics covered in the group compliment teaching material and prove to be a great alternative style for learning.

Christina Kenna, headteacher of Heartsease Primary, added: 'We are delighted to be part of this exciting project. It literally bridges the generations as children and older members of the community gain a better understanding of each others' lives, culture and interests. It began as a small group helping out at luncheon club. The project has proved so successful we are incorporating it into our curriculum.'

For more information about the project visit or contact Ellie Payne at

Have you begun an unusual project? Contact Local Life editor David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email