The Full Circle group will meet in school every Friday lunchtime (12.15 – 1pm) in term time, with the Headteacher and the same six children and older people (ideally four) each week. The group will have lunch together and enjoy different group activities such as simple games and crafts, while chatting and having lots of fun getting to know each other. Zara heard about the opportunity at the Oxfordshire Headteachers Conference in February when Full Circle trustee Paul Cann (previously Age UK Oxfordshire) showcased the benefits of building friendship and understanding between the generations to both younger and older participants. Full Circle have been setting up groups in Oxfordshire schools for the past 18 years, and there are 20 groups around the county meeting every week.
It would be great to involve local people who will really benefit from the experience, and a mix of genders and walks of life is ideal! Our oldest volunteer is 97 years young, but anyone over the age of 50 can be a volunteer, if they enjoy being with children! The benefits apart from having fun include:
ü Getting a greater understanding of and contact with young people
ü Feeling valued through making an active and positive contribution to society / one’s community
ü Learning new skills
ü Doing something fun and different
ü Gaining self-confidence
ü Exercising the memory
ü Being able to share a lifetime of experience
ü Being able to make a positive difference to younger people’s lives
ü Having something enjoyable to look forward to each week
ü Meeting new people of different ages and backgrounds
ü Finding friendship in the school and wider community
ü Feeling less lonely or socially isolated
ü Finding comfort/support while going through a difficult time
ü Being able to challenge stereotypes about aging / being older
There is a video on the Full Circle website which provides a good glimpse of the fun and benefits for both the younger and older people involved, www.fullcircleoxon.org.uk and there is more information about their work there too.
If you would like to be involved in this wonderful project to bring the generations together, then please email Emma via the contact page.