Schoolchildren are supporting their elderly 'activity buddies' by sending them self-isolation activity packs.
As it is not possible for young and old to mix because of social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic, children in Derbyshire and Dorset - who had previously been taking part in an intergenerational physical activity programme - have begun writing to their ‘buddies’ in care homes and elderly settings to set them exercises as homework.
The self-isolation activity pack contains a letter from the children with positive messages of hope, ideas to keep active, a balloon, a paper ball, and a target challenge.
Children’s charity Youth Sport Trust created the ‘Active Across Ages’ programme which promotes the health and wellbeing benefits of intergenerational sport and play, and is keen for it to grow across the country.
Evaluations of the programme published during ‘National Intergenerational Week’ (March 23 to 29) show that by bringing older adults and young people together, both gained a better view of one another and their happiness levels improved.
Young people (95%) had a better view of older people after the programme and older people (90%) felt their perceptions had improved. The report also revealed that 94% of young people felt they had better empathy after being involved in the project and both age groups had improved happiness levels.
Ali Goodall, Development Manager at the Youth Sport Trust, said: “Through Active Across Ages we have seen that attitudes and perceptions towards other generations have been improved and young people are telling us through the project they have a better understanding of older people’s needs and have developed how they see themselves and others within society.
“Evidence suggests that physical activity and volunteering support better mental wellbeing and so it is vital, in these unprecedented times, we continue to innovate new ways to support the hardest to reach and keep those most at risk moving.”
Before the pandemic, Active Across Ages was delivered in Derbyshire, Dorset, Cheshire, Merseyside, and Buckinghamshire, and Youth Sport Trust aims to find a funder to roll the scheme out more widely and make it more accessible to more schools and older people’s settings when it is safe to do so.
For more information or to pledge support visit youthsporttrust.org/active-across-ages