Aylsham Common Threads project breaks down age barriers

Teenagers do not all run amok in hoodies and senior citizens are not all slow and boring – as those taking part in a new, inter-generational experiment in Aylsham have discovered.

For the past three months, 12 and 13-year olds from Aylsham High School have been visiting residential and nursing homes in the town joining in with craft activities and teaching older people the finer points of Wii games.

The Common Threads project, funded by a �3,500 government grant, has helped break down barriers of prejudice and build bonds of friendship between the generations and is a forerunner of the all-ages activities which will be on offer at the new Aylsham Care Trust (ACT) community centre taking shape at the town's St Michael's Hospital site, according to artist Jessica Perry who has been running the scheme on behalf of ACT.

Old and young have been plaiting lengths of denim and old T-shirts to make rugs and laughing together as they tackle Wii Fit and Wii Sport challenges.

The results of all their work will be on show to the public in Aylsham's Cawston Road Drill Hall, on June 7 from 10am to 3pm, with a chance for everyone to try their hands and feet at Wii.

For the final month of the project the pupils have been at Aylsham Craft Club where members include those who live at home with carers, and people with illnesses and disabilities.

The children had also enjoyed adapting the Wii games so that those with mobility problems could still take part, and had been surprised at the older people's enthusiasm for the Wii.

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