Bringing generations together
By Nicky and Wayne
“We thought it was a good idea to bond with the elderly residents before we started doing any work in the home. We didn’t just want to go there and it to be, ‘who are these people?’ So we did a cake sale at school and raised £180 and just before Christmas we bought some paper and staplers and went to the care home and made paper chains with the residents. They were asking us to hang them up outside their door so we decorated their rooms and took pictures and everything.
We don’t really bond with the older generation when you’re younger so it was quite nice to do that. It was nice to just go there and talk to them. They’re older, they’ve got more knowledge than us and they could tell us more things then we could ever know.
The garden wasn’t so bad but it was just really dull and I reckoned that if they done it up a bit, like make it elderly-friendly - all the benches had moss on it and were broken - so if we straightened it up a bit maybe in the summer, they could come outside.
Finding the money
We needed money to do the garden so we applied to Pitch4Change. Wayne and Emma did the budget and the rest of us sorted out the presentation. We showed it to our business mentors from Life Agency when we went to visit them at their offices. They were really nice and friendly and bubbly. They made you feel not teachery - like how Envision Coordinators are like.
Oh it was so nerve-racking doing the presentation but the dragons seemed to really enjoy it and we tried to add a bit of humour to it. I think the dragons liked us because we’d already started, like before we actually went there. We’d raised money by that time, we had already been to the care home and met the residents.
The presentation skills we learnt were by far the most useful thing we did, definitely. I’ve actually done a lot more presentation since then and I’ve got a lot more confidence from doing that cos of all the schools that were there and they were staring at us. And we got £500 from doing it, so now I feel I can do anything. It just boosted my confidence a bit more.
Embracing the challenge
It’s given me more confidence to do things that I wouldn’t normally do. I wasn’t very confident about going to college – I don’t like doing things on my own. But I know that once I do it once, then I’m able to do it for the rest of the time I do it for. I’m definitely more confident dealing with issues which I think is one of the best things.
The biggest challenge we faced was in managing ourselves as a team. We had one really big fall out. It was the day we went to see the people at the care home. We turned up and we were still a bit angry but as soon as we saw the old people we were just like, forget it and let’s focus on this now. We wanted them to see us differently. We wanted the old people to see young people as someone they could get along with, not someone they have to hide from.
We sorted it all out after the visit. We realised that the problem was we didn’t cooperate much. We were all new people and we’d just come to the school and didn’t really know each other that much. We weren’t really communicating, like, some people would take money out of the box and would buy stuff and we wouldn’t know about it and we’d come to look in the box and they’d be no money and no receipts. That was the last argument we ever had. The whole thing made us bond even more and we just really get along now.
It was just something I wanted to do. At first I thought maybe I don’t want to do this as I’ve got lessons and coursework and uni to prepare for. But then I thought schools gonna stress me out so I might as well do something that’ll I’m going to really enjoy and help someone in the process.
At first it was like, if I do it does that mean I have to follow through with it? But once you do it, you realise that you wanna do it not like you have to follow through with it. I mean that’s what I think and I’m sure most of my other team think that as well.
The Envision people who we work with – they’re not teachers so you can treat them like you and have a laugh and joke around with them. That’s probably what drew me to it in the first place. Cos I do like doing voluntary work but I like to have fun in the process. If I was with a teacher, I don’t think I would have bothered.
I think that’s why we liked it cos we actually chose what we wanted to do. If they actually told us to this and told us to do that, then it would be just like school. And it would stress me out even more.”