Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Age Exchanged!

Pre-event: local people with Veneratio founder Bethany
Earlier this year, Veneratio worked with the Bromley Community Engagement Forum (BCEF) to put on an event named "Age Exchange".
This was a day held at The Priory secondary school in Bromley in Kent, and was a get together for local older and younger people to help them enjoy each other's company and appreciate what life is like at both ends of the age spectrum.  A number of community groups were represented, and the day included:
  • Special guest Sylvia, 89, being interviewed about her time during World War II in the Royal Air Force driving bomber crews and about life as an older person;
  • 20-year old one man band Andy Twyman playing some Blues (a video of a song from the day is here.) and Nick Junior Moore playing some acoustic songs;
  •  A presentation on a safe online commmunity for older people called DropBy (  More of DropBy in future blogs;
  • A poetry reading about what it is like to be young and older.
The day was a lot of fun and we had some great feedback.  Pupils from Hayes School said afterwards:

"From the events, we gained a great amount of understanding of the older generation, and realised what interesting lives they have lead. Participants of the day have described it as “a fun and informative day” where “many of the people were glowing as a result of simply talking with each other. We feel privileged to have had the opportunity to take part in the day and a big thank-you to the BCEF and our teacher."

One of the older guests wrote and said "Thank you for such a lovely day yesterday. The children from Hayes School were an absolute credit to their school and such a delight to talk to. I haven’t spoken so much about me in a very long time and bless their hearts they seemed so interested in what I had to say. I hope I didn’t bore them."

Topics discussed which related to both age groups ranged from the unfairness of bad publicity; intimidation; and consideration such as giving up your seat on the bus.
Councillor Tim Stevens, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, said it was an excellent day.  Ian Smith, Chair of the Bromley Community Engagement Forum, welcomed all at the start of the day and concluded by recognising the valuable contributions by all those attending.
Bethany Russell, founder of Veneratio said Age Exchange was a pioneering success, bringing older people into a social setting with younger people, to the enjoyment of both.
And talking of that enjoyment, here are a couple of other great quotes from the day:

From older guests:

 "We compared school stories and one youngster couldn’t believe we did not use calculators! Whereas I would never have been able to do what they do now as she was so confident and has excellent people skills."
"And there I was thinking old people don’t matter these days. Today has made me realise just how many lovely young people there are out there."
From younger guests:
"I enjoyed today and it was great to receive career advice from the older peoples’ experiences."
"One older person had me in tears from laughter, such a character and so wise too."

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