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Working Creatively For Young And Old

Players support charity projects bringing younger and older people together

The intergenerational arts charity Magic Me has been awarded a fantastic £100,000 by players of People's Postcode Lottery.

The award will enable Magic Me to take forward its plans for long-term growth over the next two years. Part of that growth will be to add a number of care homes to the roster for their Cocktails in Care Homes project.

Announcing the award at Elgin Close, the most recent home to benefit from the project, Chair of Trustees of Magic Me Alison Harvie, said, "We are really grateful for this award. We don't receive any regular funding from government or other national sources and it is really great to see a major funder like People's Postcode Lottery acknowledge the importance of the work we are doing, and the importance of funding all the background activities that make our projects possible. It will also allow us to expand our activities out of London into the East of England."

This award from players of People's Postcode Lottery will help Magic Me to continue to challenge the ageist attitude that older people will not enjoy up-to-date performing arts work, or be able to participate because they are physically or mentally frail. It will also help it to continue to provide artists with new challenges in new environments, and to disseminate good practice and research in the area of intergenerational art. Most importantly, it will allow the charity to reach more people.

Susan Langford, Director of Magic Me, said, "Our experience in East London is that younger and older people are often seen as a problem, but we have found that if you bring them together they are often able to come up with their own solutions to the problems in their communities.

"We get many requests from organisations across the country for information and ideas and this grant will help us to answer those better and to move beyond the boundaries of London. We are already working with arts organisation, Metal, to take our Decorum project to Southend and Peterborough and have recently worked with Essex Council to mentor intergenerational artists on a project in Rochford."

Magic Me announced the new award at one of their Cocktails in Care Homes parties at Elgin Close in Shepherd's Bush. The parties run at 12 homes across London and happen once a month in each home on either a Wednesday or a Thursday evening. Volunteer Party Managers decorate a suitable room within the home, often with a theme provided by the charity. Volunteers, many of whom are young professionals living locally, then come into the home for an hour and a half to drink cocktails and chat with the residents.

One volunteer said, "I started volunteering because I wanted to do more, give back something to the older generation and because I missed my grandparents."

Care staff often report back to the charity the beneficial effects the parties have on residents.

Magic Me is a leader in intergenerational arts and has been working in the field since 1989. Working creatively together, participants of different ages benefit equally in ways that enhance not just social connectedness but also health and wellbeing.

Younger and older people find in these projects a sense of purpose and status as collaborators and citizens. Across the different generations they share skills and experiences. Young people are supported to become active confident adults, older people are valued for their knowledge, experience and creative contribution – not seen as burdens or people who require help.

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Magic Me brings people of different generations together to collaborate creatively
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