Music project bridges the generations, as young children and older people join forces to perform Monday 6 March 2017
An innovative north Wales music project bringing young children to enjoy music sessions with older people in their 70s, 80s and 90s living at a Gwynedd extra care scheme has proved a huge success.
18 older people at Awel y Coleg’s extra care scheme in Bala have been joined by the young school pupils ranging from four to seven year olds from Ysgol Bro Tryweryn, Frongoch to participate in three specially created music sessions, aimed at tackling loneliness using the arts.
The three month project spearheaded by professional musicians from Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias was commissioned to look at tackling loneliness amidst older people living in rural communities within Gwynedd.
Introductory sessions were held separately at both the school and Awel y Coleg at the beginning of the project, before both generations came together to share their musical abilities and talents at Grŵp Cynefin’s extra care facility at Bala.
The project ‘Music Memories - Connecting Generations’ was trialled using alternative methods of reaching and working with older people in Gwynedd’s rural areas; Y Bala and Gellilydan near Blaenau Ffestiniog.
One of the participants, 82 year old, Helen Margaret Roberts from Bala said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the sessions, as it bought both of my great joys together - singing and spending time with children.”
A former primary school teacher, who spent part of her profession teaching youngsters at Liverpool, Mrs Roberts said: “It’s been a breath of fresh air singing with the children, and has bought back to me some wonderful memories of my days teaching youngsters.”
Siân Ellis from Grŵp Cynefin housing association who own Awel y Coleg said: “Here at Awel y Coleg, our residents are fortunate to have community facilities, including a restaurant and rooms suitable for hosting activities and relaxing, as well as their own personal and private flats within the scheme
“But loneliness and the feeling of isolation is a real issue for many older people in north Wales.
“The response of the young children and the older people here at Awel y Coleg during recent weeks has been amazing. It has been a worthwhile project, and we congratulate Gwynedd Council Community Arts and Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias for their innovation in bridging generations through the arts.”
Meinir Llwyd Roberts, from Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias said ““This project has given us an unique opportunity to experiment with a scheme that brought the oldest and youngest generation of our communities together through the arts. We feel that both generations have enriched each other’s lives and it has been wonderful to see both generations learning together and from each other. It has been a delight for our tutors to work with both age groups.”
During the last session on March 3, friends, families and parents were invited to attend a concert style performance at Awel y Coleg where residents and children performed some of the songs. They included Welsh favourites ‘Oes Gafr eto?’ ‘Holi ac ici’ and a special song composed by one of William Mathias’ tutors, Marie-Claire Howorth.
Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies, Cabinet Member for the Arts said: “As a Council, we were eager to develop a new, exciting, innovative scheme that could offer alternative methods of working with and reaching older people in rural areas.
We are very happy with what Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias planned, which was “Music Memories - Connecting Generations” which aims to reach older people who are isolated in rural areas in Gwynedd.
This pilot project addresses the challenge of reaching rural areas where there’s a gap of artistic opportunities. Over these months, they have trialled the scheme in the communities of Gellilydan and Bala, culminating in a celebration of the work on March the 3rd.”
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