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Orbit brings generations together after funding new magazine for its Bexley residents

Orbit has contributed £6,000 towards an intergenerational project, that has delivered an uplifting magazine made by children, to its Independent Living scheme residents in Bexley.​

Photo caption: Front row (L-R) – Gill, Lily, Val and Megan, Residents of Bushey Court. Back row (L-R) – Michaela Tranfield, Programme Officer at InCommon, Albert, Linda, Pat, Laura Macartney, Co-Founder of InCommon.

School children from Belleville, Chalk Ridge, Christ Church Erith, Holmleigh, Lessness Heath, Park View, St Mary Cray, St Winifred’s, St Paul’s Slade Green, and Walnut Tree Walk have created a magazine for older people in their community, entitled ‘The Children’s Press: A magazine for our older neighbours’.

The magazine includes messages from the eight-year-old contributors, as well as drawings, stories, and puzzles. The theme of the issue was ‘looking ahead’ and features the children’s personal goals for 2022 and considers wider social issues such as racism, climate change and coronavirus.

The children who have contributed to the magazine are part of a programme run by InCommon, a social enterprise which bridges generational divides. Under normal circumstances, their programmes take children into Orbit Independent Living schemes to learn from and build friendships with other older neighbours.

134 copies of ‘The Children’s Press’ were delivered to Orbit residents at Hayley House, Flaxman Court, Bushey Court, Lambert Court and Sherwood House. 

Rosie Ward, Placemaking and Partnerships Manager at Orbit, said: “It’s really important to us that our independent living schemes are an integral part of their wider communities. The pandemic and its restrictions have made this more challenging so the InCommon magazine has been a great way to bring together different generations in a new way and support the wellbeing of the older people living in our schemes. This project is just one of the many ways that Orbit invests in our communities.”

Co-founder of InCommon, Laura Macartney, added: "The past few months have been a challenging time to stay connected across the generations as rates hit an all-time peak, and we wanted to start 2022 with something fun and joyful for all the younger and older people we work with. It's been fantastic to see the thought and effort the children have put into creating something special for their older neighbours - it's a real sign that those intergenerational relationships have remained strong from a distance. Reading through ‘The Children's Press’ has filled us with hope for the year to come, we're really looking forward to resuming our in person activities again soon and seeing those make a positive impact after such a tough winter for everyone."

During the pandemic, InCommon continued to deliver their activities remotely, facilitating phone and video calls between the children and residents, as well as postal exchanges and creating challenges.

In September, Orbit Independent Living scheme residents also participated in the ‘Generations Swap Cookbook’ and contributed recipes which they wanted to share with future generations. The unique cookbook, created by InCommon, gave people of all ages the chance to share the food they love to make.

To read ‘The Children’s Press’ intergenerational magazine, visit: https://incommon.org.uk/ic-news/2022/2/14/hot-off-the-childrens-press

Click here to view the ‘Generations Swap Cookbook’: https://incommon.org.uk/ic-news/2021/10/27/swap-cookbook.