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Community, Grants, Older People, Younger people

Meeting our Grantees: Sandwell Youth in Action

26 January 2022

It is always great to hear from organisations that we have been able to support through the kindness and generosity of our foundation’s donors. Our latest update is from Sandwell Youth in Action, a grassroots charity working in central Birmingham and delivering their ‘TOY – Together Young and Old’ intergenerational project to local people.

We were really pleased to receive an update on the charity’s work to date, who received £4950 of funding towards a range of intergenerational activities, including befriending, an internet coffee club – teaching ICT skills to older people by young community members – and a range of other activities.

Project Coordinator Pena Walingamina shared with us some of the testimonials from the people who have joined the project, which has so far connected 18 older adults from the local community with 12 young people across a range of activity.

Pauline, one of the participants said that

“Before joining the TOY Project at Sandwell Youth in Action (SYIA) I was very lonely and cut off with the rest of the world. My place was pretty boring, I didn’t know a lot about computer and internet, but now I think differently. I think my participation in the project is amazing and I’m lucky to be part of the group. This project has changed my view of the world. Since joining the project, I have developed new social skills using computer and internet to stay in touch with the world. I can now share photos using emails, book holiday using internet, shop online, do my online banking, get news, socialise, etc.

At the beginning of the programme, I was told that once registered with the project, the TOY Project will help to promote intergenerational learning and create new possibilities for senior citizens and young children to learn together and benefit from each other’s company. I believe that this is the atmosphere being lived at SYIA. I have contact with both young people and older people. I become more comfortable with each another. The contact at the centre helps me to become more tolerant of young people and children. Getting involved with this project has helped me to get rid of my depression, my family lives far away and I started to become very tearful, but since joining the project I have made lots of friends and I feel happier.”

Sandwell YIA is an inspirational local community charity that is volunteer led and working closely with the needs and wishes of its local community. Our board felt this project would make a direct impact on the lives of older people in inner city Birmingham, forging connection between old and young, while developing skills and sharing experience. We are delighted to see this happening and look forward to hearing more news on the project later in the year.