“Who Am I, Who Are You?” is a Heritage Lottery Project. This project is aimed at different generations exploring what makes them who they are as individuals and what makes our communities what they are. Our Launch event was held at Chatham Place Sheltered Scheme in Northfield and about 50 older and younger folk came together for the afternoon. The young people were from the National Citizenship Service and they spent the afternoon getting to know the older people and listening to their stories of their youth. We were joined by local artist, Fran Littlehales, who put on a display of 60s fashions and other memorabilia. Meanwhile, the young people played a selection of 50s and 60s vinyl records which encouraged a bit of Twist and jive! Old fashioned sweets and refreshments were enjoyed by all and we are looking forward to a follow up session when the stories that the young people recorded will have been used to create some artwork by Fran.
On another occasion, we worked with Bellfield Primary School, Baskerville School and Shenley Seniors Group to look at the influence that the Cadburys Chocolate Factory at Bournville had on local families and consequently on the local community. Many of the Shenley Seniors are retired Cadbury workers or they may have originated from families that depended on Cadburys for their standard of living and, in fact, on their living accommodation.
This intergenerational group came together to plan and to visit the Cadbury Factory where they had a guided tour. Following this, some of the Seniors visited the children at school to talk about the Cadbury visit and to plan a short piece of drama based on what they had learned. This drama was just finished and ready for rehearsals to start when Covid 19 struck and all schools were closed until after the Summer holidays. Just as we began to plan to restart, we entered into the second Lockdown and so it doesn’t look like the piece of theatre will take place until next Spring at the earliest. Some photos of the Cadbury visit are shown though.
Another intergenerational exercise took place involving Fairway Primary School, The Trip Down Memory Lane Group and Kings Norton Seniors Group. Volunteers from the British Motor Museum visited the children and some of the seniors and talked to them about the motor industry here in Birmingham, most specifically at the Longbridge Austin Factory which closed back in 2005. Following this visit, the children and some of the older people visited the British Motor Museum for a guided tour. They were accompanied by ex- Birmingham Poet Laureate, Giovanni Esposito – AKA Spoz who worked with the children on developing stories and poems about what they had learned. Everyone greatly enjoyed and valued this experience as you can see from the photos we took during these sessions.
The third group visit was to the Birmingham Back to Back Houses and we took a long some of the residents of Chatham Place Sheltered Scheme along with some grandchildren and young members of staff. This was a great morning for remembering how life was in their youth for the older folk and sharing this with the younger folk. Plans were being made to follow this up with a shared cookery session with the aim of showing the youngsters how to cook some of the recipes from the past and enjoying a feast of them together. However, once again, Covid 19 put a halt to this but we hope we can still do this early next year when we plan to conclude the project.