AAA – ‘Silver Sports’

Back in my day! – Hartington School is one of ten schools nationally taking part in a unique intergenerational sport project. 

We have been chosen to participate in the pilot Youth Sports Trust (YST) ‘Active Across Ages (AAA),’ Project.

School pupils in Hartington are joining forces with elderly local residents to help boost physical, mental and social wellbeing across generations, as part of this nationwide pilot project.

Funded by YST International and Sir John Beckwith Charitable Trust, AAA is an intergenerational activity scheme, bringing together school-aged children with older members of their local communities in settings including care homes, community groups and day centres.

Hartington, alongside Anthony Gell, in Wirksworth, are the only two schools taking part in the Peak District, together with eight other schools across England in Wilmslow, Weymouth, Wirral and Milton Keynes.

Our key stage two pupils have become ‘Active Buddies’ after receiving training from the YST, and are now working with older residents, who they have named ‘Silver Sports’.

They’ve chosen Boccia (a precision ball sport usually played by competitors who have a physical disability that requires the use of a wheelchair), as their specialist activity for the first three sessions.

The ‘Silver Sports’ – aged between 70 and 95 years old – meet with our children on a Tuesday afternoon at the Village Hall to take part in AAA. They are also teaching the younger participants about activities they enjoyed in the playground as children, including hop scotch, and oranges and lemons.

Former pupil Maddie Wager, who uses a wheelchair, now attends Buxton Community School but has allowed to attend and support the AAA sessions back in Hartington. She is a lead member of her school’s Boccia team and will be competing at the Derbyshire finals in Glossop next month.

Maddie said: “It is a privilege to be asked to come back to my old school and help them with Boccia which I love doing. Also to be with the older people in the village and see them again.”

Liz Broomhead MBE is the co-chair of Hartington C of E Primary School governors and the project lead alongside head teacher, Tracy Blackwell. She said: ‘The enjoyment and engagement of the young and old is tangible. The interaction is a pleasure to witness.’

Winola,  who is one of the  Active Buddy’s  added, ‘It is lovely to wear our T-shirts as we work with the ‘Silver Sports’, it gives us a feeling of being together. We would like for them to have a T-shirt which says “Silver Sports.”’ So they can also be part of our “team!”

Audrey Morson is a ‘Silver Sport’ and commented: ‘As a child we would play hopscotch for hours after we had been swimming in the River Dove.’

Alison Goodall, Development Manager, said: ‘At a time when physical activity levels are declining, loneliness is increasing and generations have never been more segregated, we have developed an action-based research project which uses physical activity as the catalyst to bring generations together.

‘The project aims to improve the physical, mental and social wellbeing of participants, provide volunteering opportunities, developing skills employers require and the confidence to be physically active. It is also providing opportunities to support the primary to secondary transition and enhance local community relationships.’

Following this year’s pilot project, an impact report will be drawn up and made available from February 2020.

Find out more: https://www.youthsporttrust.org/active-across-ages