School art project helps brighten up retirement scheme

Release Date: 28-Mar-2013
Children from Howard Park School have brought a splash of colour to Church Grange retirement living scheme in Cleckheaton.
Howard Park pupils with Church Grange residents

Howard Park pupils with Church Grange residents

Tenants at the grange wanted some new artwork for their freshly-decorated communal lounge, so Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) scheme coordinator Julie Battison had the bright idea of asking the local school to get involved.

In January, children from Year 5 met up with the tenants, and were also joined by residents from Springfield Flats. They broke into groups and talked about the history and geography of the Cleckheaton area and some of their memories of growing up and living there. The children then went back to school with ideas for their art projects.

This week, the children returned to the grange to present tenants with their completed artwork. The pictures, which are based on the history of Cleckheaton, will be displayed throughout the grange for everyone to enjoy.

According to Julie, “We have a very good relationship with Howard Park School and the children have presented nativity plays in the past but this project really had the tenants buzzing. Even those who rarely get involved joined in and had a wonderful time sharing their memories of Cleckheaton.”

According to 79 year old Doreen Allison, “the pictures are really good and it’s lovely that the children have worked so hard on them. They’re really going to brighten up the corridors.”

Howard Park pupil Teresa said: “This has been a really fun project and we’re glad to be able to bring back nice memories for the residents.”

The project was funded by a KNH community engagement grant and is one of a number of inter-generational projects organised by KNH to establish closer links between tenants in its retirement schemes and the wider community. A key aim is to forge relationships between the different generations who can both learn from each other.

Carol Crossley, who manages KNH’s Older People’s Support Service, said: “Social activities for older residents are important for their physical and emotional well being so we work with the council and other partners to find new and interesting things for people to get involved in.

“We’re particularly keen to reduce the isolation older people sometimes feel, and these kinds of projects are a great way of helping them feel part of the wider community. We also know from the schools that the young people also benefit from being with the elderly.”

Cllr Cathy Scott, the Cabinet member responsible for housing, said, “A key priority for the council is to help older people live life to the full. Through projects like this one, KNH is helping to make that possible for hundreds of older tenants and residents across Kirklees.”

If you’d like to find out more about KNH’s Older People’s Service, please ring 01484 416444.