High School will play key role in generation project

A PROJECT which reaches out across the generations has been launched by East Sussex County Council.

Students from Bexhill High School will be at the heart of the scheme. Their work and that of other students and of pensioners will go on exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion this Spring.

The authority has launched Growing Together, an arts and drama project designed to challenge stereotypes and open up lines of communication between young people and older members of the community.

The project will be run by Scapegoat Schools; a company which delivers drama and arts based creative therapy workshops to individuals and groups aged five to 95.

Students from Bexhill High School and The Grove, Hastings, will work alongside members of U3A, the University of the Third Age, which is a self-help organisation providing educational, creative and leisure opportunities for people no longer in full time employment.

Together they will create art work, take part in performances and make films and diaries about their experiences.

The painting, sculpture and film-making activities will see participants from both age groups paired up in a 'Buddy scheme', working together to create some truly inspirational work with a powerful message about community cohesion.

Participants will also enjoy interactive drama workshops, incorporating role play, discussion and debate in order to promote positive relationships, break down stereotypes and deepen their understanding of others.

To strengthen the bonds between the two groups, individuals taking part in the project will interview each other on film.

They will also share their life experiences of family, growing up, relationships and school days by keeping log books throughout the project.

County cabinet lead member for children's and adults' services Cllr Keith Glazier said: "Today, more than ever, it is vitally important that communities work together and understand one another.

"This sort of project helps to stamp out stereotypes whilst creating a more cohesive community. It is a great example of the work the county council is doing to forge links between different generations and strive for better understanding and acceptance. More importantly it gives people of any age the chance to have a bit of fun!"

The project will culminate with an exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill in April, during which the participants will share some of their experiences and their creations with the public.