New Dawn in Acton

Minister visits Generations Together project in South Acton

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Dawn Primarolo in Acton
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On March 17th, Dawn Primarolo, MP for Bristol South and Minister of State for Children, visited the South Acton Estate to see for herself the success of the Generations Together project in Acton.

Arriving at the Oak Tree Centre on the South Acton estate, home to over 5000 people and in the midst of a major regeneration project that will transform the lives of local people, Dawn Primarolo talked to children, young people and older people about what they are getting from the projects.

The Generations Together project involves older and younger people from all over the Acton area: High School students are teaching older people computer skills, older people teaching young people how to cook tasty and nutritious dishes and young and old joining together to learn about photography, sewing and fashion, growing vegetables on local allotments and keeping fit and having fun through learning to dance together.

The project aims to promote better understanding between people across the generations, reducing the fear of crime and prejudice whilst at the same time involving young and old in creative, interesting and enjoyable experiences.

The Acton project is one of only twelve across the country that is being funded by the Department of Children, Schools and Families. The funding is for a two year period.

Ealing Council bid for the money and is leading the project in partnership with Acton Community Forum which is co-ordinating delivery by local community groups, schools, youth services, sheltered housing and day centres.

Dawn Primarolo heard from young people that not only are they enjoying teaching older people computer skills but that they are also learning how to apply for jobs and are gaining good experience for their CVs.

Older people originating from the Caribbean spoke with pride of how they are teaching the younger generation how to cook, how to eat healthily and are passing on a pride in their culture and country of origin to a new generation of young people.

Deeply impressed by what she saw, Dawn Primarolo stated that: “The Generations Together project in Ealing is inspirational, bringing together local communities and involving both young and older people from diverse cultures. It shows what can be achieved by communities working together to break down barriers between young and old and helping to improve their quality of life. I am really encouraged by what I saw in Ealing. We are committed to supporting similar projects across the country which will make a real difference to local communities."

Generations Together is supported by a number of Government Departments. Local Authorities were invited to bid for funding for two year projects. Ealing was successful in their bid. This has brought about £400,000 to the borough over two years to fund the project.

The only other successful bid in London was from Hammersmith and Fulham. The Ealing project began September 2009. There is a project steering group chaired by Maggie Wilson, Head of Children’s Commissioning at Ealing Council/NHS Ealing.

The aim of the programme is to break down intergenerational prejudice. The programme is being evaluated by York Consulting on behalf of the DCSF. In Ealing, local evaluation is also taking place.

There will be many more opportunities for the press to see what is happening, including a fashion show, work on allotments, photography and dance sessions.

April 9, 2010