Energize has recently helped a local school in Market Drayton to support a social cohesion pilot project of younger people together with older adults within the community through physical and wellbeing activities. This has been made possible with economic support from Sport England's Together Fund.

The funding provided by Sport England is contributing to this pilot project which consists of three parts:

1) Gardening & Social Farm Activities including developing an orchard and knowledge of healthy eating activities

2) Sport and Physical Activity Sessions e.g. zumba, seated clubbercise, bowls, boccia, new age curling, parachute activities, yoga and line dancing

3) Local Community based activities e.g. litter picks, coffee mornings and bird watching.

Longlands Primary School

A Longlands Primary School pupil enjoying gardening.

The pilot programme will aim to establish whether an inter-generational approach of different aged participants can reduce social isolation, support community engagement of the school and support the development of students at Longlands Primary School and the Grove Secondary School in Market Drayton.

If this is a viable programme Longlands Primary School and the Marches Academy Trust will fully fund the programme moving forward. If successful, the Marches Academy Trust will encourage the other nine schools within the Trust to roll this programme out and support the schools to do so.

The pilot programme involves a 'buddy' system where pupils are matched with an older adult living in the local community. Pupils and their 'buddy' will then engage in activities together to complete their 'Wellbeing Passport' including activities across the 3 parts as detailed above. The programme idea has resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic, as the school received lots of enquiries from local residents, particularly the elderly, displaying high levels of isolation. With the school one of the few places open, residents were keen to get involved in opportunities at the school throughout the pandemic. However, only now that restrictions have subsided and school life has returned to some normality have Longlands Primary School been able to move forward with the programme. 

Activities will take place after school and in mornings during the school day. This project will be available to all children from early years foundation stage upwards, including pupils from The Grove School & Sixth Form (11-18). Young leaders and pupils from The Grove School have opportunities to support the project and undertake training, CPD and development opportunities, to support the ongoing sustainability of the project. Sessions will give children and the community members an end goal to work towards together, and leadership opportunities will provide pupils with invaluable skills developing young people to become our future volunteers who will continue to support work in the community.

Good luck to Longlands and Grove schools and residents of Market Drayton taking part in this pilot programme!

Longlands Primary School

Residents of Market Drayton in the community gardening area.