We are encouraging the development of digital skills across Stockport so that everyone has equal access to opportunities, can make the most of all the benefits of being online and no-one is left behind. Digital can play a key role in helping people stay in touch, reducing isolation and connecting communities.
Here our Adult Social Care team describe a great example of using digital as a catalyst to bring people together.
I have recently been involved with a local digital photography project which has united the generations, bringing together residents of three Stockport care homes with photography students at Cheadle Hulme High School (CHHS), under the guidance of Kim Rowley, Head of Photography at CHHS.
The 6-week project saw CHHS open its doors to welcome residents, staff and learners from Borough Care’s Cawood House and Bryn Haven and Care UK’s Abney Court and support charity Pure Innovations. The students worked with the care home residents and artists with a learning disability from the local community to produce photographic artwork.
They worked together in pairs to create a mix of digital and practical artwork under the theme of memory. Everyone brought in objects which were connected to important memories from their lives. The pairs learnt how to use digital SLR cameras and create edits using photoshop. These were printed out and the group collaged the images to create a mix of memories spanning 11 – 95 years.
Over the 6 weeks the students and residents really got to know one another and built a bond through both the teaching of new skills, such as using a camera and computer software to enhance photos, as well as the students learning about the culture and the memories of the elderly.
It was a wonderful experience for residents and students alike!
Our residents really enjoyed engaging with the young people and being actively involved in the digital photography project. They got to experience new things and formed close bonds with the students they worked with. Inter-generational relationships help enrich the lives of older and younger people alike and participating in the project had many benefits for our residents, including bringing back lots of happy memories.
Being part of this inter-generational project has been a wonderful experience for the residents at Abney Court, as they had a genuine interest in arts, textiles and photography. With the help and support of the students, they were able to produce innovative pieces of work, which are now a great pleasure to see and help keep memories alive.
The photography class was really good. I liked using the camera, I learnt how to use its features. The students were nice and we shared ideas. I’d like to do it again.
This spring I had the privilege to be part of Miss Rowley’s photographic experience. Students like me worked with students from other years at CHHS and senior citizens from the community to produce some fantastic photographic art around memories. This has been an enriching experience for me and all the other students young and old who took part.
At the end of the project, the artwork was exhibited around Stockport, with its opening day at Vernon Park Art Gallery, followed by exhibitions at each of the respective care homes. Residents and staff attended the opening exhibition to view their artwork with their Cheadle Hulme High School partners.
At the opening event the CHHS students donated £300 to social enterprise Life Story Network for people with memory loss. Anna Gaughan, CEO of the Life Story Network, who collected the cheque on behalf of the company said: “It’s amazing to have people of all ages come together to put memory into physical form. We talk about inter-generational work and this is exactly what we mean. Our whole philosophy is to promote the use of ‘stories’ on different levels to connect people and ensure that every individual has the capacity or potential to be remarkable. It illustrates that through our human contact there is so much more that potentially connects us than separates us – whether we are thinking about age, disability, gender or ethnicity. Stories are the oldest form of education”.
Pam Smith, our Chief Executive, who also visited the exhibition, commented: “As the Chief Executive lead for the Greater Manchester Ageing Strategy, I have a particular interest in projects such as this. It is a wonderful creative example of using digital to close the generation gap and improve people’s lives and the project has created treasured memories for everyone involved.”