More about Old Hands at Mudpies
Winning the People’s Millions will help London Play reduce social isolation among older people in Lewisham by involving them in a vibrant outdoor play project.
London Play and partners Assembly SE8 have inhabited and transformed – but not tamed – the old nature garden at the back of the abandoned Tidemill School in Deptford. It is a wild and exciting space where children come each Saturday afternoon to create, plant, dig, explore the pond, build treehouses or cook over an open fire. At ‘Mud Pies’ they play freely in a way that they can’t elsewhere in this very urban environment.
The 'Old Hands at Mud Pies' project is based on a simple truth: children and older people enjoy being around each other. Children’s energy and enthusiasm can be infectious and brings out the playful side in everyone. Older people have a lifetime’s experience to share and often as parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents, can quickly connect with children. However, some older people become isolated as their families move away and perhaps fear of crime, ill health or loss of confidence prevents them from forming new connections within their community. Meanwhile, in a borough with the highest proportion of single parents in London, many Deptford youngsters are missing the influence of older people in their lives.
This is an ideal setting in which to involve older people at a level they are comfortable with, be it planting and digging and building, or sharing childhood stories and games with young people. The sessions will make older people feel valued, energised and connected and give them a space to contribute their ideas and skills in an environment where their participation makes a difference.
Winning the People’s Millions will allow us to recruit skilled workers to reach out to older people and remove the barriers that prevent them developing wider community networks. They will contribute to a welcoming social space that recognises you are never too old to stay young at heart.