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Slow road to spectacular community changes


Intergenerational work in East Wall INTRODUCTION

Next year is ‘European year on Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity’ and dozens of LCDP projects already support this work. Here we look at work in Cork and Dublin.

By Owen Binchy


elations between young and old had broken down in East Wall in Dublin and Nascadh CDP figured it was an important issue, but one that would take years of work. Now it’s paying off, writes project co-ordinator OWEN BINCHY: It took us five years to convince the older guys they would like intergenerational snooker. “Are you out of your mind?” they asked us when it was first mentioned. Now the intergenerational group has since Halloween played in three competitions. Everytime there is a competition now, the older guys just want to know when the next one will be. Interaction is spreading between younger and older people across the community. The feedback of what is happening on the street is amazing. Older people are no longer uncomfortable or scared going for example to the chipper. Because other teenagers have seen the


interaction, they’re now saying ‘Uh, how’s it going?’ to the older people. It’s a simple thing but it never happened before. They’re saying hello. When an older man goes into the chipper, he’s greeted with ‘How’s it goin’ Liamo!’ rather than the abuse that went on before. Older people are more at ease out and about. One older woman told me a group of local young people came up her and said. ‘You’re a legend.’ She was really chuffed. That type of interaction – as it becomes the norm – is priceless and now older people are changing their attitudes towards the young people. Our club for senior citizens has 20 regulars and half of them have very serious health complaints. A couple of them were given only a few months to live at different stages but they’re still with us and this project is really important to them. SLOW PROCESS But it’s been a very slow process. On paper you’d say that’s not worth the human resources, for instance working with 3-5 guys a day for a year. But finally the cycle of mistrust has been broken. We’ve linked up with Drumalee Social Housing complex which includes older people’s homes and we’re organising games of snooker with them. It’ll happen! CADBURY’S FUN GAMES Giant Jenga has also proven a big hit


with young and old. Cadbury’s now run fun games locally. Other popular games with us included welly-throwing and Nintendo Wii. (For more, check out: GARDA BAND We invited the Garda Band to perform here and it was a phenomenal hit. 250 people came along and everyone loved it from the children in Daisy Days Creche to the guys in the day care centre. For more info contact: Owen Binchy, Nascadh CDP, Sean O’Casey Community Centre, St Mary’s Road, East Wall, Dublin 3. T: 01-8893985. M: 087-0507634. E: East Wall media pilloring The East Wall has its share of crime, but the tabloid media have made things worse, labeling local children as “feral”. As Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign recently proved, the media can’t always get away with sensationalism and slandering of communities. The ‘Irish Independent’ was brought to task by the Press Ombudsman in June for stirring hatred against drug users. Nascadh CDP responded to negative coverage about East Wall by calling a half-day seminar on June 2nd to ask, “Can citizens and journalists work together to enhance the reputation of local communities and the image of young people?” Why I love being from East Wall Nascadh CDP ran an ‘East Wall For All Festival’ in May and, as with many of its projects, it was designed to be



The national magazine of the Local Community Development Programme - Inside this issue; Community Resilience, Mary Robinson, the Dalai Lama...


The national magazine of the Local Community Development Programme - Inside this issue; Community Resilience, Mary Robinson, the Dalai Lama...