Memory Makers is an award winning intergenerational project working with young people who volunteer to create a record of memories.Memory Makers started in 2014 with the concept of bringing together the young and the old, students from the local Academy school volunteered to interview and record the memories of their Storyteller and then create a Memory book for the Storyteller to keep.
The idea of the book came from working with people in our local community living with dementia and how a book on their life could help with future care as well as being an excellent prop to help with reminiscence.
With the assistance of an adult volunteer, a group of 4 or 5 young people interview their Storyteller, over a period of several months. Along with photos and other sourced pictures, a brief but factual written account of the Storyteller’s life is put together in a book. As well as the shared pleasure involved in the creation of the book, the students were aware of the importance the books could potentially have.
The students have ranged in age from 12 – 15 and each group was asked at the beginning if they thought they had anything in common with someone in their 60s. They all said ‘no’. By the end of the sessions, when asked the same question, they all said ‘yes’. They realised there were many things that could be enjoyed regardless of your age, that likes and dislikes can be universal. Some of the students have developed such a bond that they keep in touch with their Storyteller by letter. Some students have also gone on to take part in other voluntary activities or have decided to volunteer for Memory Makers a second time.
Seeing the relationships that have grown from this project over time is really heart warming . We are growing and changing how Memory Makers operates making memory boards instead of books, but at the heart of it, bridging the gap between the generations is key and the realisation that no matter what age you are you are you can always learn something new and have things in common.