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Spirit of Youth and Older Residents to Stage a Shakespeare Play With Help of Grant

Published on: 18 May, 2023
Updated on: 20 May, 2023

There is often a special bond between younger and older generations.

By Alice Fowler

More elderly people in Surrey will benefit from Guildford Shakespeare Company’s acclaimed Spirit of Youth drama programme, thanks to a generous grant from the Gatwick Foundation Fund.

GSC has received £5,000 from the fund, which will enable children from Salfords Primary School in Redhill to work with residents at Greensands House care home, also in Redhill, to stage one of Shakespeare’s plays.

The programme helps elderly people to feel less isolated, as well as giving children from less advantaged primary schools access to drama and help in building their listening skills.

Kerrie Driscoll, GSC’s creative learning producer, said: “We are thrilled to be awarded this grant. By linking primary school children with a care home, participants share their experiences and stories, as they convert Shakespeare’s words into their own. Despite the age gap between them, both groups have a real desire to listen and engage.”

We are all children at heart.

Spirit of Youth has been running since 2018, with each course led by professional drama facilitators from GSC, in consultation with school and care-home staff.

The funding will enable GSC to launch the next two ten-week courses. Once a week, in a safe and a risk-free environment, the children and adults will work together to create a 30–40-minute version of a Shakespeare play, which is then performed to family, friends and the wider community.

The primary school pupils are also teamed up with residents, so they have a buddy during the course, which enables them to tell each other stories and to listen and learn.

Previous plays have included Hamlet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, enabling children to get a head start on their knowledge of Shakespeare before they start secondary school.

The experience also helps elderly residents to overcome shyness, boost their confidence and improve their mobility.

GSC was just one of the Surrey community groups celebrating this week as London Gatwick announced the recipients of £33,000 from round one of the Gatwick Foundation Fund, set up in 2016 to fight social isolation and tackle disadvantage.

Melanie Wrightson, stakeholder engagement manager at London Gatwick, said: We know that the funding we have provided for these local grassroots community and voluntary projects, including the Guildford Shakespeare Company, will make a real difference to people’s lives as they continue to work tirelessly during the current cost of living crisis.”

The Gatwick Foundation Fund is managed on behalf of London Gatwick in Surrey by the Community Foundation for Surrey.

The next deadline to express an interest in applying for funding is 9am on 12 June. To apply for funding from the Gatwick Foundation Fund in Surrey, please go to:

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