Community project to bring the young and old together and create a better understanding, both age groups have much to learn from each other.’
The poster had only very recently appeared on the noticeboard at Albany Court. Eddie stood browsing while he waited for a lift, leaning on his stick. He laughed to himself. At 80, he doubted there was much anyone could teach him now.
When the lift arrived, Eddie returned to his flat. He placed his walking stick in the hall stand and hung his coat on its hook. Sitting in his favourite armchair, he prepared to watch the lunchtime news. His eyes were drawn to the photo of his two grandsons, their tanned faces smiling back at him, a surfboard propped up between them. They had lived in New Zealand for the past six years and Eddie missed them terribly. Later, that evening Eddie took the lift back downstairs to join the weekly residents meeting in the communal lounge.
It wasn’t long before he spotted Maddie, the local community liaison officer striding purposefully towards him. Albany Court was the local sheltered housing complex and home to an assortment of gentle elderly folk. Gentle, that was, until the subject of Chapel Vale, the local senior school in the next street was mentioned.
Every morning and every evening, all 600 pupils would spill into Albany Close on their way to and from school. None of the residents were happy with all the noise and upset this caused. Eddie, a little more tolerant than most, had been given short shrift when he had suggested that there was no malice intended and they were just doing what kids do. Now Maddie was desperate to persuade him to join in with the community project scheme and pair up with one of them.
‘Come on Maddie, I’ve plenty of community spirit already,’ said Eddie.
‘If you were to help maybe some of the other residents would come on board too, they value your opinion,’ Maddie pleaded her case.
‘I can’t see why a youngster would want to spend time with an old fella like me, but if you think it will help us get along better, I’ll give it a go,’ Eddie finally gave in, much to Maddie’s delight.
‘Thank you so much Mr Stannard, you really are a star. And it’s only one day a week and will give you something to fill your time.’ Now she could return to the office, triumphant that project Generation Gap was good to go.
When the Albany Court residents’ complaints were raised again at Chapel Vale during assembly the next day, there was a groan of annoyance at the injustice of it all.
‘We only have to walk past the old folk’s home and they tell us to get lost, Sir,’ a disgruntled Robbie Adams piped up. He couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. All he’d done was kick a ball.
As the pupils filed back to class Mr Jackman the deputy head called across to Robbie, ‘Come to my office at breaktime, Robbie. I need to talk to you.’
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