Carrickvale Family Project, Saughton Mains, Edinburgh
In recent years Carrickvale Community Education Centre has offered family projects - originally to parents and children, but now including grandparents and extended family members. There is an exciting range of activities. Particularly popular is music and fashion across the ages as it stimulates discussion on how attitudes to young people have or haven’t changed. Also family trips, to the Metro Centre, Falkland Palace and the Secret Bunker, for example, offer a rich source of stimulation. Action-packed activities like go-karting at Knockhill is also greatly appreciated, although horse-riding is more of a challenge for some of the adults!
Families are now enjoying trying out activities that young people enjoy. Keyboard classes, offered to groups of 12 in ten-week blocks, are always full, and family guitar lessons are at the planning stage. The Archery Academy is also highly successful. Over the course of a week, families together learn the skills, the techniques and the safety requirements, and compete against each other. The young people enjoy being able to teach their elders and their families enjoy surprising them with their prowess!
Carrickvale Community Education Centre provides a varied range of educational and leisure activities and programmes for the local community. The Centre is planning to continue to target families with keyboard classes, family trips and the Archery Academy. It is also going to build on its success and is open to suggestions from the community for new programmes. Funding comes from a number of sources, including the Centre’s own budget, the Community Learning and Development Area Team and the Neighbourhood Partnership.
What we have learned
The family projects have confirmed that everyone benefits when families work and learn together. Every age group has its own unique contribution to make and yet each also discovers how much is shared - the same fears, disappointments, excitement and exhilaration that come from joint learning experiences.
The main challenge is funding. Although the activities are popular and successful, funders are often unwilling to provide ongoing support. Also it involves effort and time to attend to the practicalities - bringing groups together, finding venues, organising transport and meeting safety requirements. Also it is a challenge to attract groups who do not think these projects are ‘for them’, perhaps because they fail to see the benefits of learning alongside other family members.
* Changing attitudes between the generations from suspicion to mutual respect
* An increased level of respect for what the Centre can do
* Families helping each other learn and communicating their feelings, beliefs and experiences.
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