Generations join for ‘Changes in a Flash’

Local shool childrenKelly Murray, Jamie McClarry and Ben Morrow with facilitators of the Be Safe Be Well project "Changes in a flash". (1604Jb32)
Local shool childrenKelly Murray, Jamie McClarry and Ben Morrow with facilitators of the Be Safe Be Well project "Changes in a flash". (1604Jb32)

Younger and older people joined at the weekend to celebrate the completion of an “innovative, intergenerational project” tackling anti-social behaviour.

The ‘Changes in a Flash’ six-week project involved five younger and five older people who were joined by family and friends at the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre on Friday.

The project’s aim was to raise awareness among both generations about antisocial behaviour through the medium of photography.

It was a joint project funded by the ‘Be Safe Be Well’ programme and Limavady PSNI neighbourhood policing team.

The project evolved when Inspector Jennifer Hudson recognised the need to educate younger people in the impact and consequences of antisocial behaviour on both, themselves, their victims and their communities. She recognised an innovative approach was required to engage with younger people and help them to understand the impact of antisocial behaviour.

The project is in its third year and this year saw the edition of a personal development coach, Tim Shiels, who was responsible for the overall delivery of the project.

“The project enabled participants to develop a greater sense of identity and establish a heightened sense of personal ownership for their lives. We believe that these factors will encourage them in making positive lifestyle choices and make a positive impact in their local communities,” said Mr. Shiels.

Another dimension to the project was the introduction of five older people to the project, who acted as mentors to the young people and provided a valuable insight into the affect of antisocial behaviour on elderly victims.

Mixing the two generations also helped to break down the barriers that often exist between younger and older people and to make new friends, said organisers.

The 10 participants were provided with digital cameras and photography training by tutor, Rachel Cassidy. Rachel, PSNI officers, Be Safe Be Well staff and the Neighbourhood Renewal Officer visited two different locations across Limavady Borough and one in Derry. The aim of the visits was to educate the participants on the unique affect that ASB and criminal damage had on the respective area and also to highlight the very positive impact of community development initiatives.

Speaking about the project, Inspector Hudson said: “This project is part of an engagement process to build community confidence in our ability to deal with anti-social behaviour and for the community to understand what anti-social behaviour is and break down the barriers between generations.”

Catherine Orr, Project Coordinator Be Safe Be Well Programme, said: “Intergenerational work is key to the outcomes of the ‘Be Safe Be Well’ programme, as is the need to reduce the fear of crime for older people and to make younger people feel safer in their communities.”

Further information about the ‘Changes in a Flash’ project can be obtained via the Be Safe Be Well programme staff on 02871 338125.