Generations unite in show of community spirit

Helping to serve lunch were Stratford Primary School Pupils, from left, Ella Atherton-Crofts, Hetty Blanco, Wren Tracey, Amaya Atkins and Freya Short who are pictured with Stratford Mayor Cllr Kate Rolfe and Stratford Primary School head teacher Gill Humphriss.

A NEW initiative to help tackle loneliness in the community has been piloted by VASA and Stratford Primary School and it includes  that old favourite – the school dinner.

Six year six pupils at Stratford Primary served a delicious community lunch to elderly people living within the Broad Street area of Stratford last Wednesday which consisted of a roast with vegetables followed by dessert and songs by Stratford Primary Choir.

The objective was to bring people together in a different environment to have a natter and enjoy some traditional British food.

While the Primary School’s caterers cooked and plated up, pupils served the lunches on trays to around 16 diners including Stratford Mayor Cllr Kate Rolfe.

The importance of the get together can’t be overlooked because here was an initiative being launched for the first time with a view to rolling it out to other schools in the area.

VASA’s Sam McNaught Barrow who runs lunch clubs, groups  and activities said: “We have strong links with Stratford Primary School and most of the people invited to the lunch live close by so it was a good place to start and we will be talking to other schools to see if they want to get involved. VASA believes it’s important to address issues around loneliness and isolation and we do get referrals now from surgeries for people who need our support. The great thing about this lunch is it helps the community and breaks down barriers.

Emma McCappin from VASA added: “We plan to approach other schools across the district to role this model out. It would be a brilliant way of reaching isolated, older people living in close proximity to local schools and connecting the generations. And of course, helping community relationships between school and residents.”

Having finished her main course the Mayor of Stratford, Cllr Kate Rolfe said: “I hope every school takes up the initiative – it’s a brilliant idea.”

The event was also supported by Stratford Town Trust who were represented by Rachel Key.