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An Afternoon Tea with a difference was on the menu last week when Newry and Mourne Youth Council in partnership with Southern AgeWell Network hosted a Virtual Afternoon Tea party for older people in Newry and the surrounding area.

This was an intergenerational project that has been in the works since Christmas with the aim to bring young and old people together in a Covid Friendly setting. The event itself included tea sets kindly supplied by the Velveteen Rabbit Café and these kits, along with craft packs, were delivered to the homes of those involved. Performances from members of the council took place with live singing and poetry being featured. This Zoom Tea Party had breakout rooms among the 50 participants (25 young people/ 25 older people) to allow for better communication and social interaction.

Marie Byrne with her afternoon tea box and activity pack delivered right to the door
Marie Byrne with her afternoon tea box and activity pack delivered right to the door

The Newry & Mourne Youth Council is a group of young people who act as a representative voice of young people from the Newry & Mourne area. We develop social action programmes based on issues identified by young people as important to them. The group are supported by the Education Authority Youth Service and are based at the Youth Resource Centre, Carnbane in Newry. Normally, the event would occur at this location but we’ve had to adapt to allow for a more Covid Friendly experience. In recent times, young people have been faced with constant criticism and it is our hope, to break this anti-social stigma with our ‘Connectea’ experience. 

Everyone on screen ready for an enjoyable afternoon

It has been a difficult year with both old and young people isolated from their family, friends and caregivers and the topic of loneliness has been a prevalent factor in discussions regarding mental health in the pandemic. Staying in touch with family and friends remotely was the main way those aged 60 years and over said they were coping whilst staying at home, followed by gardening, reading and exercise, with those aged in their 60s and 70s equally as likely as younger age groups to say that exercise was helping them to cope. With this event, we had hoped to enable both age groups to develop an understanding of the difficulties that each other faced throughout the pandemic while having some sweet treats and activities. 

Musical entertainment from Pearse Larkin
Musical entertainment from Pearse Larkin

As a Youth Council, we view this as a very much needed event in terms of providing support and aid for those struggling throughout the lockdown and we hope in the future to do more intergenerational projects, hopefully in person. Our next event is closer to home as we aim to protect our own mental health and wellbeing through a 5K walk followed by a pamper care package for the young people involved. 

For more details on the Newry & Mourne Youth Council and other events we run please contact the Youth Council Co-Ordinator, Rosie Carey, Senior Youth Worker with Education Authority NI on 028 3025 1515 or rosie.carey@eani.org.uk

 

 

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