Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


"Social isolation remains a key issue to address in care homes. It’s a startling fact that over 60 per cent of residents in care homes never receive visitors. This has a huge impact on their health, well-being and even life expectancy." Professor Johnson, Bath University
Spirit of Youth

Our Spirit of the Youth project is inspired by Channel 4's Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds and an existing American scheme, in which residents and children are brought together to transform the physical, social and emotional well-being of the old volunteers.

GSC runs after-school Drama Clubs in local Primary Schools. Over the course of a term, we explore a Shakespeare play; putting the story and its characters into the children's own words. As they prepare for their final performance to friends and family, the group create characters and use their imaginations to work and play as a team. Over the course of a year, a child can learn three stories and if they stay with us for four years, they will go to Secondary schools having learnt as many as twelve of Shakespeare's plays.

“Predominately when you get very old you become less mobile, friends die, and you can’t get out to meet people. If you live in a care home, the only younger people you see every day are staff. That’s why depression is the epidemic of old age, and it’s important for us to present opportunities for them to meet young people.” Bath University

Spirit of Youth will build on the mission of our Sprites Clubs but will take ten children from a local disadvantaged school to a local residential care home. Over the course of ten weeks, the children and adults will explore a Shakespeare story together. Under the guidance of two workshop facilitators, they will work together to create a 15-20 minute version of the chosen Shakespeare play which will then be performed to family, friends and the wider community within the care-home itself.

“Children are open-minded. They love attention and take an interest in adults. At the same time, children learn quite mature skills from adults, so this intergenerational engagement is reciprocal.” Bath University

Spirit of Youth will provide a unique opportunity for the young and old to form new bonds and relationships, as they work towards a common-goal. Our participants will naturally share their own experiences and stories, as they convert Shakespeare’s words into their own and switch the historical context to situations they can all relate to. The addition of our facilitators, as well as fun costumes and props will help the group play together. The elderly and the children alike will be able to challenge and enjoy themselves in a risk-free environment.

This project would cost £3,200 per term and would provide the following:

• 90 minutes of drama for 10 disadvantaged children aged 6-7, and 10 older people in a retirement home per week over the course of 10 weeks. Total participation time 15 hrs.
• Two experienced facilitators to work with the participants and direct the production.
• Opportunities for the young to inspire the elderly whilst having their own learning supported.
• Pride for both age groups in the performing of final project.
• Reduction in loneliness, depression and despair amongst the elderly.
• Increase of mobility, confidence and cognitive functions amongst the elderly.
• Development of confidence, communication, empathy and listening skills in the young.
• Professionally taken photos, to keep as souvenirs.
• A GSC-led impact study, which will be forwarded to schools, residential homes and other care-providers as evidence for the inclusion of similar projects.

“Physically, you become cautious as you get older and much less mobile. You can't change arthritis or hip problems, but you can increase confidence and, with the help and encouragement of the children, we saw our older folks doing things they never imagined they'd do again: jumping, dancing and rolling around on the floor.” Bath University

Guildford Shakespeare Company

Moment of Pride

The well-being of the community is at the heart of our work. We have many links with disadvantaged and socially-excluded children, but this will mark our first time of working with excluded adults. We have seen the impact our clubs can have and want to share that joy with those most in need of it.

Location: Guildford