XP School kids bridge the gap to older generations with acts of kindness

Anisa Yamani said she learnt plenty about the older generation as part of the XP School's collaboration with Age UK Doncaster
Anisa Yamani said she learnt plenty about the older generation as part of the XP School's collaboration with Age UK Doncaster

XP schoolchildren in Doncaster have been soaking up the experiences of older generations, while learning plenty at the same time, as part of an innovative program at the school.

The kids have given 'kindness boxes' to elderly people in Armthorpe and Sprotbrough, and both parties are changing their perceptions on the other generation.

Each year seven child was paired with an elderly resident and user of the charity Age UK Doncaster programme.

They interviewed their partner, getting insights into their interests and hobbies, before presenting them with a gift box.

Inside were items which reflected the partner's interests and tastes.

Boxes contained chocolate bars, key rings and notebooks.

XP teacher Gemma Thornton said the initiative was a hit with the kids and the older people.

"I like to think the elderly got a different perspective and the kids got a different perspective," Miss Thornton said.

Young Anisa Yamani, 12, said she got plenty out of it.

"I learnt that one act of kindness can make a real difference in people's lives," Anisa said.

Anisa's buddy is 94, and enjoyed travelling to places like India and Cornwall, so she painted a globe on her box.

Inside, there was Cornish chocolate and a keyring with an RAF plane on it.

Anisa said her partner 'got a bit teary' at the gesture.

"He was very appreciative and very surprised," she said.

"No one had ever done that for him before."

She enjoyed the feeling the gesture brought.

"It felt really good to know I'd done that for someone," Anisa said.

Anisa said she knew more about the previous generation after the experience.

"I learnt they have a lot of stuff to tell," she said.

"They can be very funny, and they have got a lot of stories to share."

Age UK Doncaster community services manager Colin Mockler said it was great to see the older people learn something about the younger kids, too.

The kids, he said, did a great job producing the boxes.

"They've really listened to the person they've been buddied up with," Mr Mockler said.

"The boxes they've produced have been so personalised."

He looked forward to the collaboration continuing.

"It's the beginning of a partnership that will continue," he said.

"We've worked very closely with XP and it's been fantastic for our service users."