Page last updated at 06:08 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 07:08 UK

Old and young help each other out

By Denise Glass
Tayside reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Hayley and Lisa
Hayley and Lisa will help take the older people to the pantomime

Young and old are getting together in Dundee to prove they aren't really generations apart.

It is happening at the Boomerang project in Stobswell where teenagers are shaking off traditional stereotypes to help elderly people in their area.

The group already takes pensioners to Christmas pantomimes, but now with almost 90,000 of Lottery money they are going to develop a befriending service.

Project manager Neil Ellis explained: "It's where local folk look after local folk - bring back the community spirit there used to be years ago when neighbours looked out for one another.

"They'll befriend the elderly and disabled within the area, just do basic things for them.

"Also, when folk come out of hospital they'll get bread and milk for them coming home.

"It's bringing the generations back together again so that they find out more about each other's lives."

Lisa Ballie, 15, is one of the young volunteers.

She said: "When we went to Perth last year we took them to the shops and then the pantomime.

Peter Keith
Peter Keith believes young and old are learning from each other
"I know a lot of people think that young people are just idiots, but with this group it shows that we're not."

Hayley Glen, 16, added: "A lot of old people feel scared of young people walking along the streets but if we're taking them out and stuff they'll get used to us.

"I'd encourage them [other teenagers] to do it because we have a good laugh and it stops you from being out on the streets."

And 80-year-old Peter Keith is certain that both age groups are benefitting.

He said: "In the past years its been sort of 'man mind thyself' - everybody's been concerned about looking after their own interests.

"It's not like when I was younger - the people looked after one another. Poverty was rife but whatever the people had they shared with one another.

"So, it's great to see the youth going in and talking with the elderly, helping them and running errands for them.

"They're getting as much from the elderly as they're giving to the elderly, because the elderly pass on what they've learned in their life.

"And what amazes me is the fact that they seem to be taking it on board."


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