FRIENDS – A MOTHER & DAUGHTER PROJECT

“She’s like a friend sent from heaven. She keeps a secret like the last toy in the store. She’s just so special”

This intergenerational ‘diversity’ project was developed with and takes place at Beechill Primary School in Halifax. In September ’18, with the help of school staff, we set up an after-school group so we could bring together mums & their daughters for a creative workshop session. The theme of ‘friendship’ gave us a creative starting point to explore with the group how the girls and their mums feel about their relationship.

Some would say that friendship is about having fun together, enjoying each other’s company, learning from each other, encouraging, supporting and caring for each other, building memories and helping each other to grow. Maybe it is about opening ourselves up and allowing others to do the same. Friendship is when we build bridges to each other’s islands and realise that we are stronger and better as two or more than we are on our own. What’s important for us is to find out what these women and young people think about ‘friendship’ and how we feel about getting to know, and make friends with others from different social and / or cultural backgrounds.

For some, the project gave a chance to express their love for each other … but also gave space to explore and articulate any stresses and / or issues the girls and mums feel in their relationships with each other, and / or how hard it can be to make ‘friends’ … particularly as a new arrival to the school / community / the town / the UK.

Again, the families reflect the diverse cultural mix of Calderdale communities.

“Oh it was such a delightful session … It was joyous – the mix of the group is great and the mums being with their daughters I think both parties are really excited to see each other in a different way, and for some of the mums, to see themselves in a different way.”

“I want to see my Mum doing things she doesn’t normally do, I just see her doing ‘mum’ things’, that’s what I’m excited about!!”

“It has been hard for me, only being in U.K for 3 years, not making any friends, my confidence is so low. For me this is an opportunity to step out of my role in life and try new things, to meet new people and make new friends … and importantly, for my daughter to see me doing all these new things.”

When the session began, the Mums were a little unsure, as it is very much out of their comfort zone. Whereas the children were just unbelievably excited. But everyone wrote, and made art together, and all sang and spoke from their hearts about how they felt about the session.

In Year 2 we will be broadening and enhancing this project, to include thoughts and feelings, stories and reminiscences from mums and their daughters from across the borough of Calderdale! This will include reaching out to community groups, older people’s groups, schools, women’s groups etc.

“What’s the very best thing my mum has done for me? Spending time with me, hugging me, being with me, loving me with all her heart.” Amelia aged 10

A Daughter’s writing:

A good friend is …
Someone you play with and have fun with.
Someone that helps you.
Someone that makes you feel protected.
A good friend doesn’t lie to you
A person who loves you
Will always be with you.
Saves secrets like the last piece of cake in the fridge
But when they leave darkness takes place
Joy is no more.

A Mum’s writing:

A good friend is …
A person who is near your heart; Partner in sorrows and happiness.
Someone who supports you through thick and thin,
Someone who you will trust with your life
Someone who always gives you advice that helps you throughout life.
A shoulder to lean on for good, bad
Whom we connect with in any situation, heart to heart, soul to soul.

Thanks to funders Big Lottery Fund Community Foundation for Calderdaleand partners Square Chapel Arts Centre Project 1325 WomenCentre Home-Start Calderdale @beechhillsch

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