Cheers to Bo’ness caring project with Deanburn pupils

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An inspiring intergenerational link, which showcases Bo’ness at its caring best, has won a prestigious national award – the Moderator’s Prize.

Cafe Connect has linked Deanburn Primary School and Bo’ness Old Kirk after children with additional support needs were introduced to older members of the congregation.

Their shared goal was to start their own eaterie where a chat and a bite to eat was the main attraction.

Yet that was not all that was on the menu when P1s to P4s were bussed into the church hall.

For clever Cafe Connect also allowed pupils to develop vital life skills and practise their social skills – while keeping isolation at bay for all.

It was soon extended to include all the school’s pupils in the enhanced provision classes and runs in the very same format, which incorporates singing, activities, outings and parties.

A delighted Rev. Amanda MacQuarrie said: “It has been an absolute privilege and honour to work together with the school on this project.

“Before snacks, the children share something they’ve been learning at school with the adults, maybe teaching us a song

“After snacks, we usually do some activities like jigsaws.These support the children in their learning and are great fun for the adults too.”

“It’s enabling us to show that we really care, sharing God’s love with them in a tangible way and building on the relationship between the school and the church.

“The feeback from school and parents has been amazing and they are already seeing differences in the children and the adults, many of whom come because of bereavement or illness and find company and friendship.”

Deanburn head teacher Lois Cassidy said: “I am absolutely delighted that Cafe Connect has won the Moderator’s Prize this year and am pleased that this small project has been recognised as having a great impact for both the church and school communities.

“The pupils are learning about the importance of sharing and how to be respectful as they work together and engage with older people.”

The winning partnership received a Moderator’s Medal and a cheque for £500.