MAKING MEMORIES IN HOLGATE

In an effort to intersect the company, hobbies, and stories of a range of generations in the Holgate Ward, award winning York based charity New Visuality sourced young people from St Paul’s Square Creative Club and introduced them to the staff who run York Bridge Club. The result was an instant success. Initially baffled by what they thought was going to be a game of snap, the young people quickly cottoned on to just how entertaining and fulfilling a proper game of Bridge is, especially when guided by the likes of Mark Dunkley and Azizah Clayton. Says 11 year old Nico, “As soon as we arrived we were met with smiles and a can of Coke each. And then they told us how to play. Azizah was really nice as she helped us learn bit by bit and encouraged us to use the skills we learn in Maths at School.”

It is this aspect of Bridge which not only enthused the young people and the charity’s project manager Arran Leith, but also forms the corner stone of Azizah’s approach to encouraging young people to visit York Bridge Club and even bring the game to local schools. Says Azizah, “This group was so lovely, and it was great to see them make themselves at home. Bridge had them all busy all morning. For children who think they are afraid of Maths, a few games of Bridge is perfect. You use numbers quickly and confidently. you add them, divide them, you observe and deduce – it’s like a maths lesson but round a table, playing a game!”
New Visuality teacher Arran Leith was delighted with how the 7 members benefited from the introduction to Bridge, not just in terms of consolidating Mathematical skills, but across the board. “The atmosphere here is great, the members are delightful and love hearing our stories, and were very generous with their own time. It was this that really stood out for me, the social aspect of it. At a time when an unparalleled amount of young people are reaching for their devices to play games, this was a happy shock to the system. The socialising side of it was perfect, and we could have stayed there all day.”
York Bridge Club welcomes people of all ages. Azizah has noticed that young people get along with experienced members very well, and love playing Bridge with increasing sophistication. She is keen to urge an incremental approach, however. “‘Mini Bridge is the perfect place to start,” she says, “It’s not too taxing and it encourages a social side to the game. The academic benefits are obvious across the board. Skills are developed across the board in logic, memory, recall, and mental agility.”
Arran agrees, “It’s almost as if now we’ve hit peak device addiction a game has come along based on cards and brain power! But Bridge has been around for a long time, over 200 years, and we’re just grateful for the staff and volunteers here at Holgate for the warm welcome. We will definitely be back, all of the kids have had a wonderful time, and I urge teachers and governors at local schools to book some time with York Bridge Club. The staff who run the club are wonderful people with some wonderful stories, and it’s a great game with gifts that go right across the curriculum.”
New Visuality ‘Shared Stories’ is an ongoing project funded by City of York Council’s Holgate Ward

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