Pam Matthews is calling on Bundy people to become Granfriends and help kids learn to sew, knit, do craft and read.
Pam Matthews is calling on Bundy people to become Granfriends and help kids learn to sew, knit, do craft and read. Mike Knott

Challenge of the ages

IT MIGHT seem like it's all about high-tech gadgets for youngsters these days, but one volunteer group is setting out to show there are plenty of valuable things our kids can learn from older generations.

The Granfriends program, an initiative of Older People Speak Out (OPSO), aims to bridge the generation gap by teaching children skills such as knitting, sewing, reading, spelling, creative writing, crochet, embroidery, chess, craft work, storytelling, dancing, debating and drama.

And organisers are looking for some volunteers in Bundaberg.

Granfriends Queensland co-ordinator Blanche O'Connor said when OPSO began the project in 2008, it asked a cross-section of primary school children what they wanted to learn.

"The response was surprising - boys and girls alike asked for sewing," Ms O'Connor said.

"Most said their mothers did not know how to sew and the children wanted to know how to put up the hems on their jeans and sew buttons on their clothes."

Ms O'Connor said the program had been a great success and now it was coming to Bundaberg.

"Children soon learned that our volunteer Granfriends had a lot more to offer," she said.

"They are delighted when they make gifts for their family and friends such as coin purses, teddy bears, bookmarks, embroidered cushions, coat hangers and crochet scarves."

Bundaberg woman Pam Matthews has been appointed as the local co-ordinator for the program and said she hoped to see people volunteer.

"We're looking for people with some time on their hands who can help the kids with things that are either an interest or something they are having problems with," Mrs Matthews said.

The former school teacher said people who could help children with spelling, reading and writing were also being sought.

"While there are computers around now for the kids, if you can't read or spell a bit, you can't use a computer," she said.

"Kids who don't read get left behind."



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