Old folk and students to learn from each other

The hustings at Portsmouth College - from left:  David Carpenter (college governor), Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dems), Ian McCulloch (Green), Steve Fitzgerald (college teacher and chair), Stephen Morgan (Labour), Kevan Chippindall-Higgin (Ukip) and Penny Mordaunt (Cons)   Picture: Heather Eggelton

Parliamentary candidates grilled by students at Portsmouth College debate

A pilot project to teach technology to older people and life skills to students is set to begin later this year.

Portsmouth Students' Union was handed a 15,000 grant from Portsmouth City Council to pioneer the 'mutual education programme' with the city's older residents.

The money will be used to help local pensioners learn computer basics and digital photography.

In return, students will learn how to grow their own vegetables, cook meals and create hand-made gifts.

It is a skills swap which is hoped will benefit both sets of people.

The project will run from November to March, starting with 40 volunteer students and older people.

Project organiser Richard Wiltshire said: 'We are really pleased that the project is going ahead.

'The skills swap is a really good idea, but the extra benefit is that we can get to mix with older people in the city we'd never usually meet. It's a really good way to integrate the two communities.'

This month the union held a spring lunch at the John Pounds Centre, with students waiting on older guests.

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