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Magic Me Bethnal Green charity pipped at post for Liberty human rights award

PUBLISHED: 15:01 26 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:01 26 October 2017

Magic Me's 'Stepney Stories' project where care home residents reminisce with John Scurr Primary schoolchildren. Picture: Roxene Anderson

Magic Me's 'Stepney Stories' project where care home residents reminisce with John Scurr Primary schoolchildren. Picture: Roxene Anderson

Roxene Anderson

An education charity praised by judges for bringing east London schoolchildren together with pensioners on inter-generation projects has been pipped at the post for a national Liberty Human Rights award.

The Magic Me team with Liberty's director Martha Spurrier at Royal Court Theatre where Human Rights awards were given. Picture: Deborah Mason The Magic Me team with Liberty's director Martha Spurrier at Royal Court Theatre where Human Rights awards were given. Picture: Deborah Mason

The ‘Magic Me’ charity in Bethnal Green which has been running two projects in Tower Hamlets schools this year was put forward for the ‘arts’ category, but just missed it at the final hurdle announced last night at the Royal Court theatre.

“Sadly we didn’t win, but were thrilled to be nominated,” Magic Me’s director Susan Langford told the East London Advertiser after the awards.

“We all felt like winners just to be nominated alongside so many amazing organisations working in the human rights and civil liberties.”

The Liberty judges praised Magic Me for “their range of inventive work that challenges stigma, crosses social and cultural divides and celebrates human connections”.

Magic Me's 'Decorum' project on women in the 21st century, bringing pupils from Mulberry Secondary together with pensioners. Picture: Roxene Anderson Magic Me's 'Decorum' project on women in the 21st century, bringing pupils from Mulberry Secondary together with pensioners. Picture: Roxene Anderson

But they awarded the ‘arts’ category to Inua Ellams for his ‘evening with an immigrant’, which examines his story and Britain’s complex relationship with immigration.

The Magic Me organisation, which has been in the East End for 30 years, works with schools and care homes bringing generations together.

Pupils from John Scurr Primary joined residents at Stepney’s Hawthorn Green care home earlier this year to work on a Stepney Stories project.

The charity’s current project has girls from Mulberry Secondary in Whitechapel together with older women to explore what “good behaviour” means in the 21st century.

It was also commissioned last year by Public Health Tower Hamlets to help solve isolation and loneliness in the East End, stressing that “age should be no barrier to creative participation” and recognising older people as an asset not a burden on society.

Arts are used to get generations working face-to-face in the community with programmes and workshops by professional musicians, dancers, artists and drama specialists.

One project called ‘cocktails in care homes’ has volunteers dropping in to care homes for “a night out” to bring something of the outside world to residents’ lives.

Schoolchildren and teenagers who get involved, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, benefit by learning new social skills and working with professional artists.

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