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Old folk running a Grand Fest in Spitalfields and Shoreditch teaching traditional skills

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 June 2016

Hipster replacments... younger generation learning how it's done from their seniors at London's first older people's festival being held in Spitalfields and Shoreditch [photos: Michael Crabtree]

Hipster replacments... younger generation learning how it's done from their seniors at London's first older people's festival being held in Spitalfields and Shoreditch [photos: Michael Crabtree]

Michael Crabtree

The old folk are taking over east London today to show the younger ‘digital’ generation a thing or two about traditional home skills.

Skilled septuagenarians met Duchess of Cornwall at Geffrye Museum in April for launch of GrandFest 2016 by Royal Voluntary ServiceSkilled septuagenarians met Duchess of Cornwall at Geffrye Museum in April for launch of GrandFest 2016 by Royal Voluntary Service

They’re running Sunday masterclasses all day on the crafts that are in danger of vanishing as society goes more and more high-tech.

The GrandFest takes place at venues in Spitalfields and Shoreditch as a one-day mini festival staged by the older people’s charity Royal Voluntary Service.

It aims to celebrate the heritage skills that youngster generations don’t seem to have—basic things like sewing and dressmaking, for example.

The masterclasses also include breadmaking, crochet and woodturning, which are taking over cafés and shops in and around Spitalfields Market and at the Geffrye Museum in the Kingsland Road.

Running the classes are those who’ve never lost those skills, none of whom will see 70 again.

GrandFest’s very own GrandMakers, all over 70, are sharing fountains of knowledge and inspiring younger folk who often can’t put a thread to a needle.

They’re giving back something to society for all the help many pensioners receive from the Royal Voluntary Service, one of the biggest volunteer organisations in Britain whose 35,000 volunteers are supporting 100,000 older people each month.

The charity runs services such as ‘Good Neighbours’ for companionship, Meals-on-Wheels and Books-on-Wheels that alleviate loneliness and help older people. It also provides practical support for pensioners who have been in hospital through its ‘On Ward’ support and ‘Home from Hospital’ services and with its network of charity shops and cafés.

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