CREATIVE Health charity Independent Arts is hoping to bridge the generational divide by encouraging more older people in the Isle of Wight community to enjoy a game of chess. 

The charity is trialling the sessions again, at their Creative Hub on Saturday lunchtimes, following a National Lottery funded pilot last year.

This year, the sessions are funded by the McCarthy Stone Foundation, who recognised inter-generational chess was an interesting way to encourage older people, post pandemic, to feel confident about mixing with younger people.

The sessions — free to over 65s and U16s — take place between noon and 1.30pm, every Saturday, through to December 16. 

Children aged under 12 must be accompanied by an adult throughout the sessions. 

Everyone else is welcome, spaces permitting, for a suggested donation of £5. 

Independent Arts tutors JC and Cathy Grimshaw will be on hand to support beginners and to encourage a spirit of shared learning.

"Having a focus, such as a game of chess, is great as it takes the edge off the need to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger — because there is already a common interest," a spokesperson for the charity said.

Independent Arts also provides free hot drinks and a sandwich, which means that during the cost of living crisis, the most vulnerable have somewhere warm, safe and friendly to sit and make connections.

The charity also understands that for many parents, the opportunity for children to learn to play chess under supervision, in a non-school environment, is really beneficial to improving thinking skills and social skills.

The sessions take place at Independent Arts Creative Hub in Newport, where the charity also features exhibitions created during its other programme activities — all open to the public free of charge. 

On display until Christmas, is Art in Care Homes, a poignant exhibition curated by the arts team staff at the charity.

Pieces on display are selected from work over the past year, during arts workshops to residents of 13 Islandwide care homes.