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Create intergenerational projects

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01. Background

This factsheet provides you with information on how to create intergenerational projects and activities in your community.

Younger and older people are the two groups most affected by ageist attitudes and marginalisation in our society. The evidence shows that they feel they are widely portrayed in a negative light by the media.

Intergenerational approaches can positively contribute across a whole range of areas affecting your community by

  • building active communities
  • promoting citizenship
  • reducing levels of crime and fear of crime through greater understanding between generations
  • regenerating neighbourhoods
  • addressing inequality

All of these can contribute to the development of a sustainable community.

02. Suggested Activities

Here are some activities to get you started in developing an intergenerational project in your community:

Step 1. Identify the issue(s) that you want to address in your community. For example this could be young people hanging out in the streets, older people isolated in their homes, anti-social behaviour, litter, negative media reporting etc.

Step 2. Check out how intergenerational practice can help and what can be achieved through taking an intergenerational approach. Vist the Guide to Intergenerational Practice at www.centreforip.org.uk/res/documents/page/BJFGuidetoIPV2%20%2028%20Mar%202011.pdf.

Step 3. Use your networks to support partnership working across an area.

Step 4. Define and design your intergenerational project, use the project planning in Creating Connections, Breaking Down Barriers toolkit, pages 7-9. Visit the toolkit here www.centreforip.org.uk/res/documents/page/ManchesterIPToolkit1.pdf.

Step 5. Plan how you will prepare the different age-groups separately before bringing them together, making sure that you have planned ice-breakers and activities to ensure that the groups mix; a range of toolkits are available to help with this aspect on the Centre’s website www.centreforip.org.uk/resources/toolkits-and-guides

Enable both older and younger people to be involved in the design and delivery of projects/activities so that there is shared ownership and buy-in from both generations.

Step 6. Always assess what you have done, find simple ways to evaluate, to ensure that you learn from experiences so that you can improve your work on an ongoing basis.  Information on evaluating intergenerational projects can be found in the resources section of the Centre for Intergenerational Practice website at www.centreforip.org.uk/resources.

Some suggested activities for you to focus on could include:

  • A skills exchange: older people support younger people to cook, create CV’s, read, knit etc and younger people support older people with IT to use mobile phones, computers, access the internet, Wii etc.
  • Create community garden, allotment or space.
  • Cookery/food: growing food, nutrition, learning to cook e.g. older and younger males learning recipes together.
  • Community events e.g. intergenerational quizzes, street parties, festival of ages.
  • Sports activities e.g. intergenerational Tai Chi, Wii sessions, archery, bowls.
  • Arts: create public art mural at a park, shopping centre, bus stop etc. intergenerational choir and theatre groups.
  • Community Media e.g. radio, positive images campaign.
  • Buddy/befriending: young people support older people to access activities in the evenings by calling and escorting them to local clubs/groups and address fear of crime issues amongst community.
  • Local history and sense of place: understanding the heritage of your locality and the diverse people that live around you.
  • Intergenerational forum: discuss local issues and come up with ideas for activities and events to offer solutions.

Visit some of the other factsheets in this toolkit to help you develop your projects.

03. Additional Information

The success of intergenerational work is determined by:

  • understanding your communities’ needs
  • careful planning to bridge the generational and cultural divide
  • recruitment, involvement and ownership by participants
  • group composition and sharing ground rules
  • the right marketing
  • activities for getting to know each other
  • partnership working
  • measuring and reviewing what you do to improve future practice

The Centre for Intergenerational Practice reviews funding and reports on potential funding areas for intergenerational projects/activities through its quarterly newsletter and via e-bulletins. Newsletters can be accessed on the website at  www.centreforip.org.uk/resources/newsletters and you can join the network to receive updates at www.centreforip.org.uk/join-cip.

04. Funding Opportunities

For information on funding your activities, please visit the ‘Fundraising‘ factsheet which outlines key funding practices, and the Directory which provides up to date information on current funding opportunities. Don’t forget to speak to your funding advisor at your local development agencies. Full contacts details for all locla development agencies can be found in the Directory.

05. Useful Contacts

The Centre for Intergenerational Practice website has a variety of free resources that can support you in planning and delivering your intergenerational projects and activities:

  • information on what intergenerational practice is
  • case studies
  • useful links
  • guides and toolkits

All information and contact details can be found on their website www.centreforip.org.uk.

06. About the Contributor

The information in this factsheet has been kindly written by the Centre for Intergenerational Practice, who aim to support the development and promotion of intergenerational practice as a catalyst for social change. The Centre is an initiative of the Beth Johnson Foundation, www.bjf.org.uk.

This factsheet is part of the Brighter Futures Together toolkit and provides a general overview of the different ways to get involved in your community. It is not a comprehensive guide or legal advice document. Please seek further advice and appropriate consent before commencing any projects.

The material in the factsheet is not copyrighted however we ask that you acknowledge the Brighter Futures Together toolkit when you use them. www.brighterfuturestogether.co.uk