Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Promoting intergenerational volunteering

Twelve projects across England have been awarded grants as part of a £5.5 million cross-Government scheme to promote intergenerational volunteering and encourage meaningful interaction between young and old generations.

The ‘Generations Together’ campaign, aims to break down barriers between young people and older people and help them engage with each other on equal terms through mutually beneficial voluntary projects. The projects will bring together young people and other members of the community to build trust and understanding, develop community solutions to issues which concern both groups, promote health and wellbeing and resolve tensions by helping to address negative perceptions of young and older people alike. The UK population now has more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 16. As England’s social demographic changes, it is increasingly important that young and older people are encouraged to interact, and spend more time learning from each other’s experiences and skills. Funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office, the Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions, the scheme which is also supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government invited bids from all English local authorities involving third sector organisations. The 12 winning bids will establish volunteer projects which build positive connections across local communities between young and old people. Successful initiatives range from plans to use Portsmouth’s nautical and maritime heritage to bring together older and young people in a series of programmes and events to programmes addressing widening gaps in tolerance between young and older people in Wakefield. The winning 12 projects are:

Ealing (London)
Gateshead (North East)
Hammersmith and Fulham (London)
Luton (East of England)
Northamptonshire (East Midlands)
Manchester (North West)
Plymouth (South West)
Portsmouth (South East)
Reading (South East)
Somerset (South West)
Wakefield (Yorkshire and Humber)
Worcestershire (West Midlands)

Iin many countries traditionally there have been strong links between the oldest and youngest generations. Grandparents are playing a key role in upbringing again as we have frequently reported so it is good to see initiatives like this.

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