17 Mar 2009

The Children's Society marked three years of success in reducing conflict between young and older residents in Greenwich by holding a celebration on Tuesday 17 March. At the event, held at the Greenwich West Community Arts Centre, a new toolkit was launched to help professionals in Greenwich and in other areas to follow the project’s success in improving relationships between the generations.

Greenwich Intergenerational Project has worked directly with young people and older people for the last three years in disadvantaged communities in the Horn Park and Glyndon areas of Greenwich, which experience high rates of anti social behaviour and vandalism. The aim of this innovative project, funded by the Big Lottery, was to improve relationships between young people and older people in this area and to tackle the existing tension between these two groups.

The Intergenerational project brought together children and young people and local residents aged over 60 in a number of workshops. This enabled participants to build up their confidence and understanding and to develop new skills and positive attitudes to build links across the generations.

One young person who took part said: “Now I understand older people more. I’m more considerate towards them- they’re not different, they’ve got the same issues as us’’.

An older resident who took part commented: “I was surprised they were interested enough to listen to us”.

The toolkit launched at the celebration event brings together best practice from the three years of work and is designed for use by practitioners and managers interested in improving relationships between different generations. It sets out useful activities which can be used in schools, youth clubs, residential homes and community centres. The toolkit also provides a wide range of challenging activity sheets that can be used for one-off sessions to support young and older people to interact with each other.

Programme manager Veronika Neyer comments: “Children, young people and older people from Greenwich have been the key to the development of the toolkit, their participation was really helpful. When we began the project there was a lot of tension between the generations, but now there is a far greater understanding and respect for residents of all ages. We hope other communities will build on our success by using the toolkit we have produced”.

The Children's Society would like to continue its work in the Greenwich Project and is currently seeking new funding.

The Toolkit is available on request. For further information about the toolkit please call the Programme Manager Veronika Neyer on 0207 358 2004 or email veronika.neyer@childrenssociety.org.uk.

Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact Natasha Paschal in The Children's Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or email nlp@childsoc.org.uk.