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Intergenerational service - The Children's Society in Kent
Part of The Children's Society in Kent, our intergeneration service is for young people 11-18 years old and older people aged at least 60 years old. The service is delivered in Whitehall, Newington, Birchington, Dane Valley and Millmead.
Funded by The Big Lottery Fund and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, our intergenerational service provides six-week programmes that create opportunities for young and old to interact with each other, developing their skills and tackling local issues.
We resolve tensions between the generations, and help create happier and stronger communities in which both generations are engaged and active.
Each six-week programme:
- includes social activities
- builds community cohesion
- allows for skill development
- allows for creative art
- includes history and reminiscence programmes
- integrates a wellbeing programme
A conversation with Colin, a 75-year-old participant in our intergenerational programmes
Colin and his wife have participated in our intergenerational programmes since 2010.
Why do you participate in intergenerational programmes?
My wife and I have never been able to have children of our own - the scheme has offered us personally the opportunity to be amongst young people again. We feel that we play a valuable grandparent role: allowing young people the freedom to just chat to us.
What has the programme meant to your community?
As a community this scheme has brought in a fresh, new lease of life to the village.
There are invisible boundaries between the generations and we would be foolish to ignore this. We live amongst each other and do not speak to each other. We need to help and support each other more.
The intergenerational scheme allows everyone to participate to their full potential through enjoyment, learning, sharing skills, talking to each other and making time for each other.
The impact on us as a community can only be positive as the young people that we used to frown at now say ‘hello’ to us, and ask us how our day is going.
What do you think of The Children’s Society’s programme in Thanet?
All I can do is thank The Children’s Society for bringing this new concept to our doorstep. You have embraced areas of conflict between the generations and built understanding and friendships – in today’s climate of negativity and fear this cannot have been easy.
However, you have hit it and challenged it head on, and due to the dedication of your staff these challenges have been overcome. You have actively encouraged and facilitated people to talk about their worries and concerns and this has led to problems being solved. It works!
We have a feeling of being part of something that is moving our community forward as one. Finally we are able to enjoy the experience of being with young people.