Fostering relationships and links across generations can bring benefits to all. With matched funding from the National Lottery Community Fund #iwill campaign, the Dunhill Medical Trust is supporting projects that are establishing intergenerational links between young people and older people in care homes.
We’ve been funded to support work in the local community that builds links between young people from less advantaged backgrounds and those living in care homes.
The project – Care Home Friends and Neighbours: Intergenerational Linking Project – is a collaboration between My Home Life England and The Linking Network. It’s part of the broader #iwill campaign supported by the National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which aims to embed meaningful social action in the lives of young people.
At its heart, this is a collaborative and educational intergenerational project, bringing older people in care homes together with young people from schools and youth organisations in their local community. The benefits are two-fold: from the older person’s perspective, it will help to solidify links back into the community and reduce isolation. And from the young person’s perspective, they will be empowered to take on an active leadership role within their community.
Awarding grants within the community
Thanks to the funding, we’ve awarded grants to local organisations who will then appoint a ‘Community Broker’. That broker will play a role in linking the two generations together and facilitate any training and initial sessions.
Older and younger people will then co-produce the activities that they want to do together. This co-production is an essential part of the programme, and will give participants a sense of ownership and hopefully foster continuing relationships and links.
In the first phase of the project, we funded two different organisations with connections within their communities in Bristol and Bradford, to develop a model for how this kind of project might work. Their experiences and findings will guide the organisations that are funded in later phases. To foster a collaborative approach and ensure that we are sharing the learnings from the project, we will be working with each funded organisation to evaluate the project using an Appreciative Inquiry approach – building on what works well already to establish how things could be even better.
Connecting despite COVID-19
Like many organisations in the UK and beyond, our plans have needed to adapt in response to COVID-19.
One of the intended outcomes of the Intergenerational Linking Project is to reduce the isolation of older people, yet during the pandemic they’ve been put in a situation where they’re even more isolated. To address this challenge, we’ve used this time as an opportunity to look at ways to meaningfully connect people together at a distance. During lockdown we created remote digital linking resources for younger and older people in general, not just those involved with the ongoing projects.