Closing the generation gap

​From Generation to Generation, a new charity aiming to bridge the generation gap between youngsters and older people, is launching in April.

The charity has been set up by Professor Norma Raynes and will support projects that encourage interaction between young people and older people. Passionate about providing opportunities for intergenerational activities, Norma set up a pilot project called ‘Intergen’ three years ago. The pioneering organisation comprised 12 schools and enabled schoolchildren to benefit from the knowledge and experience of older people.

From Generation to Generation will incorporate Intergen and it’s hoped that there will be more than 100 schools involved by the end of the year. However, From Generation to Generation will have a wider remit and will aim to improve life chances, learning and well-being for all ages, as well as increasing the opportunities for interaction between younger and older people in their communities.

The new organisation will be launched on 30th April at the Rothschild Bank and the evening event will incorporate an Intergener teaching guests a new skill. There will be other surprises for guests at the event. A second launch will take place for the Manchester area on 15th May at Kingsway School in Stockport where this time, an Intergener will teach guests how to do origami.

From Generation to Generation will hold an Intergenerational European Film Festival in the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley in June and will continue to work in Europe with partner organisations such as Amt für Gesundheit (Department of Health) in Frankfurt. Other plans include intergenerational museum visits, a closed online forum for grandparents to share ideas, and sharing allotment and bee-keeping expertise.

Intergen was originally set up by the 74-year-old after being inspired by the mutually-beneficial interaction between her father and her young daughter. Norma is an advocate of ensuring equality for all ages and sees that helping the young and older people find opportunities to assist each other.

From Generation to Generation’s vision is to “promote knowledge and wellbeing through cooperation between the generations” and to create a society where older people and schools work in partnership to contribute to the positive development of young people and the local community.

Norma said: “I decided to find ways to bring the generations together after doing research about older people, social exclusion and the quality of their lives. At that time, I was also a school governor and saw the need for younger people to have interaction with older people. For example, I met a man who was resident in a care home who had previously been a photographer. He showed me his wonderful black and white photos and as we put them away I realised that no one would probably ever see them again let alone give him the chance to share his skills and knowledge with younger people.

“Since then, Intergen has grown enormously and we’re so proud to be involved with a scheme that brings so much to so many people of all ages. There is more need than ever before to expand the opportunities for intergenerational interaction and we’re thrilled to launch From Generation to Generation. We’d like to hear from anyone who would like to get involved in our varied projects.”