May 2021 be a year of togetherness. In recent years we have published a new report in January, setting an agenda for the year ahead. This year we are not doing so – for obvious reasons and because our report published last January, Together in the 2020s, is still very relevant.
There are three themes that will guide our work as we seek to move forward, learn from Covid and build new futures:
- Well connected – Covid has shown how much we miss mixing with others. It has demonstrated how we are better mentally and physically when we are meaningfully connected. This is why bringing people of all ages together is key to the health and wellbeing of all of us, whether it’s remotely and creatively or hopefully before too long in shared spaces in our communities.
- Prevention is better – as the race to roll out vaccines shows, we can make prevention work. But often we intervene too little and too late. We need to begin early to give every child a good start in life. And we must manage risks and promote prevention for all ages across the life course, rather than waiting for crises to occur before acting.
- Thinking long-term – Covid has also highlighted the need to plan and act long term. Our policies and practices should be assessed for their intergenerational impact. To create a better future for current and future generations and tackle the big issues that concern people of all ages, talking together and sharing solutions must be a key starting point.
We look forward to working with you in 2021 to create a Britain for all ages.
HAND IN HAND TOGETHER
The Together Project is pioneering a joy-filled initiative to spread winter cheer, reduce loneliness and create multi-age friendships across the country. Its Hand in Hand Together campaign partners children and their parents with older adults living in care homes by creating handprint-themed pictures and writing stories about themselves and swapping them in the post. The campaign has been supported by Carrie Symonds, as featured in The Mail on Sunday and other media.
PROJECT PROFILE: DIASPO INTERGENERATIONAL COOKING CLASSES
Diaspo supports, empowers and enables passionate home cooks to become online teachers, sharing their heritage recipes in a live class. Winners of Nesta’s Smart Ageing Prize, Time Out called Diaspo the ‘cyberspace culinary specialist’, and they’ve been featured on Sky News, BBC, Metro, Telegraph, Huffington Post and more. If you’re someone who wants to learn recipes from all over the world or simply enjoys cooking, see joindiaspo.com or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
INCLUSIVE INTERGENERATIONAL LIVING – TRANSFORMING HIGH STREETS
The Government has announced funding for 72 councils to help them reinvent and transform their high streets as more and more retail/office space becomes empty. This provides a real chance to create high streets that work for people of all ages with inclusive housing and shared spaces at the heart of our communities. Roland Karthaus and I recently wrote a piece for Municipal Journal on the opportunities for local authorities.
EVENTS AND RESOURCES
What impact has Covid had on older people and our ageing population? A multi-faceted review of the implications is the subject of a special edition of the journal, Quality in Ageing and Older Adults and it includes, ‘Stronger Together?’, my review of the impact on intergenerational relationships and what we can learn from the first lockdown.
The Housing and Dementia Research Consortium is running a webinar on intergenerational programmes involving people living with dementia in housing/care settings, looking at both successes and challenges. Details about the event on 26 January can be found at Free Webinar: Best practice in running intergenerational programmes Tickets, Tue 26 2021 at 13:30 | Eventbrite
The ILC’s annual conference, Together for Tomorrow, looked at how to make our ageing society work for all generations. It featured a wide range of excellent and stimulating presentations, making it one of the best online events in 2020. If you missed it, you can still access all the presentations and debate here: https://ilcuk.org.uk/future-of-ageing-2020-together-for-tomorrow/
The Housing LIN’s summit 2020 in mid-December featured a week of ten online sessions, including one on intergenerational housing. The sessions can be accessed free at: Housing LIN Summit 2020 – Housing LIN
Projects reducing loneliness in local communities can apply for small grants from the new Local Connections Fund set up by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the National Lottery Community Fund. The Heywood Foundation is running a public policy contest to fund fresh thinking on challenges and opportunities arising from Covid-19 and answers to these issues