Intergenerational Week 2021
When the first national Intergenerational Week was planned for March 2020, we were on the crest of a massive wave with thousands of intergenerational projects taking place across the UK.
Of course we all know what happened next. COVID-19 put a lot of activities on hold; mutual aid flourished, particularly during the first lockdown; and many people have felt more isolated.
As the second Intergenerational Week takes place (8-14 March 2021), where do we go next?
COVID-19 has challenged us all in many ways, not least to be creative about bringing generations together. It has changed much about the way we live, work and travel. It has also increased our desire to mix again and share activities and experiences.
Now we need to be planning the social recovery from COVID-19, as much as the health and economic recovery.
Covid has exacerbated existing inequalities. COVID-19 has hit poorer, disadvantaged people and their communities hardest. And the impact has differed between older and younger people.
Recovery from the social impact of COVID-19 has got to address several big issues such as loneliness, ageism, mental health and lifelong learning. Issues that affect people of all ages.
That’s where Intergenerational Week can help kickstart the social recovery by showing how intergenerational interaction can tackle loneliness and ageism, improve health and build stronger communities.
We know that tackling age segregation and connecting people of all ages can build understanding and trust, develop long-lasting relationships and raise awareness of different generations. All this is fundamental to dispelling ageism and creating communities where all ages can thrive.
COVID-19 has prompted lots of innovation over the last year, as more is done online (as well as on paper and outdoors). The dangers of digital exclusion can also be addressed by intergenerational projects promoting lifelong learning.
As the light gets brighter at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, we must be ready to maximise the social recovery and satisfy the huge public appetite for building better lives together. All ages really will matter in creating a Britain where ageism is banished and age friendly communities are built.
Now that’s something to look forward to in Intergenerational Week 2021. And a legacy that I hope will emerge from the last 12 months.
by: Stephen Burke, Director of United for All Ages www.unitedforallages.com