Category Archives: Generations Together

Launch of Homeshare scheme for older people in Leeds

Leeds City Council launched Homeshare in August 2016, a pilot funded by the Big Lottery in partnership with local providers including St Anne’s Community Services, Leeds Older People’s Forum and Care and Repair (Leeds).

Homeshare will carefully match an older Householder with a room to spare with a younger person, who will provide an agreed amount of support to the Householder and receive affordable accommodation.

The Homesharer helps with daily living tasks such as; cleaning, shopping, gardening, overnight security and companionship.

Homesharing is a simple concept with numerous benefits.

For the older Householder:

  • Support with everyday tasks enabling them to stay independent in their own homes for longer.
  • Companionship and new relationships helping to combat loneliness and social isolation.
  • Peace of mind knowing someone is in the home at night. For the younger Housesharer:
  • Affordable housing at a time of record housing shortages and rocketing rents.
  • Companionship and new relationships in a comfortable family home.
  • Homeshare is a great life experience and addition to a CV

Homeshare is a safe and supported arrangement. Part of Shared Lives in Adult Social Care, the Homeshare scheme carefully assesses applications.

The service takes references, conducts enhanced DBS checks and has a thorough assessment and matching process to ensure risk and safeguarding issues are well managed.

To find out more about Homeshare please call: 0113 378 5410 or email:

The Homeshare team are happy to come out and talk to you about what Homeshare can offer to the users of your service.

Writing Back

By Georgina Binnie, PhD Candidate & Project Officer of Writing Back

Writing Back is an award-winning University of Leeds letter writing project matching School of English undergraduate students as pen pals with older Yorkshire residents.


Now in its third year, the project has seen 140 people write to one another so far. Our students are often away from home for the first time and welcome the chance to write to someone new.

Exchanging letters

Letters are sent via the School of English so that addresses do not need to be exchanged. The scheme is fully funded, with optional meet-up events being held during the course of the academic year.

Students are given historical images of Yorkshire at the start of the project and are encouraged to share these images in these letters. Participants can choose to have their letters added to our project archive.

Collaborating with Neighbourhood Network Schemes

Having already collaborated with various members of the Leeds Neighbourhood Network Scheme, we are keen to reach more, potential older letter writers. One of the aims of the project is to tackle loneliness and social isolation in both the student and older demographics, although many of our letter writes would not class themselves as ‘lonely’!

Optional questionnaires will be distributed as part of the project. This is a great opportunity for older members of the community to share their knowledge and experiences with our student population.

Our students say:

“I feel especially now it is important that the generation gap be bridged as, much as would like to think there is, there is not much difference between us”.

Our older participants say:

“It’s such a great idea getting young and old ages staying up to date with how they’re tackling life. Writing to my student friend change[s] my day-to-day way of living”.

Contact us

We’re currently in the process of setting up our new office but in the meantime participants can contact me via email:, via the School of English address: Georgina Binnie, School of English, University of Leeds LS2 9JT or on my work mobile number 07398 759 479.

Download Writing Back Leaflet

Wanted: homeowners

Do you live alone in your own home but want to stay independent? Do you have a spare room?  

A new scheme, Leeds Homeshare, offers a way for older people to stay safely in their own homes and offer younger people a helping hand.

How does it work?

We match up the older person (Homeowner) with someone (Homesharer) who needs a home.

No personal care is involved but the Homesharer agrees to provide around 10 hours a week support in exchange for lodging.

Help with those things that can start to get difficult as you get older, like shopping, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog maybe or looking after the garden.  Or, it can be just to have someone to watch the telly with.

How to get involved

You simply complete the appropriate form and send it to us.  We then sensitively process them: matching people is crucial to the success of Homeshare so we spend time getting it right.

After consulting the owner and sharer – a personalised agreement is developed to cover how the living arrangements will work, utility bills for example.

Both Homeowner and sharer pay a fee to the Council.   A share will last a minimum of 6 months.

Managing any risks

We have also put a lot of thought into managing any risks.  We have checks including DBS, Reference and Credit Checks and a thorough assessment and support throughout the match.

So Contact Cath on: 0113 37 85410 for a chat or drop us a line at: or email:  if you would like to know more.  You can get forms from

‘What’s Good About Being A Mum’

Grandparents Association, Getaway Girls and Skippko’
Collective works of art by grannies and young mums.
Linda Harrison.

26th Jan 2012

Thursday afternoon we gathered around a long table, grandmothers and young mothers together, led from the helm by the facilitators, from ‘Skippko’! This piece of intergenerational work had already begun. We are making three large collages on the theme of parenting. ‘What’s good about being a mum.’ The finished product will proudly hang on the walls at St James’ hospital for all to see.

Mums and grans had drawn pictures of baby clothes and wrote on them a word or two from their own personal reflection of what it means to be a mum. If you didn’t want to use words you could draw something symbolic. The drawings were then cut out and pegged onto a washing line giving the impression of clean clothes gently blowing in the breeze! Or so it did to me, I am a gran and full of nostalgia, what could be a more wholesome and satisfying sight than a line of clean babies clothes and bleached, sanitized white terry nappies all blowing back and forth in the wind. Terry nappies! You say! It’s nostalgia!

We had been asked to bring in photographs of our children. Maggie and I shared photographs taken from the same era. We looked with interest at everything, the children, the hairstyles, the clothes and the look of youth. We laughed together as we shared the memories of our dreams our hopes and expectations as young mum’s back in the 1970’s – 80’s and then following a moment of mutual silence, we had the same thought. Our heads bent down together looking at the photo’s in our hands and we whispered that we had no idea, no way of knowing, no preparation for the hard painful times ahead, the untold anxiety, the endless years of worry and stress! But here we are now, January 2012 many years on and in this group we are to be positive and encouraging. Let’s leave the pain alone we know it’s there, it happened, we can’t change that, so let’s enjoy the good memories, all the positive stuff…. As the young say… ‘Let’s bring it on’.

The facilitators handed out slips of paper with questions already thought of by both groups to ask each other. The young mums asked the grans and the grans asked the mums. This was so interesting, fun and very lively, a great ice breaker. Questions and discussions about the differences between past and present parenting brought much laughter and some unbelievable comments! However, as I am not allowed to speak of the content of the conversations due to confidentiality, I shall attempt to give a flavour, without breaking the rules. I did wish we could have had more time to discuss, but the art work was calling! Or should I say the facilitators were calling ‘order’ and onto the art work!

I have to say, what a lovely group of young mums they are, so full of energy and life, they are a generation of young women raising yet another generation of children. I learned something at this group today. I can and have often despaired when I see young children and wonder what ‘life’ has in store for them, in what feels to be a very unstable world with so many threats. But sharing this time made me realize that I had lost sight of the bigger picture. That with every generation born there comes a new sense of ‘ Hope’ for a better world to come where compassion and good citizenship will be the norm.

How will this come about? That is the age old question! But rather than ask the question we should aim to be the answer, the solution, by working together, sharing and building good community.

Thursday 2nd Feb 2012.

Grans and young mums. Coming together.

Five grans and five mums once again gathered around the table which was already prepared with plastic sheeting, various paints in trays and rollers all ready for action. A demonstration by the facilitators, Mary and Cathy, explained how we were going to draw and prepare the templates for printing. One template was a piece of polystyrene, the other a piece of Perspex. With the polystyrene we drew a picture then went over it with a biro to create an indentation. Using a paint roller we smeared the template in paint, pressed it down on paper or fabric, Hey Presto! You have a print. On the Perspex, first cover it with a good dollop of paint, then using a QTip draw your picture, turn it over onto card or fabric, press down hard…. Print number two! ‘Simples’ as the Meerkats say! Our great works of art were pegged on the washing line to dry.

The facilitators split us into two groups of five. Both groups had a large sheet of paper with a different drawing on representing the theme of positive motherhood. We were asked to write our comments on the picture. As if you were to ‘sell’ positive motherhood, what would you say? It was time to dig deep into our experiences and emotions and share that which we have in common.

A young mum spoke of her absolute delight when she held her baby for the first time, and the ‘first rush of love’ she felt for her baby despite the very difficult and painful birth. ‘I love to smell my baby’s head’ she said and described her experience as,’ taking in my baby’s beautiful scent’. We grans agreed and we too remembered sniffing our babies’ heads and necks and feeling so connected to their ‘beautiful scent’.

We spoke of when babies grasp your finger and hold on so tight! Then, as they get a little older, they hold your hand, ‘little hand in big hand’. The trust, the belief in you, the sense of protection and safety, you are the whole world to your child. ‘Remember when baby gives you a sucky kiss?’ we laughed, ‘remember the first smile and when they sneeze and look so surprised! ‘Remember baby crying for the first time, as if they are saying. “I’m here, I’ve arrived! Feed me! Feed me now!’ And breastfeeding, did you ever imagine your body could make good wholesome milk and that you would become a milk fountain! The more they suck the more you make!

We wrote words to capture the deep felt emotions and the Joy that motherhood had brought us. The unconditional love you feel, the laughter, and happiness. The pride you feel when baby does something new, and when you look at them when they are sleeping, the overwhelming sense of love and just to know that you have brought another life into the world.

We reconvened as a whole group to share our responses and to discuss how we were going to translate such emotional and passionate feelings into a great work of art that people will see, stop and take a closer look and will smile and say….. ‘Oh, how beautiful.’

Do you know what I learned today? That despite the age gap between us grans and the young mums, despite what has taken place in the world within the last forty one years, since I became a mum, huge events such as mass globalization, advances in technology, medicine, genetics, wars, terrorism and so much more; yet, despite all of this, one thing remains the same, and that is the strong bond of love between a mother and her baby, a bond so powerful that it is capable of ‘Awakening’ all the senses.’

Not just for mums, but also the dads and not forgetting the grandparent. It can be a most powerful ‘Re-awakening’ of sheer wonder, pride and joy to have watched your own children grow, become parents themselves and then one day holdout to you, your grandchild. Beautiful.

Who can say it better than the great Louis Armstrong.

“I hear babies cry I watch them grow,
they’ll learn a lot more, than I’ll ever know,
and I say to myself what a wonderful world.”

9th February 2012

Intergenerational Master Piece in the making’ by Mums and Grans.

I enjoyed last Thursday’s session so much that I kept on thinking about it through the week and looking forward to the next session which of course was today.

Today, we gathered around the table again. It was fun to be there, to be part of the group; I felt we were all relaxed in each other’s company. And so to work. After the group discussion last week we considered how we were going to collectively express our feelings and emotions and turn it into pieces of art for all to see. We decided that the image of children’s clothes blowing about on a washing line was just the thing. And for the other picture, children’s building blocks, made up from our block printing session last week would be interesting and eye catching. It will be arranged in such a way that it will resemble a pyramid shape, descriptive words will be added. The theme will grow as we begin to build the blocks onto the canvas, in fact the theme could almost be growth. As we build up the blocks it is like acknowledging our life and the lives of our children, the learning process and growth that never ends and as an aging grandmother I suppose I am moving towards the top of the pile! Or, it could even be thought of as like the labyrinth of life, complicated and of constant challenge and re-growth.

Mary and Cathy had drawn examples of baby clothes as possible templates that we could use, or we could do our own drawing. The baby clothes were drawn in such a way that they gave the impression of clothes, ‘blowing in the wind’. I smiled when I heard Maggie picking up the theme and started singing; ’The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.’ (Bob Dylan)

We drew around the templates onto the material we had dyed in an earlier session. Before we cut the pictures out, we decorated each and every one with our own personal touch of the message we wanted to convey and share about our feelings and thoughts of what it means to be a mum. All the work is good and well done and these young mums showed such artistic talents, we grans aren’t too bad either!

We had such fun and were now working as a group, showing interest in each others work and sharing some thoughts and comments as we worked on our own pieces but also worked collectively at the same time.

“Who has the masking tape?”

“Any one got the pins? I need pins”

“Do you think it’s a good idea to put this picture this way or that way?”

“Can someone thread this needle for me please?”

“Oh look! I have made a mess of this!”

“No you haven’t it looks so real.” “I can’t get this glitter pen to work, can you have a go?”

“That picture you have done of the bra for breast feeding is brilliant, looks really good.”

“I have drawn an old fashioned baby gown with ties on.”

“Oh, gosh yes, I remember those, my baby wore them as well, it seems so long ago?”

I do hope the general public who admire our works will be able to write a comment in a book. I am thinking that all of us involved in the project are sharing and giving something of ourselves, of our own lives.

Feedback can be so important and part of building up positive community. And to know that our collective piece of intergenerational art by mums and grans has made someone smile and made a difference to their day would be so encouraging.

And so I wait for next Thursday….

16th Feb. 2012

Thursday’s Mum’s and Gran’s.

“Children our one third of the population and all of our future.”
(select panel for the promotion of child health 1981)

It was another good session this week. We all turned out on a bitter, cold winters day, my teeth were chattering ! The hospitality was so warm and welcoming. I could smell the aroma of baked potatoes as I climbed the stairs, calling me! They were delicious and lots of toppings, also fruit and scones and an endless supply of hot drinks. Good food and good company. What more could one ask for? Thank you again.

We were all invited around the table to review our work. Now we were starting to see it come together as a collective piece of intergenerational art created by grans and mums and the occasional visitation of a baby! All sharing our experiences, our time and food! I keep coming back to that because I was cold and hungry when I arrived and what a treat awaited us! But back to work….

The dyed cloth which is the background to our piece of art was laid out on the table, we chose material for the washing line and placed it in such a manner that it appeared to ‘give’ with wind. This looks good and enhances the way we have drawn and cut out the baby clothes which will hang on the washing line, pegged down with our fluffy felt type dolly pegs, beautifully done by Maggie whom we named ‘The peg lady!’

Those of us who had not finished decorating our children’s clothes continued to work on them. They are impressive. I am amazed at the high standard of detail and work that has gone into these. Everyone in the group has concentrated and given so much attention to their work whilst encouraging each other and all has done with such pride and joy.

We were asked to consider the next piece of art, the building of the bricks in the shape of a pyramid. Mary and Cathy suggested that we may think of this image as the, ‘Building blocks of life and growth’ which continues as long as we are alive and breathing! The suggestion stirred interesting conversation. Mums were asked how they felt when they see their baby grow and change not only physically but also develops more skills, such as crawling, walking and speaking, drawing the first picture, going to school for the first time? I asked if they felt more anxious as baby develops and starts crawling off, possibly getting into all sorts of trouble and potential danger. A mum said she felt so relieved to get the first early months over with so she no longer feared the cot death syndrome. I remembered how I too had similar anxieties when mine were babies. Once again as I reflected I thought, ‘Yes, every age has its worries and fears, it is part of parenting.’ You could say it comes with the job and never ceases!’ Hence, why it is so important to have good community around you to always help keep these fears in perspective.

As we spoke of the continued growth and development of our children, could we possibly imagine them as teenagers, bringing home their first boy or girlfriend? Staying out all night? Getting drunk? Could we imagine our young children married, working, having their own children, going off to live abroad? Can we imagine what they would be like as adults? I know when mine were little I couldn’t imagine so far ahead. Therefore, I think the question was easier for the grans to answer, simply because we are at the other end of the scale where our children have grown and become parents themselves and have given us grandchildren, we watch the whole process begin again and again…. We see the fruits!

You may wonder why I chose to describe our children and grandchildren as ‘fruits’. Well, in the session one of the mums carefully decorated her piece of babies clothing with the words ‘50% mummy’. Someone asked her what she meant. Her reply, “I wanted to put 50% mummy and 50% daddy, because our baby is half and half of us both, but I ran out of space to put the dad bit in.”

I thought that was such an expressive beautiful thing to say. I was so touched and so were the others that we insisted she must complete it and fit it in somehow. After, when I reflected on this I thought, ‘50% mum – 50% dad and what do you have? A new life, so unique and the ‘fruit’ of their union together, of their making love.’

We were asked to imagine that if it were possible to speak to our young selves at the age of 14 – 15 years old, what advice would you give to your young self, knowing what you know now? The response was great it was all positive, not one negative.

Someone sang Bob Marley’s ‘Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright!’

Another said. “It will all work out.”

“Have a career on the back burner.” was another.

“Each journey begins with a small step.”

“Be kind to yourself.”

“Enjoy your children.”

“Live, Laugh, Love.”

“Strive to be who you are, and be kind to others.” There were others and some funny ones like

“Don’t drink beer with curry, it gives you terrible wind!”

There were so many positive statements made, statements that have ‘vision’ and ‘hope’ for the future. That is what we need isn’t it? We need those with vision of a good, positive and caring society along with those who are also eager to work at it. We need this for our children and the generations to come. The hope for our world is every time a new baby is born.

I came away realizing again that the only way forward to a healthy society for our children and future generations, is for us all to work together, the old and the young and if we ever lose heart and flag we just need to look into the face of a child to renew our hope again. It is true isn’t it when they say babies live in the present moment? There are the times when you can join them, no worries of yesterday or tomorrow….. just this beautiful moment, all in their smile. There is nothing like it…. If only you could bottle it!

As Muhammad Ali said: “Children make you want to start life over again.”

February 23rd 2012

Mums and Grans.Integrating…Creating art

‘Great Oaks from little acorns grow.’
All Great and wonderful people begin as small children.
I just have to start with this wonderful proverb because Maggie has said it every week, and I confess to not giving it too much thought! Then on Thursday after the group, it suddenly hit me. ‘Yes, of course, she is absolutely right.’ It fits perfectly with what we are about as a group, and most certainly captures the vision and hope the mums in our group have for their children, for their welfare, future and for their happiness.

We are down to the last two sessions, todays and next week. I shall miss the group and I’ve enjoyed every minute of sharing time and working together. It has been fun and most enlightening, restoring my faith once again of the possibility of a sane society, of a good and caring community and good citizenship.

After a lovely sandwich and some fruit, (thank you again for the hospitality). We all quickly began to work. Some of us were busy sewing the baby clothes onto the cloth canvas. Others were finishing off decorating. I saw great patience practiced by a mum brave enough to sew tiny sequins onto a little skirt. After sewing on just a few, two I think it was, despair set in and the glue suddenly seemed a much better option! Another mum declared her absolute horror of sewing and after a brief encounter with the needle and thread she gave in and did something else! “Ah ha!’ I thought, ‘truly a woman of my own heart!’ And that is what team work is all about isn’t it? Working to our own strengths and talents, so, that together we create something beautiful.

Cathy drew our attention by holding up the other piece of dyed cloth that now serves as our next canvas. Sewn onto it in such a way to give the appearance of 3D are the prints of the children’s building blocks we made. We have built our blocks in the shape of a pyramid, which as we discussed and agreed could be symbolic of growth and development from baby, to adulthood and further representing the amazing cycle of life that we are all part of, from generation to generation, as it always has been and always will be.

For the background we thought it would be interesting to write a very condensed version of the various stages in life. Starting with baby, to toddlers, to school, to teens, to clothes, clothes, clothes! And money, money, money! to dating, parties, concerts, going to University, getting your first car, hopes and dreams for the future, to working, to becoming engaged, marrying, and becoming a parent, which of course makes our young mums in the group, Proud Grandparents! And, ‘Hey, we have come full circle.’

All of our comments are positive. We could have easily written our dreads and fears of every stage in life, of our own painful experiences, as it could be argued and rightly so, that these too are part of life. But in our group the mum’s outlook is positive.

I have been thinking! About intergenerational projects and what they have to offer. It isn’t just about mixing the old with the young, or about learning to appreciate one another, or learning from one another and respecting each other and validating each other. Whilst all these things are important, good and positive, they can become an end in itself, a project ends, people say ‘Yes that was very good’ and go home.

I have been so impressed with the mums, us grans, Mary and Cathy and the project that I feel there is hope for the future, for a meaningful society. The challenge is for all people, whether you are two days old, twenty or a hundred years old. We are all in this together, that is what community is isn’t it? Each and every person has a part to play otherwise it can be unbalanced.

Martin Luther King. Jr. A man who dared to make a difference, he said, “An individual has not started living until he can raise himself above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” He is right.


Thursday 1st March 2012

Getaway Girls and the Groovy Grans!

‘Individually we are but one drop….. Together, we are an ocean’ (Satoro.)

Today was our last session together. There was little time to be sad or be anything else, because it was so hectic, so much to do in such a short time!

We were all around the table hovering like busy bees. I had to laugh when I saw two grans and a young mum sat together in a tight little huddle, sewing the last of the baby clothes to the washing line, and all onto the same piece of cloth, at the same time! I did try to muscle my way in to sew on my baby nightgown, but as it was to go in the middle of the canvas, I would either have to be double jointed just get to it or lay on my back….. sewing upwards!

Grannie Fee was so funny, after spending ages sewing at a frenzied pace, she was bright red and almost cross eyed. Mary asked her if she would like to have a break! ‘Yikes’! I thought ‘she can’t leave, it will mean I’ll have to do some sewing!’ She went off for a snack and I reluctantly moved into her place, muttering to myself. Then, thankfully, Denise asked if I would like her to sew my piece on for me. Or had she noticed that I am not even been capable of threading a needle! You see! Good Team work!

As a backdrop for the other piece of art, Becky and I wrote words and short phrases we had chosen last week, words that are relevant to our theme of positive parenting within the Cycle of Life. We talked and laughed about the circles within the cycles of life, it became a bit of a tongue twister!

Mary was doing her best to call order and gather everyone around the table. I think we all had one eye on the clock and the other on the work. We had to decide on an appropriate title, for our great works of art. I thought it would be good to have the quote Maggie had mentioned every week. “Did I?” she said, when I mentioned it! “I don’t remember!” “Yes, you know from little acorns to Oak trees?” “Did I?” she repeats, looking a bit bewildered “Oh yes, I think I may have mentioned something about it!” And so it was decided.

Now it was all coming together, and then the great moment happened when Cathy and Mary held up the work for us all see. It looked really good and there was a great feeling of team pride and ‘Work Very Well Done’. It felt great to have been part of it. We had so much to finish and so little time, yet amazingly we did it without compromising our high standard of work.

We even had some time for reflection at the end. I was so pleased to hear the getaway gals say how much they enjoyed having us groovy grans around. I certainly have enjoyed my time with them and the other grans have said the same. We worked so well together, I am only sorry it is over…. Or is it?

“Individual commitment to a group effort, that is what makes a team work – a company work – a society work – a civilization work.”
( Vince Lombardi 1913 – 1970)


Generations Together – Moor Allerton Elderly Care (MAECare)

Intergenerational Case Study

Guest Blogger: Hillary Wadsworth

About our organisation/service users

We are a Neighbourhood Network scheme based in North Leeds. We aim to improve the quality of life for local older people and with the support of volunteers provide a range of opportunities and services to enable this.

Who are the partners involved in our intergen work

  • Allerton Church of England Primary
  • Allerton High School

About our intergenerational project

We work closely with Allerton Church of England primary school and have 14 volunteers going into the school weekly to listen to children read. Older volunteers have also delivered sessions to children about life in the 1950’s, wartime Britain and memories of the Coronation. One volunteer also teaches children how to knit.

We also work with Allerton High school and have delivered a number of one-off events such as Christmas parties where older and younger people have socialized together. In addition to this we have had a number of one-off cookery sessions when the different generations have come together to learn a new skill.

What resources are needed e.g. funding, staff/skills, facilities?

Staff time: we have an excellent relationship with Allerton CofE primary and a named link person who takes a lead on supporting the volunteers at the school. The school genuinely understands the benefit of the project to the children and is very committed to this.

Staff time would include: Creating the partnership between MAECare and the school.  Generally supporting volunteers to ensure they are confident and enjoying the experience; Arranging and attending an induction at the school. Meetings are held quarterly basis to reconnect with volunteers and discuss future plans and feedback any issues and problems.

Older people go into the class and read with a child on a one to one basis. The activity is therefore enhancing the learning experience without organising a separate session or activity.

Transport; the school has offered to fund transport for those members whom this would be a problem.

CRB- again the school has funded this for all volunteers.

What are the benefits for: older people, the staff/organisation, children and/or young people, the local community?

Older people-

“Boosted my confidence, I feel more confident and that I am wanted. The school want me there to help. I don’t feel like I am on the scrap-heap”.

“Each week before I go I am nervous; I want to do well. Afterwards I feel like I have accomplished something, I feel better. I am pleased with myself and feel that I have done well but I do feel exhausted”. (Male volunteer 66)

“I think it’s wonderful. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing how the children learn; it is different from the way I learnt when I was at school. It gives me a lot of pleasure to watch the children. It’s a treat to see them; I’d definitely recommend it to other people”. (Female volunteer 87)


David has been amazing, got the boys on side with reading, talked to them, listened and basically very quickly built up a strong relationship… in year 5 he was so great as he talked to them about the 60’s, they were so interested. He has a lovely manner with them, a great sense of humour and has an authoritative presence. (Teacher)

 “I absolutely love your members, as they add a special, vital something to our school. They are just so generous in the time that they give us, and I genuinely appreciate what you have done for us”. (Headteacher)


“Thank you for coming and teaching us about the 1960’s. Good job we had you in the class or we would have spend the day searching about 1960’s. it was fun and thank you again. We learnt fun things I didn’t no there was toilets outside. And I didn’t ne they was a song at 11.00 when all the channels shut down thank you once again.”

Local community

Many volunteers talk of feeling valued and welcomed at the school. They feel they are able to give something to others and a sense of achievement that they have skills to share. Many volunteers do not have grandchildren or their families live away and rarely see children. This can result in older people feeling disconnected from that section of society. Volunteers smile when talking about their experiences and delight in explaining how they are welcomed by a round of ‘Hello’ when they visit the school.

Children likewise may not have experience of interacting with older people. One volunteer uses a wheelchair and two pupils take pride in assisting him with getting around the school. Volunteers can be positive role models in terms of age and disability.

Volunteers enhance the learning environment and encourage children to think in a new perceptive, as highlighted in this interaction between an 87 year old volunteer reader and 5 year old child:

Child: “You are old aren’t you?”

MAECare volunteer “Yes I am, but I was once as young as you”

Feedback from staff, volunteers and parents highlights the benefits of the intergenerational approach, in terms of learning and connecting communities. This approach to learning in particular does take some staff time and commitment to develop, but the rewards for all partners are great.

Generations Together – Leeds City Council Sport and Active Lifestyles Service

Guest Blogger – Allyson Bertram, Older Peoples’ Sport Officer

At the beginning of 2012 I was involved in a project collecting memories about the 1948 Olympic Games in London. We mainly spoke to older people, but we also ran 3 intergenerational workshops involving year 9 pupils. This was limited due to the time and effort required to get high schools to take part. This was a one-off project.

I attended the intergenerational course because I wanted to learn more about the processes involved and what to avoid. In the future I would like to bring different generations together using a sport / physical activity theme, still thinking about where to start and talking to others.

Generations Together – M&S Company Archive

Guest Blogger: Caroline Burt

The Generations Together event was a great opportunity for us to find out more about intergenerational work in Leeds, as we’re hoping to expand our Community programmes in this direction.

The M&S Company Archive opened at the Michael Marks Building on the University of Leeds campus in March this year, and along with a permanent exhibition and schools programme we run events and activities for the wider community. We’re open to the public six days a week, and admission is free. We also operate a Reading Room service, so the collection itself (over 70,000 items) is accessible to anyone who wants to find out more.

Michael Marks opened his first Penny Bazaar stall in 1884 at Kirkgate Market, he went into partnership with Thomas Spencer ten years later and the rest, as they say, is history. Our Marks in Time exhibition tells the remarkable story of the company, from its humble beginnings to our current status as a global high street retailer.

We currently offer guided tours for group visits, and free sessions designed especially for older visitors. Over 300 older people have taken part since June, either on site at the exhibition or through outreach sessions to day centres and residential homes. Visits include a tour of the exhibition, a chance to browse our staff magazines that date back to the 1950s, showings of our cinema adverts and tea, coffee and cake.

As you’d imagine, we have a lot of clothing in the collection, and we’d really like to build an intergenerational project around fashion – linking it into our current M&S Shwopping campaign encouraging people to recycle their unwanted clothes.

Having worked in the sector for a number of years, I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of intergenerational working. Where projects foster a genuine, mutual exchange between older and younger participants the results are brilliant. Everyone gains in confidence as they realise they have something to contribute, and everyone is a bit more understanding of other people in their community.

Hopefully this is the start of something very special for the M&S Company Archive that will use this unique collection to bring people together.

Guest Blogger: Michael Parker, Assistant Manager
Pudsey Live at Home Scheme offers a wide range of services and activities for the over 60’s. Theses include gentle exercise, Tai-Chi, social groups as well as a weekly shopping trip and day trips. For the more housebound members we offer a telephone link.
We would like to set up some sort of relationship with a local school so our members could talk to the children and this would perhaps help the children with their school work and give the children experiences of how our members use to live.
To start, this could be a one off get together but hopefully could develop into an on going partnership between the 2 groups.

Generations Together – South Asian Arts-UK

Guest blogger:  Maria Spadafora – Community Engagement Officer

Calling people in Richmond Hill and Burmantofts!

SAA-uk are a Leeds based registered charity who aim to enrich people’s lives through engagement and participation in South Asian music and dance, and various other art forms. We run regular classes for people of all ages, deliver tailored schools workshops/residencies and programme regular performances by professional artists.

Our ‘Families Together’ Project

Thanks to the Community First Programme and Cooperative Bank, SAA1we’ve secured funding to deliver a participatory arts project for families that encourages parents, children and grandparents to explore their creativity whilst sharing their ideas, skills and experiences.
We’d love to hear from organisations, schools and families in the Richmond Hill and Burmantofts areas who’d like to get involved! This is an opportunity to explore exciting art forms from across the globe with different generations.

Fancy creating a community wall hanging inspired by henna and batik? Or learning to sing nursery rhymes from other countries? Or having a go at Indian dance steps? These are just a few ideas we’ll be trying, but we’d love to hear your ideas too.

SAA2Participants do not need to consider themselves ‘artistic’ but open to trying new things and working together. This project could even result in a public performance or exhibition later in 2013.

Why are we doing this? We think the arts can empower and inspire, and it can be great fun. Working with South Asian art forms can really broaden people’s cultural and creative experience, and we would love to see different generations and communities connecting by getting involved in this project.

Curious? Drop us a line or give us a call – we’d love to hear from you:

SAA-uk (South Asian Arts UK) Suite 14, Munro House Duke Street LEEDS LS9 8AG
0113 244 5523

Generations Together – Aire Valley Homes

Guest Blogger: Diane Stephenson

I work for Aire Valley Homes, an Arms Length Management Organisation for Leeds City Council. As a Supported Housing Officer I work with tenants over 60 years of age, with or without disabilities. My role is to support tenants to help them live independently in the community, using a Support Plan to identify needs and risks. This includes working with partnership Agencies such as Adult Social Care and GPS and liaising with voluntary bodies such as local ‘Live at Home’ schemes and Age UK.

I help to set up social events and inform tenants of social activities and local groups, though this is mainly for their own peer group rather than involving younger people. Christmas is a time when young and older members of the community come together, from invitations to school concerts and meals where the children wait on the tenants and visits from local schools to sheltered housing schemes to sing.

I would like to see more ‘all year round’ community initiatives such as computer classes for older people where young people can help to teach them, as seen in other areas. Other activities which would greatly benefit older people would be gardening work, which would also help younger people, giving them not just work experience but also learning from older neighbours and becoming involved together in community projects.

Social inclusion would benefit people of all ages in the community and allow young and old to get to know and understand one another’s needs. Older people living together in Sheltered schemes would feel more included in the community and benefit from activities with other peer groups.