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January 18, 2022

Generations talking: “We can learn so much from each other”

Profile image for Sarah Prescott

Friendly Communities Officer, Time to Shine

After two years of ‘zoom chats’ members of an intergenerational project have made a film about their experiences of ageism, to encourage more talking between the generations.

Watch Ageism affects people of all ages (YouTube 4:47)

The Age Friendly Steering Group is a group of older people who guide Age Friendly work at Leeds Older People’s Forum.

During the Covid lockdowns, the group started to meet online with the Preservative Party, a group of young volunteers from Leeds City Museum.

The first meeting came about through the Age Proud Leeds campaign to chat about how different ages are affected by ageism. The conversation soon started to flow, and topics covered ranged from sexism in the workplace, the impact of social media on young people, music, loneliness, politics and fashion to name a few!

Group members shared some insights into what they have gained from the sessions:

“I enjoy sharing experiences and finding we have things in common, such as that young people feel just as powerless as older people.” (Angie)

I have really enjoyed being a member of this group – have ‘met’ some lovely people and had a lot of fun…and things to think about.


The challenges facing younger people and how these reflect the challenges that the older members have faced in their lives was a common thread that bonded the group. As Tina says:

I have learned ….that little changes! My generation dealt with battles for equality and equal opportunities in education and work… and then struggled to fit all this, when necessary, around childcare and social expectations and care of the elderly. The younger people in our group reveal how difficult it is to know what is expected of them, and what the future will hold…and have the additional pressure of very little time for themselves as media pressures require them to keep up all the time… very stressful.

One of the things that members enjoyed about the group was the range of topics covered, the laughter that often came with people’s sharing of stories and the ways ideas and common threads emerged:

I admire the spontaneous floating of ideas and experiences, often with humour as well as an obvious sense of purpose – lack of stale-ness.


I think the major benefit of our meetings with the preservative society should be the exchange of thoughts and ideas of life past and present.


And this from Tina, following Angie’s sharing of a story:

Angie’s story of how Jimi Hendrix gave her his necklace when she danced for him on stage…wow!

Everyone enjoyed hearing Angie’s story and as more members shared memories and experiences, it became clear that there was benefit to younger members in hearing the stories and to older members in telling them:

It has brought back many memories…and made me aware of how many experiences we have lived through…and how many the younger generation are having to face up to now…working out their own values and fighting for what they believe in…often with very little support.

As younger members talked about the difficulties they were facing around societal pressure or feeling isolated at university, the older members shared stories of times when they had to adapt and cope in challenging situations:

We have many examples of what we had to adapt to that would amaze younger people and may make them feel that they equally can cope with adversity…with support…

The two groups have continued to meet on a monthly basis, and have now created a short film together about how ageism affects us all. The film recounts examples of ageism as experienced by the individual group members. The group opted to voice each other’s experiences to actively demonstrate how ageism affects people of all ages.

When asked about what we could all do to make society less ageist, the answer was universally about talking and sharing our stories more:

More mixing. Less segregation….a key moment for me was when one of our group said that she was very shy, and so was her granny…so they both helped each other out and gave each other confidence. We can learn so much from each other…with support.

We should accept that each person has something to give whatever their age. The older generation think that the younger can learn from them but we can learn much from the younger generation who still have ideals to offer.

Watch Ageism affects people of all ages (YouTube 4:47)

Sarah Prescott
Friendly Communities Officer, Time to Shine