National Intergenerational Week is a celebration of the moments and places where different age groups come together. The person behind the campaign is Ben Dunn, a senior digital communications executive for Bristol-based charity, the St Monica Trust. He talks to us about the origins of the campaign and what he hopes to achieve.
Why have a National Intergenerational Week?
The intergenerational conversation is a really important one at the moment. That’s partly because there’s a growing amount of study to support bringing together different generations as a credible means of addressing issues, such as social isolation, political divisions and the cost of housing.
There’s loads of amazing intergenerational work taking place across the UK, which are tackling some of these challenges by bringing people from all different age groups together in a number of creative ways. From intergenerational home-shares to intergenerational care and community spaces, the range of work is growing constantly. There are also some very established intergenerational networks in UK, particularly in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
What we’re trying to do is bring together the wider conversation, provide an opportunity to share learning and also amplifying the importance of the work that is being done through a collective voice.
What is National Intergenerational Week?
National Intergenerational Week is about providing a platform for seven days of online conversations about intergenerational projects, their benefits and best practice. Individuals and organisations wishing to take part can search ‘National Intergenerational Week’, visit the St Monica Trust website and find social media resources that they can download.
We’re asking people to promote their organisation’s intergenerational work and its benefits using the hashtag #IntergenerationalWeek. They can also use the hashtag to promote any intergenerational events taking part in their local community.
What inspired you to create National Intergenerational Week?
Intergenerational friendships have always been a big part of my life. Before getting into digital comms in the charity sector, my background was mainly in the arts. I grew up in a musical family and spent most weekends in my teens playing in bands alongside musicians who were in their 60s. In the world of music there’s a lot of value placed on intergenerational learning. It’s a mutually beneficial thing, with the older musicians providing knowledge and experience, and the youngsters providing energy and new creative ideas as they work side by side. I think younger people are missing out on so much if they don’t have the opportunity of spending time with older people.
I’m very lucky in that I now get the opportunity to build relationships with people of different generations as part of my work at the St Monica Trust. It’s a dream job and to be able to work on this campaign supporting others to explore those relationships is real privilege.
What do you hope to achieve with National Intergenerational Week?
We have more than fifty organisations from across the UK who have signed up to participate in the campaign so far. We’re looking forward to bringing everyone together during the week itself and hearing about all the wonderful work that is happening out there.
We appreciate that we’re not trying to change the world overnight. What we would like to see is a good selection of organisations from all over the UK and representing different sectors, joining together in the conversation.
National Intergenerational Week will run from 23 to 29 March, 2020. For more information visit www.stmonicatrust.org.uk/national-intergenerational-week or email Ben.Dunn@stmonicatrust.org.uk