Linking Generations Northern Ireland aims to reach out to groups and organisations across Northern Ireland to encourage them to bring generations together in their own individual settings. Our interest is to raise awareness of intergenerational practice, inspiring and supporting others to join us in bringing generations together and in tackling loneliness and social isolation of older people.
Project Duration: 29th April 2014—Ongoing
Linking Generations Northern Ireland (LGNI) is the only organisation in Northern Ireland promoting intergenerational practice. LGNI’s aim is to reach out to groups and organisations across the country to encourage them to bring generations together in their own settings. LGNI has trialled this project each year since 2014 receiving funding last year from the Public Health Agency to deliver the project. The Public Health Agency looked to help address issues around tackling loneliness and social isolation of older people with LGNI’s interest being to raise awareness of intergenerational practice and inspire and support others to join LGNI in bringing generations together.
- To promote and celebrate European Day of Solidarity Between Generations 29th April
- Raise awareness of the importance of engagement across the generations and offer a platform to showcase good practice and activities that promote intergenerational solidarity
- Raise awareness of intergenerational practice as an integral part of the Age-friendly movement at local government level
- Enable younger and older people to come together in celebration of the similarities and differences of age groups in locations across NI
- Support a range of organisations to bring age-groups together for a single event/activity for the purposes of developing positive relationships
- Provide opportunities for socially isolated older people to engage with local young people in their community.
In 2015, there were 38 small grants awarded to 38 different organisations, who each recruited people of all ages from their membership/ network/ community. Each organisation/group was awarded up to £150 each.
In 2015, there were 1573 participants, 715 under 25, 359 age 25-55 and 499 over 56. 40% were male and 60% female.
In 2016, there were 34 small grants awarded of up to £150 each.
There were 1199 people engaged:
- 364 over the age of 60
- 353 under the age of 20
- 72 aged 21-40
- 215 aged 41 to 60
33% male and 67% female
Groups used their own imagination in relation to activities. There was a wide variety of activity, including drumming circles, art sessions, dancing, exercise classes, craft, gardening. You can view a short video about the projects that took place here.
This project celebrated all ages with LGNI deciding not to evaluate outcomes for separate age groups, rather LGNI asked all participants of all ages the same questions.
A full evaluation document of the 2016 project, which includes 2015 statistics and data, can be found here.
Learning was captured from one year to another on how best to streamline the application process, develop an electronic version of the application etc. Social media works and if used effectively is a great way to engage people in our work and our ideas. LGNI learned that the smaller amount of funding can be really inspiring, as smaller, less formal groups who often rely completely on volunteer effort, are more likely to apply. They are often represented by passionate and energetic people who love bringing people together.
Resources connected to this project can all be found here.
Benefits for the Community
Benefits for the Younger People
Benefits for the Older People
Public Health Agency Northern Ireland
The Public Health Agency Northern Ireland has now funded this project in 2015, 2016 and currently we are developing our 2017 project, which we have re-branded #AllAges April (as UK is leaving the EU, we have removed the celebration of EU Day of Solidarity between Generations, 29th April)
We have heard anecdotally that some of those groups who have received funding from this small grant scheme have continued to find ways to connect generations in their settings at no cost but we have no published research which captures this.
Our vision is that Northern Ireland will be Age-Friendly. Generations will work together to build communities for all ages. This project enables us to communicate our message to a bigger audience, it connects us to new partners and places and it allows us to support others to connect generations in communities.
- The Northern Ireland Community Safety Strategy mentions IG work as a way to promote more positive images of younger people and build the confidence of older people.
- The Together, Building a United Community Strategy mentions that an intergenerational approach should be taken where possible.
- The Active Ageing Strategy aims to build an Age-friendly NI.