Childminders, a solution for intergenerational co-location


Torbay has a thriving early years intergenerational visitation programme with early years settings visiting over fifteen different care homes a week however we wanted to develop something more substantial. We secured capital funding from the Department of Education to encourage care homes to consider creating a permanent space in their facility that Childminders could work from every day.

What we did

The project created a space in Warberries Nursing Home where two Torbay Ofsted registered Childminders a day and their minded children (0-4yrs) could engage in shared activities with the residents (aged 65plus), eat lunch together, walk & play in the garden and learn together. The biggest difference for the children is that instead of spending an hour once a week learning with their older friends, they get to spend a whole day every week with them, which for many of these children is the only time they spend in the company of older adults.

The project would potentially provide childcare for the staff’s children encouraging recruitment and improving staff retention through a different type of intergenerational co-location model.

By using childminders to provide the early years childcare, it was hoped to be potentially a simpler, cheaper, easier method of setting up intergenerational co-located care when compared to setting up an on-site nursery. The method could also potentially tempt more care homes to explore intergenerational co-location through the provision of just one room within the building.

The model also provides opportunities to challenge people’s perceptions of care homes at the same time by using the room every Monday to deliver childminder training during which the participants would be able to see for themselves the benefits of developing an intergenerational approach.

What happens?

Childminders offered the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum from the nursing home in the same way they could at home. Childminders attended the nursing home from Tuesday to Friday with a total of eight childminders attending over the week, with an average of six children attending daily totalling twenty four per week. Around thirty residents are actively involved.

Childminders, children & residents engage in a shared activity in the morning and then again in the afternoon. The activities take place in other areas across the care home as well as outside in the garden with everyone enjoying eating lunch together. Carers can bring residents into the space for their one to one engagement with the children.

The space will also be used to enable childminders to develop a monthly intergenerational Childminders Group.


The Department of Education provided £10k capital funding towards the renovation and building of the room as part of the 30 hours delivery fund. The rest of the building and furnishing costs have been met privately by the owner Graham Greenaway. The room is fully resourced with educational resources sponsored and supplied by Yellow Door an online early years resources company.

In addition Torbay Local Authority project manage the development through Lorraine George the Childcare & Development Worker. Additional funding came from the iBCF fund for equipment and from the South Devon & Torbay Community fund which purchased resources specifically for adults with cognitive loss.


Childminders have been visiting the Warberries Nursing Home for two years one morning a week. During this time the owner, Graham Greenaway, and his Management Team have seen for themselves the positive difference having children in the building has had upon the older adults, particularly those with dementia. They want the residents to have these interactions on a daily basis and see the difference this makes to their health and well-being.


As the project is very much in its early days (started 9th September 2019) we will use this opportunity to explore the impact that the increased time together has upon the children and older adults ability. The team hope that the project will encourage other care homes in Torbay to develop similar initiatives by converting their often empty lounges in to intergenerational spaces for Childminders and children.

Tools will include:

  • A baseline assessment taken at the start of the project.
  • The Arts/Obs scale to measure levels of well-being and engagement of the adults.
  • The Leuven Scales will be used to measure levels of well-being and involvement for the children.

The practitioner responsible for this project Lorraine George won a Winston Churchill Fellowship Award and after her research published her report, Starting Young: Lifelong Lessons from Intergenerational Care and Learning.

Due to the difficulty in objectively measuring outcomes in intergenerational work, Lorraine travelled to America to investigate the growing body of qualitative evidence that suggests that regular engagement between the ages benefits both the old and the young as well as also impacting favourably upon staff, employers and the community and also possibly reducing overhead costs by colocating care in the same building.

Lorraine’s Fellowship report focused on the following:

  • Investigating how co-located settings were established and the different business models that are used
  • Exploring co-located care within the US as a means of raising awareness of the mutual benefits of intergenerational learning
  • Considering whether these models could be replicated in the UK.

You can watch a film clip from one of the visited Care Homes in Coffeyville, Oklahoma where the reception class were on site in the care home. The residents and reception children are playing Mystery Grandma/Grandpa- you can tell how much the kids and residents enjoyed it.

Local Priorities

This project fits within Torbay’s ‘Ageing Well’ agenda for adult social care.
It also fits with the Torbay Early Years Advisory Team and their focus on improving outcomes for vulnerable children.

National Government Objectives

This project meets the All Party Parliament Group recommendations in England around increasing intergenerational connections and if facilitated in Scotland would contribute to the following Strategic objectives:

SMARTER – Expanding opportunities to succeed from nurture through to lifelong learning ensuring higher and more widely shared achievements.

HEALTHIER – helping people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, ensuring better, local and faster access to health care.

Scottish NPF national outcomes

This project could easily contribute to the following national outcomes of the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework (NPF).

  • Children and young people – we grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential
  • Communities – we live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe.
  • Culture – we are creative and out vibrant and diverse cultures are expressed and enjoyed widely.
  • Education – we are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society.