Old’s Cool


It was important to run this project, as the aim of our Old’s Cool Intergenerational Project is to support young people (S1-S4) at risk of disengaging from school, to plan and facilitate their own intergenerational activities. Accordingly, intergenerational practice was fundamental to helping our young people achieve this.

Purpose and Objectives

  • The project aimed to train and support young people who are at risk of disengaging from school, to facilitate intergenerational activities with older people.
  • For senior participants we aimed to provide and opportunity for older people to spend positive time with younger people, something many of them did not have the opportunity to do.
  • Younger people were able to gain lots of confidence and greatly improved their communication skills. They also had the opportunity to try out lots of exciting forms of media when presenting their work.

Through our intergenerational activity, we hoped to improve both the confidence and communication skills of young people (S1-S4) who are at risk of disengaging from school. In addition to this, we also wanted to improve relations between members of different generations in the local community.


81 local young people (S1- S4) at risk of disengaging from education and/or not achieving a positive destination and 30 local older people aged 65 and over from Leith took part. Ages ranged from 12 years to 88. Young people were recruited through building positive relationships with 4 local high schools and establishing a referral process which worked directly with school guidance staff. Older people were recruited by working directly with local projects working with older people.

Activities & Events

Our programme is split into 3 distinct phases. During the first phase we work intensively with the young people in school, to prepare them to plan and facilitate activities with older people. This includes a big focus on communication skills and the use of lots of fun and interactive games and activities. For phase 2 we supported our young people to facilitate and record a programme of intergenerational activities of their choice, with a group of older people within a community setting. Lastly, for phase 3 of the project we supported our young people to select and edit their records of intergenerational activity into a presentation (of their chosen medium).

We have also delivered an Old’s Cool showcase event, bringing together young people from the various schools we have worked together, alongside local older people.

Benefits for the Younger People

Our young people gained lots of confidence and greatly improved their communication skills. They also had the opportunity to try out intergenerational practice for the first time.

‘While I was on Old’s Cool I got to take part in sessions in the school and go and visit some older ladies nearby. Activities we did included icebreakers which I really enjoy, going for a meal and playing games – drawing game, puzzle game .’ (Old’s Cool Young Person)

‘Old’s Cool helped me to make new friends and not be shy. Going there and seeing the older ladies and trying homemade scones was amazing’. (Old’s Cool Young Person)

‘Since being on Old’s Cool there are people that I talk to, but didn’t use to.’ (Old’s Cool Young Person)

‘If we didn’t have the older women, we wouldn’t have learned as much about the past. It was fun learning about old money’. (Old’s Cool Young Person)

“Meeting the older people and trying new things has made me more confident, I now speak out so much more in class.” (YoungPerson)

Benefits for the Older People

Our older people had the opportunity to spend positive time with young people, something many in the group did not have the opportunity to do.

“Before Old’s Cool I was often lonely, coming and meeting the kids each week has given me a new lease of life.” (Older Person)

Benefits for the Community

Members of the wider community have had the opportunity to see examples of the media projects our young people have created alongside local older people.

“Young people don’t get the credit they deserve, those I met on Old’s Cool were the highlight of my week.” (Older Person)

“I just thought all older people were the same and never had a sense of humour, but that’s changed since I came to Old’s Cool.” (Young Person)


Paul Hamlyn Foundation


We used a wide range of monitoring and evaluative methods, our young people were asked to complete self-evaluations to measure their confidence and distance travelled. Our referral forms also contained questions that we asked teaching staff to further evidence distance travelled in relation to confidence/communication skills. At the end of each session we also used a wide range of evaluative activities to capture feedback from both the young and older people, on how they felt each session went.

Local priorities

Our project is making a contribution to our local authorities’ priorities by firstly improving the confidence and overall health and welling of both our young and older participants. We are also making a positive contribution to improving relations between both the young and older people who live in the community. Lastly, we are providing a positive learning experience for both our young and older people, enabling both generations to learn from each other.

‘At the end of every session we had to put comments on what we liked, didn’t like and would change.’ (Old’s Cool Young Person)

What did and did not work, and what was the evidence? Were there any barriers?

The majority of evaluative methods worked really well, but in regards to our end of session evaluations – we found our snakes and ladders feedback sheet worked particularly well.

What changed as a result of the project?

Schools now have a greater awareness about our exciting new intergenerational project.

What would be done differently in the future?

We now have a much better understanding of what works best in regards to running our intergenerational sessions. We anticipate this will enable us to deliver even better quality work!

‘At times it could have been a bit calmer, people in my class were a bit hyper, I wouldn’t change anything about the programme though.’
(Stephen – Old’s Cool Young Person)

Next Steps

We hope our Old’s Cool Intergenerational Toolkit will inspire and support other projects to deliver schools based intergenerational work. You can download a copy from the link provided.

Scottish Strategic Objectives

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

SAFER and STRONGER – Helping local communities to flourish, becoming stronger, safer places to live and offering improved opportunities and a better quality of life.

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

This project contributes to the Scottish National Performance Framework (NPF).

Scottish NPF Outcomes

Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens: To enable children, young people and (subsequently) adults to thrive from an early age, and make a positive contribution in the 21st century.

We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society.

We live longer, healthier lives: Securing longer healthier lives for the people of Scotland will always be a top priority for governments and individuals alike. There are significant challenges which can only be addressed by everyone in Scotland working together, pursuing this goal through improving lifestyles and life circumstances, and a shared ownership of an effective NHS.

Our people are able to maintain their independence as they get older and are able to access appropriate support when they need it.