The Per-sev-ere Project looks at community involvement in Leith and how older and younger people can “create more opportunities for young and old to come together”. 20 older people and 8 young people from Leith worked together in the summer of 2008. The focus was to examine how older and younger generations feel about community planning and ways they could be engaged or share their views with the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership – their local community planning structure.
The project was a collaboration between Pilmeny Development Project and Citadel Youth Centre. Together the particpants’ produced a DVD – Per-sev-ere – (copy available on request) which was presented to the Neighbourhood Planning Partnership. It contained their recommendations for improving participation of older and younger people.
Before the project began, older people said that their impression of young people was affected by seeing young people in large groups in the Leith area, and that walking past these groups could be intimidating, although all agreed that “you can’t tar them all with the same brush”. They now say that if they saw one of the younger people they met through the project with their friends, they would now feel much more confident to say hello. Younger people said they had little or no contact with older people and that contact with older people made them feel positive, listened to and valued. This initiative helped us to better understand the experience of intergenerational work and we are already using what was learned to develop a new initiative based on this example of good practice, in which young and old can be brought together in ways they enjoy.
As one participant said: “We should do that again, because they’re helping us and we’re helping them!”
Key factors in project’s success
The Per-sev-ere project has made a big difference both to the younger and older people who took part as well as the wider community in Leith.
Older and younger people now have:
- increased confidence with contact between the generations
- learned new skills and a lot about each other!
- lifted barriers and fear to engage with each other
- built positive new relationships and making a real contribution
- found out they had a lot of issues in common
- increased respect between the generations
In addition, when asked during the evaluations (based on their experience), ‘What could older and younger people get out of intergenerational projects?’ their comments demonstrated how much the participants had gained from the initiative.
Older people said:
“Satisfaction – if you’ve helped.”
“Enlightenment – with all the problems facing young people in today’s society.” “Older people have more time to listen.”
“Respect is earned not given.”
“Give 100% of your attention, keep your mouth shut and ears open!”
Younger people said:
“The older generation passed their knowledge on to us.”
“Young people can tell older people how they feel about things.”