Centre for Intergenerational Practice, Research & Development, England

Apples and Honey Nightingale in partnership with the Beth Johnson Foundation are resurrecting the Centre for Intergenerational Practice, Research and Development (England).

Background and rationale

The partnership is supported by a newly formed UK Intergenerational Executive Team which will directly connect Intergenerational experts from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales. It is hoped this will engender more cross border working across the UK as well as internationally. Each organisation is an active member of the Global Intergenerational Week Executive Team (Apples & Honey Nightingale/The Beth Johnson Foundation, Bridging the Generations and the Welsh Network.

The Beth Johnson Foundation (BJF), established in 1972 is a national charity based in Stoke-on-Trent dedicated to making a future for all ages and believe that as a society, we need to make changes at a strategic and practical level to support ageing communities. Conducting cutting edge research, advising policymakers, and initiating pioneering age-friendly programmes, BJF is at the forefront of making those changes happen.

The BJF, originally established the Centre for Intergenerational Practice (CIP) in 2001 and was instrumental in the development of intergenerational practice across the UK, Europe, and internationally. It recognised the need for a structured approach to promoting and supporting connections between generations and an identified organisation to coordinate and consolidate the development of this work. For many years CIP acted as a coordinating body for practitioners providing advice/support, training, small grants, and networking for practitioners, organisations, and policymakers who were interested in adding value to their work and addressing social issues with an intergenerational approach (BJF, 2011).

BJF’s definition of intergenerational practice is still the most commonly used definition in the field of intergenerational work:

‘Intergenerational practice aims to bring people together in purposeful, mutually beneficial activities which promote greater understanding and respect between different generations and contributes to building more cohesive communities. Intergenerational practice is inclusive, building on the positive resources that the younger and older generations have to offer each other and those around them.’ (Beth Johnson Foundation, 2001).

BJF supported the growth of IG work across the UK by originally securing funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies Fund to create Linking Generations Northern Ireland, which remains to this day part of the BJF. It also supported the Welsh and Scottish Intergenerational field to develop further. With guidance and support from the BJF, the Scottish Steering Group secured funding from the Scottish Government to create the Scottish Centre for Intergenerational Practice (later renamed to Generations Working Together). In Wales, funding opportunities saw a variety of projects and support given to the Welsh Assembly. This was a big step forward in the support for, and recognition of, intergenerational approaches throughout the UK and was the beginning of the social movements we see today through the work of Generations Working Together (GWT) and Linking Generations NI (LGNI).

Today, LGNI remains part of the BJF, benefitting from their experience and international connections, and GWT is now a Scottish constituted charity. LGNI works closely with Generations Working Together in Scotland as the only two country-wide ‘intergenerational’ development bodies in the UK and have strong connections with a range of organisations across Europe and internationally which they use to further develop the reach and credibility of intergenerational practice and approaches.

As more intergenerational projects are developing in England, it is time for the BJF to re-visit its position as the founding organisation of IG practice to support other IG projects, research and development to expand and grow the reach of intergenerational opportunities and translational and transformational learning. The BJF has deliberately partnered with Apples and Honey Nightingale to develop it’s CIP into a hub of intergenerational training, networking, mentoring, development, and research.

Apples and Honey Nightingale (AHN) is England’s first co-located intergenerational setting in a Care Home with a focus on daily, intentional, mutually beneficial intergenerational engagements. It has a proven record of outstanding practice, and, like BJF, its Director is on the executive team of Global Intergenerational Week.

AHN has also developed the first accredited Suite of level 3 qualifications in intergenerational practice providing another pathway for career progression for both educators and those working in social care. CACHE/NCFE is an organisation similar to City & Guilds. They specialise in vocational qualifications for the Early Years, Education, Health and Social Care sectors. Accreditation by CACHE/NCFE assures the quality and rigour of a qualification. More information available via AHN Education and Training.

AHN is already working with GWT, LGNI and Wales to develop quality indicators in intergenerational practice. This project is funded by the Lottery Fund, supported by an international advisory group consisting of the leading academics in intergenerational practice from across America, Spain, Australia and the UK. With an international advisory panel, it is hoped that the resultant quality standards will become the benchmark for outstanding intergenerational practice across the globe.

AHN encourage the development of intergenerational community spaces, offering advice and training and mentoring fledgling IG projects. In the public sphere, AHN are partnering with the Local Government Information Unit whose regular briefings will include articles about our intergenerational work over the next 12 months. They are also working with the Government’s Education and Training Foundation ETF through which they will reach a nationwide audience of tutors and teachers.

Our international connections with academics across the globe, including at the University of Granada, Spain, Penn University, USA, and Griffin University, Australia and with the Eisner Foundation enable us to be at the forefront of intergenerational research, development and practice.

The BJF and AHN have a shared vision to support the development, and raise the awareness and profile, of high-quality intergenerational practice, development and research across England. To encourage and nurture more sustainable and lasting relationships between people of different generations (specifically older and younger generations). The Centre will encourage and grow connections across all sectors and levels (from grass root to government); establish networking opportunities; build strong cross disciplinary partnerships; develop and facilitate intergenerational training; and promote intergenerational research.

Read the launch briefing paper below which provides further details of the centres roles, responsibilities and future developments.

If you would like to get involved you can sign up here.