GWT Blog

Intergenerational Practice X Asset-Based Community Development

At GWT, we recognise 9 core principles of intergenerational practice. In order to shed light on these, we will be posting a monthly blog, each dedicated to a different core principle. This month, we begin by exploring what we mean when we say, that intergenerational practice much be 'asset-based'.

 

A core principle of intergenerational practice, is that it is asset-based. What does this mean? Ultimately, it means that we want to focus on existing strengths, within generations and within communities. 

We believe that a major asset of so many communities lies in there being people of all ages. However, the post-industrial shift to independent living has resulted in a growing cultural wall between younger and older people. Ageism and social isolation are, as a result, a continuing problem for communities and wider society, as people become increasingly separated from their traditional social and geographic roots. We believe that intergenerational assets exist in communities and are there to be benefitted from; communities just need support in realising and uncovering these. Intergenerational practice can empower communities, and there is extensive evidence that points to the mutual, physical and mental health benefits of IG work. We want to raise awareness of these. We want to change the narrative from intergenerational work being ‘a nice thing to do’, to being a necessary component of education, health, and community development and sustainment. We want to see it accounted for in urban planning from the outset, to ensure places and spaces are conducive to IG practice, where people of all ages can connect and flourish. 


Asset-based community development argues that, for example, it is more important that we invite older people to share their gifts, rather than invite them to some programme that has been designed for them, rather than by them. Intergenerational practice presents a great opportunity to do achieve this, whereby social isolation and loneliness aren’t necessarily challenged through programmes, or initiatives. Instead, local resources and community assets are utilised to create the conditions necessary for intergenerational relationships to develop and grow. The development of these relationships will allow for new individual and community assets to be uncovered. Older people suffering from loneliness form new relationships and have a new intergenerational network where they can rediscover former passions/interests and even discover new ones; younger people learn from the wisdom and expertise of older people, helping to dismantle their existing preconceptions of elderly persons. Social isolation/loneliness is overcome, whilst younger persons benefit from new life skills and unique opportunities for education. Importantly, once this sort of community is developed, it should persist. If implemented effectively, it is not a transitory programme, subject to an end-date. Rather, it will establish the grounds for continued relationships between generations, for generations to come.  

 

Our International Certificate in Intergenerational Practice (ICIP) explores ideas of 'asset-based' practice deeper, as well as the other eight core intergenerational principles. You can sign up here: Training.

 

If you would just like to learn more about what we do, sign up as a member on our website, where you can access exclusive discounts, free online training, access to case-studies and more!


Also check out some of the links below, to learn more about Asset-Based practises.  
News (generationsworkingtogether.org) 
Asset-Based Community Development - 5 Core Principles