The story of The Children’s Society’s Greenwich Intergenerational Project

---------------------------------The Children’s Society’s
Greenwich Intergenerational
The story of The Children’s Society’s Greenwich
Intergenerational Project
How it came about, how it was set up, what was achieved and what the future
might hold.
‘Proves that young and old can get on together. There’s no kind of them and us.’
older person, Horn Park
The Children’s Society, founded in 1881,
is a leading national charity and service
provider. Our direct action, delivering
solutions and results through a network
of projects, supports those children
who face danger, discrimination and
disadvantage. We turn around the lives
of 50,000 children and their families
every year. Our pioneering research
and influential campaigning protects
the rights of all children.
Our work is based on the belief that
children and young people have the
right to be heard on decisions affecting
their lives.
The Children’s Society’s Greenwich
Intergenerational Project is a three year
Big Lottery funded project focusing on
reducing conflict and building positive
links across the generations.
Where did the idea come from?
Starting out
Getting local communities involved
Bringing together
Reducing conflict
Summing up
Looking ahead
Useful resources and information
This toolkit brings together some of the
best practice from the project. It is aimed
at practitioners and managers interested
in intergenerational practice across the
community. The Intergenerational
school project is aimed at professionals
working in school settings. The conflict,
communication and community
programme is relevant to professionals
working with young people at risk of
offending. The section on activities for
community settings is aimed at people
working in youth clubs, residential homes
and other groups in the community.
‘They don’t
really like us.’
young person
they think we
cause trouble and
they call the police
but you’re not
doing nothing.’
residents wanted
them [young
people] carted
home for nothing.’
1 Where did the idea come from?
young person
In 2006, Children and Neighbourhoods
in London (a project of The Children’s
Society) conducted a local consultation
exercise in the London Borough of
Greenwich around anti-social behaviour
(ASB). The consultation revealed that
children and young people feel they are
perceived negatively in their communities.
The consultation also revealed that
the new ASB legislation had raised
expectations among the general public.
For instance, they had high expectations
of Police powers to deal with low-level
behaviours and to disperse groups of
young people perceived to be behaving
The consultation report suggested the
importance of embracing the positive
contribution that young people can
make within communities and to
encourage better communication
across the generations.
We used this consultation to submit a
bid to the Big Lottery Fund and were
successful in securing funding for three
years to deliver an intergenerational
project in the Glyndon and Horn Park
areas of Greenwich. The aim was to
address tensions between children and
young people aged 10–18 years old and
older residents aged 50-plus.
2 Starting out
Outreach: During the first few months of
the project, we visited a range of groups
in both Horn Park and Glyndon, including:
Youth and Play services, Age Concern
projects, residents groups, and
community groups and centres. We also
joined a forum in the Horn Park area to
explain our work to the community and
also to ensure that we understood what
was going on in the community.
Questionnaire: The participants from
Horn Park and Glyndon completed
questionnaires based on their feelings
and perceptions of the other generation.
This is being used as part of our
external evaluation of the project to
assess whether the activities make
any difference.
Steering Group: We developed a
steering group to help guide the project.
Members of the steering group were
invited from organisations such as:
Greenwich Neighbourhood Renewal,
Youth Offending Team, Safer
Neighbourhoods Team, Youth Services,
Age Concern, Horn Park primary school
and Greenwich Neighbourhoods Services.
3 Getting the local
communities involved
‘It was fun
learning about
the olden days.’
young person
‘I was
surprised they
were interested
enough to
listen to us.’
‘We were
first nervous and
scared, but when
we interviewd our
first person we felt
a bit confident...’
‘When I grew
up you could all go
out and play, everyone
could go out, you could
roam round and it
was really safe...’
older person
younger person
older person
Consultation: We held sessions with
groups of children and young people to
prepare them for the meeting with older
people. Settings included a primary
school, an adventure playground, a
residential home and an over-60s club.
Activities included role-play, in which the
young people acted the part of an older
person. They also explored differences
between older people and children,
including ways of communication. This
included looking at the meanings of
words and how various cultures and age
groups often interpret different meanings
for the same word, which can lead to
misunderstandings. For example, ‘later’ for
a young person is ‘bye’ or ‘goodbye’ for
an older person and ‘sick’ for a young
person is ‘great’ for an older person
The younger generation developed a list
of questions to ask the older people. For
example, ‘Tell me your happiest childhood
memory’, ‘When did you leave school and
at what age did you start work?’ They
took voice recorders to the local
community centre and interviewed
members of an over-60s club.
Reminiscence: Sessions for 50-plus yearolds were provided at different venues
(including Horn Park Primary School, a
local residents group and Chatterbox at
the Trinity Centre, Glyndon). The aim
was to give older people time to share
memories of their youth and have their
life experiences valued. Stories were
triggered through handling period
artefacts, documents and photographs.
The process of sharing these memories of
growing up led the group to reflect on
and discuss the experiences of children
and young people today.
The young people found these sessions
interesting and learnt about childhood
in the 1940s and 50s. They discovered
that the older people had often started
work at 14 years old and most had
memories of living through World War II.
The interviews evoked information and
memories that linked with the children’s
school curriculum.
The sessions with older people gave us a
chance to listen to their opinions and views.
It was also an opportunity to discuss what
they believe children and young people
experience in their communities today.
The team also developed relationships with
the older people, helping to create a firm
base for the ongoing work with children
and young people.
‘I didn’t
really want to
come here and
meet groups of
noisy kids.’
older person
4 Bringing together
‘I played
bingo with my
elderly buddy. The
tea party was a
huge success.’
‘It’s nice
having the young
ones around – I
was young once
you know.’
older person
younger person
4.1 Joint activities
We brought older and younger people
together to explore their commonalities
and share creative tasks. A series of
workshops and an outing were planned
with younger and older people. Some
of the workshops are outlined below.
Arts project with Emergency Exit Arts:
Both groups designed work to illustrate
perceptions of what makes up their
community. Together they drew and cut
stencils, which were used to imprint the
group design onto canvas. Both young
and old were happy with the colourful
and imaginative banners produced.
Crochet workshop: The young people
from Glyndon Adventure Playground
suggested a workshop on learning how to
crochet. The older residents at Windrush
House were unsure if they could
remember the skill. We took 1950s
knitting and crochet patterns to the
workshop to trigger memories. Samples
of coasters and antimacassars (borrowed
from Age Exchange Reminiscence Centre)
were handled and their use explained.
With encouragement, four of the older
people demonstrated crochet work,
weaving the wool with special hooks into
a series of intricate knots. Young people
crocheted a few centimetres – their
concentration was strong, but the task
was challenging. One young person
wanted to make a rug for his unborn niece
or nephew and we learnt the following
year that he had crocheted his nephew’s
baby blanket.
4.2 Trips
4.3 Community event
It was difficult to agree a visit that
satisfied the contrasting needs of our
group, but with compromise, the younger
and older people in Glyndon had a good
day at the seaside. Both groups found
leaving South East London and travelling
to the coast an adventure. We held a quiz
in the coach to help us learn more about
each other. We drove alongside Brighton
esplanade and ate fish and chips
overlooking the beach. Some of the group
shared memories of growing up in the
Caribbean and Sierra Leone. The trip was
rounded off with a visit to the arcades.
A total of 66 older and younger people
attended two community events – one in
Glyndon, one in Horn Park. The initiative
was ‘Have your Say’, where issues around
community safety and cohesion were
The young group from Horn Park went on
a theatre trip to London’s Apollo Theatre
along with older people from the over60s club Pop-In. Despite problems getting
up steps at the Apollo, the show, Wicked,
proved to be a good choice. There was
something for both young and old,
including dance, music, singing and
acting. The change of location from the
Horn Park area to the West End bonded
the two generations and the positive
shared experience sparked
social connections.
‘I am
glad I was
older person
Both generations prepared for these
events by participating in skills workshops
that led to filmed interviews. These
interviews (some of which are on the
accompanying DVD with this Toolkit)
were used to stimulate discussion during
the events. Children from the school
helped to organise the event, and local
young people -engaged with the project
through art workshops- attended. Older
people contacted through the Community
Centre, seniors’ groups and residents’
meetings were also invited to help define
the event and come along.
‘Have your Say’ also provided
information from 10 local sources of
support in Greenwich, creative skills
workshops (including bike maintenance,
intergenerational dance and safety in the
community) and an opportunity for the
generations to socialise.
‘It was great,
Nintendo Wii.’
young person
‘It was a good
day meeting a
cross section of
people and maybe
could be done
twice a year
in the future.’
‘We were
all young once.
And I’m no angel,
I can tell you that.
But I never got into
trouble, I wasn’t
allowed was I?’
older person,
5 Reducing conflict
‘I now
have more
knowledge of what
goes on around here,
I am more confident
to solve conflicts.’
young person
Conflict and community programme: :
In Glyndon, we worked with eight
challenging young people at a primary
school. In Horn Park we provided a
programme for a dozen Year 6 students.
Both programmes aimed to raise issues
around conflict in the community and
explore models for dealing with conflicts.
Older people joined for some parts of
the programme.
Activities included: team problemsolving tasks; communication games;
stereotypical images and ‘seeing the
whole picture’ role-plays. Role-plays
included identifying and dealing with
different perceptions; anti-social
behaviour and who does it; and
identifying blocks to communication.
Conflict and community workshops:
We then worked with 80 young people in
three schools delivering one-off conflict
resolution workshops. We based our work
on best practice from the previous year’s
work. An older person assisted, working
alongside the young people.
Conflict, communication and community
programme with young people at risk
of offending: We worked with a total of
23 young people aged 10–17 in Greenwich.
This programme supports individuals to
challenge and deal with conflict in the
community. The programme was
developed and designed using best
practice materials from the past two years
of the intergenerational project.
Young people identified conflicts and antisocial behaviour within their community
and looked at positive ways of resolving
these. An integral part of the programme
was the opportunity to express their
feelings and views through artwork.
After the four sessions, the young people
were asked how satisfied they were with
the project overall. The result was 94%
being very satisfied. At the end of the
programme, each young person
completed a one-to-one evaluation,
including a promise to themselves in
relation to dealing with conflict.
Examples of activities include: identifying
conflicts that arise in communities; filmed
interviews discussing intergenerational
conflicts to elicit opinions; role-play to try
to resolve conflicts; and a game, Wink for
Freedom, to encourage reflection on how
individuals respond to conflict.
‘I am going
to deal with
conflict by
ignoring and
avoiding it.’
young person
communicating with
others I will do my best
to be friendly and think
about my words and
the way that
I use them.’
‘I will
do my best to
behave in my
community by going
up to the park and not
hanging around on
street corners.’
young person
‘Fear is
caused by the
dress it up.’
young person
Conflict, communication and community
work with older people: We provided
one-off workshops on community safety
and intergenerational conflict to a total of
26 older people from three groups – a day
centre, a residential home and an evening
club – all in the Glyndon area.
In Horn Park, we worked with elders in the
primary school, using World War II
memories as a catalyst for looking at
conflicts. This school is keen to sustain
and further relationships between young
and old in the community.
older person
safety officers
can take the pressure
off the relationship
between Police
and young people.’
older person
This toolkit of best practice incorporates
work from all three years of the project;
it was developed and produced while
final-year activities and evaluation were
still ongoing. Its use beyond the lifetime
of the project will ensure sustainability
of outcomes.
Throughout the three year project we
worked towards the following objectives:
l Young people gain new skills, and
have the opportunity to undertake
accredited training through the Youth
Achievement Awards
l Young people and older people will
have a better understanding of the
impact of social disorder on different
generations, and have positive
strategies for minimising these conflicts
l Young and older people will
have increased confidence in the
effectiveness of community-based
approaches to dealing with
intergenerational conflict, and
will therefore feel safer in
their communities
l The Children’s Society develops
intergenerational conflict resolution
good practice models for dissemination
What follows below are some findings
from year two evaluation reports:
6 Summing up
l Younger people learned that the
estates used to be much friendlier
places to live, and this may explain
some of the elders’ attitudes
l Older people realised that some
younger people share many of their
own concerns about community safety,
and not all of them hang around
causing trouble all the time
l Older people and teachers noted
the improvements in many children’s
attitudes and behaviour over the
course of the project
l Teachers also noted a growth in interpersonal skills, confidence and maturity
among participants
l All participants enjoyed the projects,
recognised its value, and wanted it
to continue
l The project received strong support
from teaching staff, as it complements
parts of the Personal Social and Health
Education (PSHE) curriculum, and head
teachers have recommended it to
colleagues at other schools
The project has been externally evaluated
by CSC Regeneration & Research
Consultants throughout its lifespan.
Evaluation reports for all three years
are available on request.
7 Looking ahead
‘When I was
young it was teddy
boys and mods &
rockers. They had
knives. I think they
called them flick
older person
‘Now I
understand older
people more. I'm more
considerate towards
them – they're not
different, they've the
same issues as us.’
young person
Based on our achievements and positive
feedback from beneficiaries and partners
we are looking to develop our programme
of Intergenerational activities further and
roll out across Greenwich and beyond.
Positive feedback from Youth Offending
Team staff indicates that other Londonbased teams would benefit from this
service. Older people and younger people
who worked on the schools and
community part of the project have
expressed a desire for the work to
develop and continue.
Ideas on how to take our intergenerational
project work further include the following:
Older people’s expertise resource:
To allow older people to share their
experiences with children in schools and
community settings. Children would
benefit from older people’s support with
reading programmes and citizenship
activities as well as from learning history
through first-hand memories. By working
together, perceptions of the difference
between generations will lessen and help
prevent the escalation of intergenerational
conflict. Additional benefits would include
enhancing the community’s cultural and
historical knowledge, and creating a
stronger understanding between different
groups in the same community.
Conflict and community programme:
This programme can be taken forward
by developing young people’s skills in
designing and leading workshops with
other young people and older people on
safety and conflict in their communities;
we would also like to develop older
people’s mediation skills, which could lead
to them mediating on low level conflicts
within their communities.
Bert Holder
Bill Montague
Chatterbox lunch club
Children and young people
from Glyndon Adventure
Chinwag members
Chris Cowen
Greenlawns residents
Joan Bird
Mercy Blore
Mrs Joyce Cromarty
Pauline Shotton
Ramgarhia Youth Club
Simon Elliot
Surjit Nazram
Trinity Youth Club
Trish Mulholland
Waterside School young people
Windrush House residents
Horn Park
Alan Clifford
Bernard Plastow
Children from Horn Park primary school
Cyril Tomlin
David Roll
Ellanora Clarke
Gaveston and Simnel residents group
Horn Park Community Centre
John Sowe
Karl Bolingbroke
Martin Sheldon
Members of Pop-In
Mrs Ivy Thomas
Mrs Peggy Evennet
Residents at Conifers Day Centre
Rhoda Bobade
The Forum
Tim Donaldson
Young people with Greenwich Youth
Inclusion and Support Panel
Artists and organisations
Age Exchange Reminiscence Centre
Emergency Exit Arts
Greenwich Dance Agency
Simon Purins
Steering group for Greenwich
Intergenerational Project
7 Acknowledgements
Age Concern Greenwich – Jacky Grant
Community Safety and Integrated
Enforcement Unit – Annette Hines
CSC Regeneration & Research
Consultancy – David Axford
Gavin Gaskain
Glyndon Safer Neighbourhood
Police Team
Greenwich Anti Social Behaviour Team
Greenwich Borough Partnership
and Neighbourhoods Policing Team
Greenwich Dance Agency – Shabari Rao
Greenwich Neighbourhood Pride –
Tayi Artry
Greenwich Neighbourhood Renewal –
Uke Agwu
Greenwich Neighbourhoods Services –
Michael Hammonds, Lee Christie
Greenwich Youth Inclusion and
Support Panel
Greenwich Youth Inclusion Project –
Trevor Brown
Greenwich Youth Services – Lucy Mattick
London and Quadrant Housing Trust
Middle Park Safer Neighbourhoods Team
Vista Field Children’s Centre –
Beverley Benstein
The Children’s Society’s project team
Caroline Baker
Fiona Side – programme manager
Naomi Salawu
Petra Hilgers
Rebecca Marshall
Veronika Neyer – programme manager
from September 2008
Victoria Bamber
Supported by
Amelia Aiken
Anna Jones
Kate Reed
Yvonne Campbell
8 Useful resources and information
Intergenerational practice and projects
Age Concern: Intergenerational project in
Age Concern: England Active Age unit:
Activities include intergenerational work
for older people
Age Exchange Reminiscence Centre,
Blackheath, London: Training and
resources for reminiscence and
intergenerational work, plus a café
with exhibitions and artefacts
Camden Council: Case studies
of intergenerational work in
Camden, London
Beth Johnson Foundation: Supports older
people through policy, research and
Centre for Intergenerational Practice:
Supports and promotes the potential of
intergenerational projects to address
social issues
General information and resources about
intergenerational work, topic pages and
links to other relevant intergenerational
Got a Teenager: A jargon-buster to
translate the language teenagers use
Moving history: Film clips from public
sector archives
The Freechild Project (USA):
Intergenerational project working with
other organisations to help them develop
educational programmes and resources
that foster positive intergenerational
The National Archives Learning Curve:
Online resource for learning about and
teaching history
Groundwork: Up To No Good
intergenerational project in North London
Scottish Centre for Intergenerational
National Youth Agency: Five case studies
on building intergenerational relationships
Intergenerational work –
useful information and support
Charity Registration No. 221124 | Photographs © The Children’s Society | 7434/01/09
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