Intergenerational Practice: Outcomes and effectiveness

Kerry Martin, Mary Atkinson, Iain Springate

16 June 2010

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NFER, with the National Youth Agency (NYA) and National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), was commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA) to examine what works in intergenerational practice. Intergenerational practice refers to activities that bring together older adults and young people or children. Five intergenerational projects were selected to cover a range of foci and target groups, focusing on football, arts, knife crime, living history, and personal and social education.

Key Findings

  • The most fundamental outcome for all participants is that they enjoy the activities. They also develop friendships, gain increased understanding of the other age group, gain confidence and develop new skills.
  • Specific outcomes for young people include positive benefits for academic work and improved relationships with grandparents. Additional outcomes experienced by older people relate to their well-being. More general outcomes include greater community cohesion. There is some evidence of potential negative outcomes, if stereotypes are reinforced through activities.
  • Challenges centred on recruitment and selection of both young and older people, the activities provided, and the organisation and logistics of intergenerational work.
  • A range of key factors of effective intergenerational practice were also identified.
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