Britain must take action to end ‘age apartheid’ by building shared sites with intergenerational care, housing and learning, a new report has said.
The report by United for All Ages, a social enterprise that works to bring together old and young, states that Britain is one of the most age-segregated countries in the world, with people of different ages unlikely to mix with each other outside their own families.
It argues ‘age apartheid’ has led to divisions within communities across the country, and is aiming to help establish 500 shared sites where people of all ages can mix and share activities by 2023.
The report, Together in the 2020s, said there are currently thousands of nurseries that are linking with care homes in the UK and there is “no reason” why this couldn’t be extended to other community facilities with mutual benefits for younger people.
It cites a number of growing number of grassroots projects that are driving change, including homeshare schemes, which bring together an older person with a spare room with a younger person who can provide support and companionship, matching them into compatible relationships.
The organisation also explained that the Intergenerational Housing Network, coordinated by United for All Ages and Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellow Emma Garland, is planning to extend its activities in 2020 to share lessons and ideas between pioneering intergenerational housing schemes.
Stephen Burke, who set up United for All Ages in 2010 with his wife Denise, said: “Bringing Britain together is one of the biggest challenges for the new decade. The last decade saw huge disconnection and division. The 2020s can be different. Ending ‘age apartheid’ and ageism and promoting more intergenerational mixing could help create a Britain for all ages by 2030 – united not divided.
“More mixing between the generations is the way to build trust and understanding across our communities and our country. To make it happen requires not just vision and ambition, but also political will and leadership locally and nationally.”
Caption: A Caremark home care service based in West Yorkshire is piloting a scheme aimed at bridging the gap between children and the elderly.