12 Mar 21

Intergenerational Week 2021: How volunteering brings generations together

By Emma Gwynne

Written by Brunelcare
Reading time: 3 minutes
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Intergenerational Week 2021: How volunteering brings generations together

Throughout the pandemic, what has perhaps suffered most of all is our connection with others: our friends, neighbours and family. In our small way we have tried to bridge that gap with our volunteering and our ask from the community to support those we care for by reaching out and connecting where they can.

The concept of intergenerational activities can conjure up images of preschool children in a care home, and whilst this is a very valuable way to connect generations, it is just not possible with all the current restrictions and can miss the simple aims of intergenerational practice. Building connections with generations in our everyday lives, being at ease with each other, accepting differences and uniting with our similarities - it is reciprocal and has positives for all generations. Bringing people together in purposeful, mutually beneficial activities contributes to building more cohesive and inclusive communities.

Supposedly we share over 50% of our DNA with a banana, so it’s not a great leap to think we could have more in common with the next person regardless of their age!

Our volunteering can be defined by an intergenerational mingling. Importantly, we don’t ask people their age, we ask people what they like to do with their time - shared passions and interests unite us and create lasting, fulfilling relationships.

Hannah and Rose love reading and have swapped book titles, Mike and Nicki share a passion for music and both play the ukulele virtually together, Linda and Sue have both enjoyed reminiscing about holidays in a campervan!

When we celebrate Intergenerational Week with our volunteering and community life at Brunelcare, we recognise that we are celebrating our commonality - all that unites us regardless of age or any other factor. We’re supporting mutually beneficial relationships.

As our volunteer befriender Howie puts it so well, speaking to his befriender is ‘the highlight of my week. There’s almost 40 years between us, but conversation bridges the gap.’

We look forward to continuing to support Brunelcare friendships - both those already made and those of the future! People’s anxiety has increased, with some spending an extraordinary amount of time on their own. As restrictions ease, connecting and reconnecting with each other may take more time, care, patience and understanding. Doing this through the scope of intergenerational practice supports innovation, and this enthusiasm will help to restore an enduring, natural connection between people.

We pledge to embed intergenerational practice in our volunteering and our wider work with and within our communities to support a greater understanding, respect and kindness for each other, across and within generations.

To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, click here.

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