Generations Learning Together

I dont know about you but I find it hard to listen to the news these days.

I’m generally a very glass half fullperson but have to face facts. The pandemic

has had significant and wide-ranging impact across health, economy, fair work and business, and culture.

We are hearing a lot more about loneliness, isolation and our general wellbeing’.

A good time then to consider what difference our centre, The Heart, will make, and why our focus on intergenerational activities is important.

Why ‘intergenerational’?  

The fact is that even before the pandemic, changes in society, greater geographical mobility and a shift towards an ageing population,(50% Scotlands population continues to age, with a 50% increase in over 60s projected by 2033) have resulted in many activities becoming age-segregated with most communities only mixing with friends from their own generation.  

This has been further impacted by Covid-19 with increased numbers of people living in isolation with little or no family support and no digital access, equipment, knowledge or confidence in device use. Breaking down age barriers and facilitating greater cross-generational interaction is vital to our collective sense of wellbeing, especially when the issue of loneliness seems to be having a profound effect on both young and old. Though there is some suggestion that the experience of lockdown may have had positives for some, most research indicates a generally negative impact on child wellbeing, particularly among 12 to 14 year old girls. It is therefore ever more obvious that we must connect generations.It is essential for people to network, create strong partnerships, and build trust, and having an age friendlyspace will make this intergenerational interaction easier.

The Heart will have spaces that will enable people of all ages to actively have fun and talk to one another. We all know that if you get people together to do something they all want to do, and its fun, they forget what peoples ages are. They dont see age. They just see people and they have fun together.

In the Heart the opportunities will be endless.

The Heart will be one of the first dedicated intergenerational centres in the UK.

Many other organisations, not least places of worship have always bought generations together, but they are not 'dedicated' to that purpose, whereas we are bringing organisations together to share one space and all will offer intergenerational activities.

The 'sum' will be so much greater than the ‘parts.’

We are going to feature guest bloggers on this topic of intergenerational practice, sharing their experiences of helping to bring generations together and to connect. Our community consultation tells us repeatedly that you want a place that reunites the community as a family. Now more than ever this is needed. Do let us know what you think.

Judy Crabb Task Coordinator

Generations learning together

What should an intergenerational space look like??

An opportunity to add your voice to international research


Oh no--- not  another survey I hear you say. 

However, this survey goes to show how much the community led design approach we are taking with the Heart is leading the way!

So, please have a look and have your say on this important question:

"How best to design age-friendly intergenerational places and spaces. These are places where people of all ages feel comfortable and are able to enjoy time together, interact and actively participate in community activities. They are places that consider people of all ages and spaces that promote respect, equality and social connectedness."

Your input will help an international research project -The Age-Friendly Living Ecosystem (AFLE) project team to support the development of age-friendly intergenerational places.


The University of Dundee is a registered Scottish Charity, No: SC015096

The University would be very grateful if  you could take a few minutes to fill in the survey, also please pass this message on to anyone else who you think would have a perspective to contribute, or whose voices you think we should be listening to.

Judy Crabb Task Coordinator

Multi-Generational Centres & Intergenerational Activity - FAQs

by PAS ( Planning Aid Scotland) 

What is a Multi-Generational Centre, and what is Intergenerational Activity?

Multigenerational Centres are meeting places for people of all ages and all backgrounds, offering space for interaction between generations (intergenerational activities), encouraging neighbourliness and helping to reduce exclusion and foster social cohesion. These intergenerational activities and practices (IP) will often be coordinated and delivered by volunteers and can range from childcare to self-determined living in old age, skills sharing, and education/learning.

How is this different from a community centre?
Multigenerational centres and community centres share some common characteristics, such as providing an open meeting space and having a focus on fostering group life and mutual support. However, multigenerational centres are unique in their emphasis on intergenerational activity - the offering of dedicated spaces for differentage groups, alongside spaces and opportunities for specific activity between generations.

What sort of activities occur?
A multigenerational centre will be focused on activities that promote interaction between age groups. The table below presents examples of different activities that may be provided:

  • Geriatric day care / Childcare

  • Community of Interest centres (e.g. Men’s Shed, parenting centre)

  • Informative meeting place open to all members of the community

  • Art / Theatre / Languages

  • Health Care

  • Financial / Jobseeker / Parental / Migration advice

  • Skills/knowledge sharing and socialising (e.g. technology, homework and school tuition)

What are the benefits of intergenerational activities?

Key benefits of multigenerational centres and intergenerational activities are:

  • Create mutually supportive relationships, improve social cohesion, build social capital - as measured by the strength and depth of the network of relationships among people who live and work in a community.

  • Improve health and wellbeing of participants and volunteers.

  • Improve skills and knowledge of participants.

  • Contribute to the age-friendliness of the local community.

  • Organise activities which meet the needs of a specific neighbourhood or small geographical area.

How does this approach work elsewhere?

No dedicated centre exists in the UK yet, however there are a number of projects which emphasise intergenerational activity:

  • Jedburgh Intergenerational Community Campus(Scottish Borders Council) -Community Campus which brings together nursery, primary, secondary schools along with further education facilities. Campus also includes sports and recreation facilities.

  • Cooking Bus(Pilmeny Development Project/Community Food & Health Scotland)– Food preparation and cooking classes with mixed age groups.

  • Generations Working Together(Intergenerational Working) -Advocacy and support/advice for intergenerational activity. Exemplar work in Troon Coastal Rowing Project, sharing skills between youth and adult boat builders.

  • Nightingale House(Nigthingale Hammerson) – Residential care facility with an onsite social enterprise day nursery.

  • Multigeneration House(Deutschland) – Childcare and geriatric services provided alongside ‘public living rooms’ which facilitate interaction between age groups through art/theatre/ethnic group courses, mobile surgeries, homework support.