About Care Home FaNs: Intergenerational Linking
We’re an exciting national social action project that is linking together young people aged 5-14 from schools and youth organisations in less socio-economically advantaged areas of England with older people living in care homes.
Over 4,000 participants from schools, youth groups and care homes across England are taking part, making us the largest intergenerational project in England!
Care Home Friends and Neighbours: Intergenerational Linking is led by a partnership between two organisations – My Home Life England and The Linking Network. This project combines My Home Life England’s expertise with older people and care homes with The Linking Network’s expertise with young people and schools and their successful Schools Linking programme.
As a partnership, we’re supporting a network of 11 local charities and organisations to lead the project in different areas of England. The organisations bring a wealth of their own experiences with younger and older people as well as understanding of their local landscape, and are using this knowledge to support the creation of intergenerational connections.
- Evidence-based and led by research
- Co-produced by young & older people
- Embedded into the National Curriculum
- Led by expertise working with care homes (My Home Life England) and young people (The Linking Network)
- Promoting great youth social action in line with the #iwill campaign
How does the project work?
With the support of a local ‘community broker’ who leads the project in their area, a school or youth group is supported to link with a nearby care home over a period of 18 months and take part in activities together.
Once relationships are established, individual links have the freedom to continue linking in a way that fulfils the interests of their participating younger and older people.
By giving those taking part the opportunity to come together to share in new experiences, learning, stories and laughter, particularly individuals that otherwise may never meet, we’re striving to create meaningful intergenerational friendships that are mutually beneficial, strengthen community connection and deepen understanding of each other and how we all live together. Over time, we hope that long-term, sustainable links will develop between the participating schools, youth groups and care homes.
Younger and older people
In line with the aims of the #iwill campaign (supported by the #iwill Fund) young people are empowered to develop their leadership skills and take ownership of activities, with the hope of helping inspire a long-term habit of engaging with social action and making a positive difference in their local communities.
Equally, older people’s voices are an integral element too, empowering them to participate in the lives of younger generations, including through knowledge sharing, as well as the project helping to boost wellbeing and reduce feelings of isolation.
“I feel good [about doing intergenerational linking] because you’re helping people who are older than you and it must make them feel happy as well” – Labiba, Year 5 pupil
“It was a lovely performance [of a song for intergenerational linking], I saw it in my room. I have a granddaughter your age and it reminded me of her. Your singing made me smile” – Betty, living in a Bristol care home
Our research project
Alongside the project we are conducting a research study, hosted by My Home Life England at City, University of London, focussed on what happens when intergenerational linking begins between schools, youth groups and care homes, and how each intergenerational linking project shapes and changes their local communities over the 18 month period. Our hope is that by capturing the learning in all of the areas taking place at the same time, we can create a body of knowledge to share with those interested in intergenerational studies.
About the project partners
- My Home Life England is an international evidence-based practice-informed initiative that promotes quality of life and delivers positive change in care homes for older people. Care Home Friends and Neighbours (Care Home FaNs) is a national programme run by My Home Life England which “makes it easier for care homes to open their doors up to their communities, helping everyone to feel connected through meaningful engagement”.
- The Linking Network are the pioneers of the Schools Linking programme and support schools and communities to develop a positive, cohesive ethos by helping children, young people and adults to explore identity, celebrate diversity, promote community and champion equality.
This project is funded through the #iwill Fund. The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £54 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.
The Dunhill Medical Trust is acting as a match funder for this project and awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill Fund. We are so grateful for their support.
Interested in our work?
Check out our Twitter: @IntergenLinking
Get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org