20 September, 2023

Building healthy communities through intergenerational integrated housing practices

With an increasing focus on how to house our ageing population, and growing evidence of the link between where we live and our mental and physical health (Marmot Review 10 Years On), Intergenerational England is advocating for intergenerational housing to be firmly in the mix of any government strategy.

Charlotte Miller

Co-Founder of Intergenerational England

Intergenerational practice brings people of different age groups together, fostering a sense of understanding and respect between generations.

By promoting intergenerational housing schemes and creating communities that promote social connection amongst generations, we can address many of the social and economic challenges associated with housing our rapidly expanding ageing population, forecast to be 22% of the population by 2033. (Centre of Ageing Better)

Many local authorities are already seeing the benefits of intergenerational housing schemes. For communities and individuals to thrive, different age groups need to coexist.

Intergenerational housing creates environments that encourage mutual support and build stronger communities. By integrating generations, we can combat some of the greatest challenges we face as a society including loneliness and social isolation.

Last year Cherilyn Mackrory, Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth called on the Government to provide more options for elderly people looking to move. Poignantly she acknowledged:

Not all retired people want to live in retirement villages with other retired people only.”

Working with an advisory board which includes HACT and Clarion, Intergenerational England will collaborate across the housing sector to develop more innovative housing initiatives.

Intergenerational England – the background

Over the past five years, my organisation – Intergenerational Music Making (IMM) – has been delivering intergenerational programmes, training, campaigning and research across care homes, sheltered accommodation, schools, colleges and hospitals and community centres. Our work has demonstrated how to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of the old and the young in communities across the UK by embedding a culture of thinking intergenerationally.

Yet a lack of intergenerational connection contributes to some of the greatest challenges we face as a nation, from loneliness and anxiety to poor health, ageism as well as the housing crises.

Through working with organisations like HACT, Clarion, Sovereign and, in discussions with the Housing LIN, IMM has seen the positive impact of intergenerational connection firsthand and been advocating to embed a national culture of intergenerational thinking across all sectors.

Now a new group has come together from public, voluntary, and private sectors to take action. Intergenerational England is the first national body to share best practices, research, and innovation in intergenerational practice. It aims to build a like-minded community that addresses the negative impact of age-segregation to develop a more inclusive society.

By bringing together expertise and resources from key organisations working to support the health, education, wellbeing, and housing needs of people of all ages across England, Intergenerational England aims to drive more cross-generational activity to help:

To help pave the way for a brighter future for the housing sector we need to come together with one voice to ensure that intergenerational practises take centre stage in future government housing policy.

“We believe the provision of housing is about more than just bricks and mortar – it’s about enhancing peoples’ lives.

As the charity for the social housing sector, HACT is delighted to be championing Intergenerational England and helping to ensure intergenerational housing is firmly on the agenda for shaping how we live. By partnering with organisations across the housing sector, we can work together to encourage innovation, foster collaboration and create integrated communities where people of every age can live well.”

Andrew van Doorn (OBE)

Chief Executive, HACT

“Clarion is committed to creating communities where our residents can thrive at any age. Intergenerational connections can be a wonderful and enriching part of life for people of all ages, tackling loneliness and isolation and dispelling misconceptions, but sadly we’re living in an increasingly age segregated society.

“Intergenerational England can help change that and we are proud to be involved. By encouraging policies that help us to think more intergenerationally we can make a huge difference to both young and old.”

Sarah Mitton

Age Friendly Communities Manager at Clarion Futures

Intergenerational England is based on collaboration. They welcome your thoughts and ideas on how to harness the power of intergenerational practise. Visit Intergenerational England for updates and developments.  

To register interest for details on current intergenerational projects contact: emily@intergenerationalengland.org

If you found this of interest, the Housing LIN curates a dedicated page on Intergenerational Housing on its website. And our consultancy team are also currently evaluating a pioneering intergenerational living project. We look forward to sharing the results in due course.

References:

The Marmot Review 10 Years On

Centre of Ageing Better