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The next generation: how intergenerational interaction improves life chances of children and young people

Much of the media coverage of the growing number of intergenerational projects has focused on the benefits for older people – from improving health and care to tackling loneliness.

This paper focuses on the benefits for the next generation – children and young people who currently face a growing crisis of confidence, loneliness and anxiety, often fearful about the future, fragmented families, segregated by age, with cuts in services and financial support.

Intergenerational interaction between older and younger people can help address these issues - starting at an early age with nurseries and care homes linking, through schools, colleges and universities, to mentoring and community projects.

Giving children a good start in life, raising attainment, changing attitudes, solving tough issues and shaping the future are the key themes set out in this paper. Projects delivering on these themes can all help build confidence and empathy, develop cognitive and communication skills, improve learning and care, reduce ageism and increase mutual understanding to tackle divisions in Britain.