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Championing and promoting the power of generations working together By Jez Hughes CBE

Global Intergenerational Week is 24-30 April  raised a good time to think about what a difference intergenerational activity can make.


Throughout my career I have sought to support and encourage people of all ages to work together to bring about change. The results are truly amazing as these three examples demonstrate:


In the 1980s the ‘age irrelevant power of music’ filled our top concert venues, from Edinburgh’s Playhouse  to London’s Festival Hall, to hear exiled Chilean band Inti Illimani’s haunting melodies as we raised awareness and funds to fight against Pinochet’s repressive rule.  Age played no part as people linked hands to sing ‘The people united will never be defeated’ in the concert hall and in the protests outside stores selling Chilean wine.


In the 2000s, I was privileged to head up communications and fundraising at the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies. Supporting their communities in times of emergency, as well as year round, were some 90 million volunteers in almost every nation of the world. Of all ages, these ‘Red Crossers’ proudly wore their symbol of humanity and worked as one team to save the lives and livelihoods of their neighbours. 


A decade later, the Dementia Friends movement was born. Some four million people joined, changing attitudes to dementia which at best was previously only talked about by older  people, if indeed it was talked about at all. Charities from the Scouts to AgeUK signed up and recruited Dementia Friends from young and older people alike. Many public bodies and  companies promoted their employees to join in to and become ‘dementia friendly’ in how they relate to their customers.


What is remarkable is that only now Intergenerational England is being set up. This new national charity, whose trustees include Lord Kamal, NHS Director Dr Claire Fuller, and I Will Movement co-chair Sami Gichki, sets out to put  intergenerational in the forefront of our planning and practice across government, business and communities. It’s about time we championed and promoted the power of generations working together. The evidence shows that it’s good for the individual, the community, business and society as a whole. You can (should!) become a partner of Intergenerational England, so sign up now! All part of new beginnings in 2024 to make our country a better place. We are starting to realise the aspirations of Age Irrelevance and the vision of Baroness Sally Greengross.”

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