A country for all ages: new report

January 7, 2020

A new report has highlighted twenty radical ways to create ‘a country for all ages’ by 2030, countering ageism, loneliness and poor health, care, learning and housing in Britain.

Urgent action is needed to tackle the divisions facing older and younger generations and unite Britain, according to think tank, United for All Ages. Its new report, Together in the 2020s, which is published today the organisation states that Britain is one of the most age-segregated countries in the world, having become even more so in the last decade.

Bringing younger and older people together can help tackle some of the biggest social problems facing all generations in Britain – from poor health and care, anxiety and loneliness to learning, housing and lifelong opportunities. Studies also show that intergenerational projects can change attitudes to ageing, reduce ageism and increase trust in a country where people are often divided by age.

The report’s recommendations suggest ways to create a country for all ages, with suggestions contributed by twenty-five national and local organisations. The contributors are concerned about improving relations between the generations and include the Children’s Commissioner for England, Local Government Association, Nesta and Youth Sport Trust, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Centre for Ageing Better, Care England, Anchor Hanover and Grandparents Plus. They have shared ideas and projects for making Britain ‘a country for all ages’ by 2030.

The report makes key recommendations for action, such as:

  • Developing 1,000 centres for all ages and enabling more care homes to become community hubs; extending schools’ opening hours to provide community spaces for intergenerational activities; scaling up homesharing schemes for older and younger people as part of the growth in intergenerational living; promoting residential streets as play spaces; and training students together on intergenerational projects.
  • Setting up a new government department for connection to support and join-up intergenerational action nationally and locally; assessing all policies’ intergenerational impact; redesigning the economy to make the most of the ageing society; legislating for the long term and planning for future generations; introducing an intergenerational curriculum; and creating a ‘bond for all ages’ with tax breaks to help working families pay for care and learning.
  • Extending the Welsh campaign to end #EverydayAgeism across the UK; making online mentoring universal for young people seeking advice on life-shaping decisions; using the power of football and sport to bring generations together and change local communities; creating media awards for good (and bad) coverage of ageism; designating a Bank Holiday as a national day of unity raising awareness and bringing the country together.

The report’s analysis of recent research shows Britain is one of the most age-segregated countries in the world, particularly for the oldest and youngest generations, but highlights the growth in 2019 of projects bringing different generations together to mix and share activities and experiences. It shows how these projects can give children a good start in life, change attitudes, improve older people’s health and care, and increase trust and understanding between generations.

Stephen Burke, Director of United for All Ages, said, 'Bringing Britain together is one of the biggest challenges for the new decade. The last decade saw huge disconnection and division. The 2020s can be different. Ending ‘age apartheid’ and ageism and promoting more intergenerational mixing could help create a Britain for all ages by 2030 – united not divided.

'More mixing between the generations is the way to build trust and understanding across our communities and our country. To make it happen requires not just vision and ambition, but also political will and leadership locally and nationally.'

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