Intergenerational event at Portcullis House

Charlotte Bice (17 years) and Jessica Bice (16 years), with their grandmother, Joan Rapaport, PhD took part in an intergenerational workshop at Portcullis House, 24 August 2018. The afternoon involved discussing different approaches that the young and older generation may adopt to achieve a successful outcome in resolving community challenges. The event was presented by The Way Ahead Engagement Project in association with the City of London, City Bridge Trust and Age UK London. (400 words)

Reflections on the day

‘This has been an enjoyable event’. ‘Great day’. ‘Ninety-nine per cent of the population should have this’.

We were excited to be right by the Houses of Parliament, to be sitting in the room where Select Committees hear evidence and to be working in a group to consider how we might help to improve our local amenities. The presentation How Parliament holds Government to account gave us a clear understanding about the respective roles of Parliament and Government, the duties of our MP and the work undertaken by a range of parliamentary groups. We were also told that if our MP failed to respond to a particular concern we could attend the Houses of Parliament and register our query on a green card. Our MP would then be obliged to stop what they were doing to come to see us in person!

After the presentation we broke into groups to consider how we might approach specific social issues. We found our question – how would you make your community age friendly? – too vague. However, we did our best! At first we discussed how different generations view community and the challenges that come with trying to unite these interpretations. A particularly interesting aspect of our conversation was how technology has accelerated these changes but also has the ability to bring people together. Online communities are now a huge part of 21st century life and it is possible for all age groups to interact. Focusing on a more traditional view of community, we thought that one approach might be to focus on a local event or opportunities arising from a local cause or campaign as a way of binding people together. We considered that in such instances the local MP, councillors, community groups, schools and churches and the local press would all see important roles for themselves. In order to make such events successful we disused the different ways that all members of the community could be encouraged to attend.

Although the event was advertised as an intergenerational event, we thought it a shame that there were very few young people in attendance. This made it difficult for all the age related topics to be discussed. To increase the participation from younger people, youth organizations could be encouraged to send delegates. Young people should be helped to understand that participation at intergenerational and similar events is an important part of their future citizenship.

Charlotte Bice (17 years) and Jessica Bice (16 years) with Joan Rapaport, PhD – Grandma.