RELATIONS between the generations have been given a boost with the announcement that Worcestershire has been awarded almost £400,000 as part of the Government's 'generations together' programme.

Worcestershire is the only area in the West Midlands and one of only 12 areas nationally to be awarded the money, which will be used to promote intergenerational volunteering and encourage meaningful interaction between the younger and older generations.

Peter MacKenzie-Shaw, funding and resources manager for the Worcestershire Partnership said: "Our success is down to strong partnership working between the voluntary and community sector and Worcestershire County Council.

“Worcestershire is one of only three counties in the country with an intergenerational strategy already in place so we will be building from a strong foundation.”

Under the banner of transferable skills, Worcestershire's winning bid aims to provide 700 community volunteers, both young and old, with new skills to encourage greater understanding between the generations, challenge negative stereotypes and increase confidence in interacting with people from other groups and the wider community.

Projects to be delivered include buddy schemes between older people and younger people who are not in work or education, younger people sharing multi-media skills with older people, a DVD capturing urban and rural experiences of recession from the 1920s to the present day, older and younger people from deprived communities creating a community arts project and younger and older people with sight problems sharing skills for independent living.

Gail Quinton, the county council's director of children's services, said: "I'm delighted that some of our younger people who are not in education, employment or training will benefit from this programme by interacting with older people who have invaluable life skills to share around entering employment and developing independent living skills.

"Our project will also see young people who have lost their sight assisting members of the older generation whose sight is fading, challenging negative stereotypes about interactions between the generations."

Eddie Clarke, the county council's director of adult and community services, said: "I hope that older people who take part in the project will feel less isolated, enjoy a better sense of wellbeing and feel that they can make a positive contribution to the life of their communities.

"Older people have so much to share, for example many of them have lived through recessions before, and this project will enable them to transfer some of those skills to the younger generation."

The UK population now has more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 16.

As England’s social demographic changes, it is increasingly important that young and older people are encouraged to interact, and spend more time learning from each other’s experiences and skills.