MIRAIN LLWYD ROBERTS
INTERGENERATIONAL CO-ORDINATOR, GWYNEDD COUNCIL
The purpose of my research project was to explore the challenges and barriers facing intergenerational projects. The title of the research was: “Bridging the people and the community: The barriers and challenges facing intergenerational projects focusing on sustainability”. Several obstacles and challenges emerged during the research and a simple model was found to try to get the best out of intergenerational projects here in Wales. The success of a sustainable intergenerational program can be hampered by many aspects. It is important to have an organizer and facilitator for the projects as they are not about simply putting two groups of people together. Additionally, it is essential that the importance of intergenerational understanding is perceived at a personal, community and national level to enable projects to continue. By understanding the value of this type of work, arrangements will be carried out more often and sustained over longer periods of time.
For a year now I have been working as an Intergenerational Co-ordinator for Gwynedd Council as part of a network of projects funded through the Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund (ICF) and it is a fund that promotes new ideas in developing the health and care sector for the future. It’s nice to have the opportunity of putting my research results into practice.
Gwynedd Council were also my company partners during my Research Masters and it has been extremely beneficial to be able to continue the good work done during my year as a postgraduate researcher by being able to work full time with them. Support for the project from the company partner has been invaluable.
I look forward to continuing the intergenerational project and taking on the new challenges associated with the current situation, where face-to-face projects cannot be sustained for the time being. It’s an opportunity to think beyond the box and experiment with new and digital approaches to intergenerational practice.
During my year as a KESS 2 postgraduate researcher and since working for Gwynedd Council I have had the opportunity to work on several real-world intergenerational projects. The most common type of scheme I’ve worked on is an inter-class scheme in a primary school and having them visit a care home or local day care centre. I have also had the opportunity to work with secondary school children, young people who have left school, homes and private care homes. Additionally, I’ve been able to coordinate community projects whilst working with third sector organisations. The understanding I have gained from the various sectors here is useful to go on to offer different types of projects between different groups of people. The opportunities of working with these different organisations as a postgraduate researcher and after graduation have had huge benefits for my personal and professional development.
Intergenerational practice is an opportunity to establish special relationships between people of all ages and to foster between different generations an understanding of each other. I have seen special relationships forming between primary children and those in day care, between secondary children and people in the community and students and individuals in care homes. The sheer range of relationships forming emphasises how the intergenerational gap can be bridged between anyone.
KESS 2 PARTICIPATION HIGHLIGHTS
I had many experiences during my research period with KESS 2 that I will cherish for a long time. One of those experiences was organising a conference on Intergenerational Studies in Bangor with my supervisor Dr Catrin Hedd Jones, also a KESS Alumna, my business partner Gwynedd Council and Grŵp Cynefin. It was a treasured experience and a great opportunity for me to network with those who were interested in the field and those who were working in it on a day-to-day basis across Wales and beyond.
I had the opportunity then to attend several conferences; from some in Wales, to one in Glasgow, Scotland and further still to a conference in Portland in the USA. Certainly, one of my favourite highlights as a KESS 2 postgraduate researcher was attending the Generations United conference in Portland. It was an amazing experience to learn from academics and practitioners from around the world and to present a poster, and it’s nice to have been able to make contacts who I have remained in touch with.
I hope over the next few months to work on a paper for and for a dedicated journal for intergenerational writing. This will be an opportunity for me to revisit my findings.
Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a pan-Wales higher-level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys. For further information about how your organisation could benefit from participating in KESS 2, please contact the KESS 2 Central team at Bangor at: email@example.com