Intergen was founded in 1999. From it first days it has been a learning organisation. This means we have tried to learn how we:
• Can continue to be a learning organisation
• Find out what impact we have on children and young people in our partner schools, the teachers there and the older people who become partners in the schools
• Find out what does and doesn’t work
• Improve our practice
We have a number of reports and information about our practice, outputs and outcomes.
We have begun to upload the executive summaries of these reports.
The first evaluation of Intergen was carried out by Dr Barbara Rawlings in November 2000.
The latest report was carried out by Manchester Metroplitan University(MMU) in 2008.
It will take a while, about a year we think, to upload the remainder of our research data, because we have so much.
Copies of the full reports can be obtained directly from the Intergen office.
We shall continue to commission reports and evaluation and up load this new material as it becomes available.
We will continue to provide a brief summary of each research report so that you can decide if you want to follow it up in more detail. Our evidence base goes all the way back to 2000.
We have begun by posting the earliest and our most recent contribution to our evidence base.
This is the report of work carried out by Manchester Metropolitan University, Institute for Health and Community Psychology Research Team Research Institute for Health and Social Change Manchester Metropolitan University.
The work was funded by The Tudor Trust. Copies of this document can be obtained from MMU or Intergen CIC.
FINDINGS OF THE MMU REPORT
• Older people feel valued, recognised and that they are contributing to society again
• Volunteers become part of the school community
• Bringing the generations together. Older people and pupils meet outside their schools in their local neighbourhoods e.g. in shops. Now they know each other they interact and include the children’s parents in these social interactions, widening the impact that Intergen has
• Children and young people get additional education time from the older people and learn new skills
• Older people learn new skills
• Teachers get new role models
• Schools increase their access to their local community
FINDINGS OF DR. RAWLINGS REPORT
This was the first piece of externally funded contracted research, carried out by an independent researcher. It focused on the first operational year of the organisation. It looks at the impact for the volunteers and the schools and makes recommendations about how the organisation can improve its ways of working.
It shows benefits for older people and the pupils and its recommendations about the organisation’s process have been really important in helping us grow and develop as a robust organisation.
Dr Rawlings in her executive summary stated that
“By September 1999, thirteen volunteers had been selected and were introduced to the schools. These volunteers carried out a variety of tasks, including individual work with readers, developing a garden, helping with geography and art teaching, accompanying a class on a fieldwork week, assisting with choir practices, and working behind the scenes in IT and library departments.
During the year, two volunteers left the project and one joined. All those still working in July 2000 were keen to carry on once the new school year began.
• The schools found the project beneficial in that it helped them think about visitors’ needs and enabled children to benefit from the different approach of an older person. They valued the opportunities to provide some individual adult attention for the children, and found that the work of the volunteers helped with the various workloads of the teachers and departments. They appreciated having the different skills of the volunteers to support various aspects of the teaching and behind the scenes work.
• The primary children were reported to have found the work of the volunteers beneficial in that it gave them someone to talk to and work with individually. They also benefited from the various skills the volunteers brought, such as geography, gardening and playing the piano.
• The secondary school children found the work of the volunteer who worked with them beneficial since they were able to relate to him differently from the way they related to teachers. They enjoyed the individual relaxed attention. They also appreciated his skill and felt they learned from him.
• The work done in the year before the project became operational took time but secured a set of procedures and safeguards which allowed the project to run smoothly during its first year.
• The role of the Coordinator was created during this first year by the Steering Group, who devised the job description, and the incumbent, who put it into practice. Some aspects of the role were unclear, and a review of the tasks involved and the division of responsibilities between the Co-ordinator and the Steering Group is recommended“
The full report can be obtained from Intergen CIC. For a copy of the full Executive Summary click here.
Dr Rawlings’ recommendation that the role of the coordinator and the links between this role and that of the steering group were reviewed was undertaken. As a result the role of the Coordinator has been further developed. In Intergen CIC their importance is highly valued. We train and support the coordinators to enable them to carry out their crucial and exciting role of linking the schools in their cluster and the older people living in the neighbourhood of these schools.