About Intergen

The Intergen programme brings older and younger people together in school to inspire and learn from each other in their local communities. It is free to use.

    • It is school based and schools are in the driving seat
    • The needs of the school to enhance the pupils’ development is the core of the programme.
    • It has become clear that older people derive benefits from being part of it, as they feel less isolated and gain a sense of purpose.
    • They also bring benefits to the schools, the pupils and all the school community.
    • Twenty years of R&D have shown us that the programme has value for all the stakeholders which includes older people, young people and teachers.

All the tools, research reports and other information on this Intergen site are freely available for use by any school or service provider or commissioner wanting to improve the lives of young and old people in their local communities

Intergen is a registered charity building bridges between older and younger people, by bringing them together in secondary and primary schools. Older people act as volunteers in schools, providing both classroom support to teachers and support staff in school. It was piloted in one school in Trafford in 1999 and further developed over a period of twenty years, in schools in London and Greater Manchester, in a total of seven local authorities.

Since 1999 we have learnt a lot and achieved local successes. All the tools we have developed and knowledge is here freely available for any school to use to grow their own Intergen school group.

The tried and tested Intergen model.

A partnership is set up with three local schools, a secondary and two primary schools. In each partnership a retired person living within 2 miles of them is appointed to become the partnership Co-ordinator.

The schools are in the driving seat. At a regular, once a term Business meeting for the partnership, they discuss with the partnership Co-ordinator what they want the older volunteers to provide in terms of skills and knowledge so they can inspire and support the pupils. The Co-ordinator then recruits older people living in the neighbourhood to be Intergeners.

The school programme aims to:

  • Reduce underperformance & low aspirations of pupils
  • To enrich opportunities for old and young people to learn
  • To access the untapped range of skills and knowledge older citizens have to offer.
  • To raise the aspirations of older people
  • To Increase flexible part-time jobs for retired people
  • To reduce loneliness and isolation of older people
  • To increase local opportunities for the two groups to collaborate
  • To reduce hostile intergenerational stereotypes
  • To build stronger communities

The School Programme Is Both

  • A personalised programme for older people AND
  • A tailor made programme to meet the needs of local schools to raise performance and aspirations of pupils using the untapped skills and knowledge of older people who live near the schools.

The Intergen partnership model


The model works in both primary and secondary schools. Usually three schools come together in partnership with an older person as a coordinator. Different combinations of schools have used the model succesfully.


What is unique about Intergen?

At the heart of Intergen are the local partnerships it creates with schools, building through them the Intergen clusters. The key elements of the clusters are:
• The schools
• The link between the schools and older people living close to them
• Being local
• The strong support given to volunteers and to schools

How is Intergen Organised?

Each Intergen cluster has a steering group, consisting of Headteachers, the in-School Co-ordinators and the Intergen Co-ordinator. The group meets once a term for a Business meeting. At the Autumn term meeting, schools identify their particular needs to enable the Intergen Co-ordinators to recruit suitable Intergeners, and the agendas are set for the remaining Business meetings. Dates are agreed for termly social gatherings of Intergeners’ and the schools take it in turn to host the meetings.

In-school Co-ordinators are members of the school staff who are appointed by the Headteacher to link with the Intergen Co-ordinator and the teaching and support staff of the school. They attend the termly Business meeting, ensuring everything is running smoothly, and give feedback to Intergen about their experiences. They help organise the termly social gathering which their schools have agreed to host.

Intergen Co-ordinators live or work in the local communities in which the Intergen schools are located. They recruit local volunteers (Intergeners) to work in the schools as well as raise awareness of Intergen locally. They are the first Intergen contact for both their cluster schools and the local Intergeners. They participate in the business meetings and help organise the termly social gatherings and annual Intergeners’ day. They meet with each once a term to share experiences as well as with the Directors of Intergen and mentor and support other Intergen Co-ordinators.

Intergeners are the local volunteers, recruited from within one or two miles of the schools. They are retired people (currently their ages range from 48 to 96, average age 72) living locally with time, skills and knowledge they want to share with younger members of their community. They choose the school in the cluster in which they want to volunteer and the days and time of the week at which they wish to do this. All volunteers are DBS checked and are asked to provide the names of two referees from whom character references are sought. Each year they are presented with a certificate of appreciation at the end of year social gathering, held in one of the schools. They are invited to the annual National Intergeners’ away day to share their experiences. During 2011-12 Intergeners gave from 552 to 1884 hours to school clusters.

“Where else can you get out of the house, not spend money and have a good time? I have an amazing time because I go to school two afternoons a week and the children flock around me and I have got to know them. I have met so many interesting people”

 Intergen volunteer

“I used to be stuck in the house – I never went out anywhere. Intergen was the best thing to happen to me. It gave me my confidence back. Intergen gave me my life back”

Intergen volunteer

“My health has improved. I suffer from arthritis in both legs and feet. Being involved with Intergen makes me get out of the house and takes my mind off illness. I enjoy it.”

Intergen volunteer