Model and Purpose
What Is Intergen
Intergen was set up in 1999 in a single authority. In 2009, after 10 years of research and development Intergen was established, initially as a Community Interest Company and now as the trading name for the Charity From Generation to Generation.
Since 1999 we have learnt a lot and achieved local success and there are active clusters in five authorities: Stockport, Tower Hamlets, Wigan, Tameside and Manchester. Intergen now aims to develop intergenerational relationships in more communities throughout England and Wales.
Intergen brings older and younger people together to share experiences in their local schools, to promote and create opportunities to:
• Enrich learning
• Raise aspirations
• Discover learning is fun
• Build stronger communities
The Intergen Model
Intergen works on a local community basis brining older and younger people together through local schools. Local clusters of three schools (normally a secondary and two primaries) are established. The schools identify their needs and appoint an in-school
Co-ordinator. The cluster pays an annual fee (currently £4,500) to
Intergen, deciding between schools how much each school will contribute to the fee. Intergen, in close collaboration with the schools, appoints a local coordinator to recruit and support volunteers working in the schools. The Intergen Co-ordinator and the volunteers (Intergeners) all live near the schools. Intergen recruits, supports and trains the Intergen coordinators who are paid an honorarium for the work they do. Other volunteers receive out of pocket expenses.
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
What Do People Say About Intergen?
We regularly seek feedback and evaluate the work of Intergen. The kinds of messages we receive suggest that the benefits of Intergen include:
• The valuable opportunity created for older and younger people to meet and exchange experiences for their mutual enrichment
• Older people are engaged in a fulfilling and appreciated role in their local communities
• Children share quality time with adults
• Older and younger people recognise each other as being from the same community when they meet outside school
• Teachers are supported directly and indirectly, both outside and in the classroom from the help Intergeners provide with practical and administrative tasks
• Local steering groups give Heads and teachers additional opportunities to network and enhance links between local schools
• Schools are assisted by Intergeners to engage with their local communities and to benefit from contact with local older people to improve the learning opportunities they provide for children in schools
• Schools are enabled to engage with their local communities via the bridge provided ed by Intergen
• Stereotypes of older people held by younger people, and of young people held by older people are challenged
Headteachers and classroom teachers say:
I thought (Intergeners) would have a role and stick to it and that would be that. I am surprised at the amount of time they dedicate, asking if they can stay all day and having lunch with the children…they are really reliable
They do more because of their own experience of life, they have emotional stability, calm, they are unassuming and they deal with things on a calm, quiet basis. They deal with upset children; they sit with children and parents. They offer thins like solace witch a member of staff can’t provide…Across the board they do things that no other person can do.
The teachers are thrilled to bits, can’t manage without the volunteers because they have made such inroads and rapport with the children
E has a wonderfully calm and caring approach… [in addition to many direct activities with the children] she constantly seeks opportunities to keep busy; she does whatever she can to reduce my personal workload by contributing to lesson preparation and other general classroom duties such as cutting, filing and sticking children’s work in their books.
She tells you what the words mean, it’s really helpful, and it’s fun with her when you are doing guided reading
She is really kind because she brought one of her son’s books in to help us look up a poem
He is very interesting. He tells us about stars and shat we should look out for – like Jupiter. And all the old money and what they were called – like one of them was called a ‘bob’ – it was a nickname.
Helping out in the art classes in the school has prompted me to join an art class at the adult education to try and improve my own artwork.
The Christmas party was a lovely occasion, and it was good to meet other Intergen volunteers who are also at different schools
My health has improved…. Being involved with Intergen makes me get out of the house and takes my mind of illness. I enjoy it.
I like sharing with the children. My job was as a special mechanic and I would like to think I can add to their experiences.
I go to a multicultural school. Children make me understand more about the backgrounds they come from.
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.
The Intergen Board of Directors is responsible for setting strategic direction, legal and financial management of the company and reviewing and supporting the work of the Chief Executive. The Chief Executive is responsible for all day to day activities, including recruiting schools to become Intergen clusters; managing the contracts with schools and Intergen Co-ordinators, strategic planning, corporate fundraising and grant revenue raising. All the Directors and the Chief Executive are unpaid.