By Stephen Easton
Two forums in September aim to foster discussion of the latest ideas about bringing people of all ages together in society, and the organisers want your input.
The two all-day forums on intergenerational spaces and programs, in Sydney on 24 September and Melbourne on 28 September, are being arranged for a diverse range of service providers, professionals and community leaders to discuss designing intergenerational programs and spaces, with a view to building a ‘community for all ages’.
This week the organisers, a consortium made of up 4C Consulting, Premier Consulting, Uniting Care Community Options and Presbytarian Aged Care NSW & ACT, invited those interested in attending to complete a quick four-question online survey, from which the agenda for discussion will be developed.
Roland Naufal, CEO of 4C Consulting, said the forums were aimed at people representing aged care services, youth and community services, retirement communities, local government, property developers and architects as well as social and town planners.
“The purpose of the survey is to help shape the forums, to gather people’s ideas about what they most want to hear about, learn and discuss, so they get the best possible benefit,” Mr Naufal said.
“We hope to promote the development of more intergenerational opportunities across the board.”
The organising group wants to explore the opportunities and challenges presented by intergenerational projects, which “actively seek to create programs and spaces, for people of all ages and abilities, to learn, collaborate or just be together”.
“In a Community for All Ages, everyone belongs, everyone benefits,” a statement from the organisers said.
“In difficult economic times, intergenerational projects offer an increased consumer base, diversified funding streams and sharing of risks. Intergenerational projects actively seek to create programs and spaces for people of all ages and abilities to learn, collaborate or just be together.”
The “highly interactive” intergenerational forums aim to showcase leading intergenerational projects from around the world, highlighting models that tap into diverse target groups and funding sources.
“The theme is ‘spaces and environments’,” Mr Naufal explained.
“We’ve seen some examples overseas, such as in Vancouver where a seniors centre is built next to a primary school with a connected space they share.
“The seniors are making jewellery to sell at markets, to raise money for [developing] countries, and the school kids help them; it’s so popular with the primary school kids, they’re on a waiting list to get into it.”
“Sporting clubs are also a really good example of intergenerational programs,” he added. “They tick a lot of the boxes; everyone is interested no matter what their ages, and as people get older they turn into coaches and mentors. They’re just a fantastic example of where generations are coming together.”