Intergenerational work in Oldham

I’ve just been hearing some really inspirational stories from Maggie at Age UK in Oldham who runs a number of intergenerational projects.

She is a really passionate woman who knows her stuff – she’s been at it over 20 years!

From bringing together the older and younger LGBT 🏳️‍🌈 communities to share their experiences or different generations in schools to talk about their experiences of WW2, it’s clear that this interaction doesn’t just help bridge the generation gap but it can also help different cultures overcome entrenched views.

Ive made so many notes from our conversation of what works, how and different things to try that I’d love to get going on setting my own project up right now…..

But that will have to wait as the countdown clock is ticking…30 days to go 😬


I’m on You Tube!

I’ve set up a vlog on You Tube to post videos whilst I’m on my trip.

Subscribe and see where I’ve been!

Excuse my eyebrows though – bad timing at the beauticians! 😄

New town to be built in USA to house elderly

Just found out about this interesting project in Atlanta, where a partnership with the university will see an entire new town built to house the elderly.


A public-private partnership aims to solve the lack of housing suitable for the elderly by building an entire new town on the outskirts of Atlanta.

Not a retirement community as such, the 38,000 acre town will house residents who are still of working age but want homes that will still easy to live in as they age. The town will also include art spaces, public events, seasonal markets and even a 25-acre organic farm.

“There is no national model for what we are trying to create,” said Steve Nyegren, whose company Serenbe is running the project. “We wanted to be able to manage every aspect, the food chain, food labelling. We want people to not just know the farmers, but learn about packaging, distributing and marketing. Our landscaping will all be edible and our residents will have access to seasonal food.”

The community, called Mado, will provide 380 homes and has been created by a collaboration between Serenbe, Atlanta University and the city of Atlanta. Because there was no legal blueprint for creating a town from scratch, the university worked out a regulatory framework, while the city passed zoning and tax laws for Mado. The city is also responsible for connecting the town to utilities like water and electricity.

When completed, Mado will include townhouses, cottages and loft apartments that can all be easily retrofitted for an older generation. The homes will be built with step-free access, wide doorways, halls and staircases. Homes will cost between $300,000 and $800,000, and rental spaces will be available at $1,000 a month. The town will also sell plots of land for people to design and build their own houses. It will host an arts institute that will be funded by one percent of every home sold and three percent of any undeveloped land sold.

Coping with the specialist needs of an ageing population is a growing challenge for US cities. By 2050, an estimated 83.7 million people in the US will be over the age of 65, almost double 2012 figures. Ageing also brings an epidemic of isolation, exacerbated by bereavement. One recent study by the University of California, San Francisco showed that 43% of those surveyed admitted to feeling lonely on a regular basis.


Online survey available

Hi there!

If you’re reading this because you are a member of one of the communities I’m visiting in October then hopefully you will have had some information about my visit.

It would be great to meet with you to talk about how you feel about the community in which you live…but if you don’t have time I can totally understand – we all have busy lives!

It would be great though, if you could spare 10 minutes to fill in a short online survey for me?

The link is here and it is really easy to use and won’t take long:


Wow I've just found this awesome place in Chicago – it does traditional deep pan Chicago pizzas with the sauce on top of the cheese! Yes you did hear me right…on top of the cheese! Can't wait to try it out 😮

Have also been recommended Beauty & Essex in New York – well it will be my 40th birthday so why not! 😋

If anyone else has any good tips for the USA please let me know!

All confirmed! 

Woo hoo – all places are now confirmed for my road trip across the USA! Thanks to all at The Treehouse in Easthampton for hosting me during a very busy week for you, I appreciate it!

Rental car is booked – next step is reading up on US road laws etc…any tips anyone?! 

I’ve also had a great conversation with a lady called Maria who helped set up the New Ground co-housing scheme in Barnet for females aged over 50. She certainly knew her stuff! Was really interesting to find out how they’d bonded as a community before they even moved in by getting involved in the planning and having small working groups with tasks to give them ownership of the project. It’s early days but they’ve had a lot of media interest so are taking a break from visits for a few months. Sounds like a really interesting place to visit though so I hope to fit this in before I go away. 

Three more places confirmed! 

I’ve been arranging visits to Roseland Place in Chicago and Griot Village in Cleveland today. Both of these innovative schemes house grandparents with parental responsibility for grandchildren. 

Just by talking briefly to Mark at Mercy Housing and Cortney at Cuyahoga Housing, it’s clear that there are so many benefits to old and young from living in these specialist communities. I especially loved the story about the community coming together to build a park in one day and the range of activities that take place at the community room. 

Mark is also kindly arranging for me to go to Danville to meet veterans and their families who live in a new community. 

What was really interesting though was how similar issues seem to be prevelant on both sides of the Atlantic – a lack of funding for new social housing, lack of funding for local services and the need for medical services to work more closely with housing providers to stop the churn of unnecessary hospital admissions. 

I think there’ll be a lot to learn from each other and  maybe together we can come up with some innovative solutions. 

Age segregation – a worrying trend?

Just read an interesting article in The Metro about whether we are becoming segregated into old and young communities in the UK, as older residents stay or flock to the suburbs whereas younger people are drawn to the cities.

The article states: ‘Like other forms of segregation, residential age segregation can have serious social consequences, fostering distrust, misunderstanding and stereotypical thinking. In the current climate of austerity, the potential for inter-generational conflict becomes greater still.

It can lead to increased competition between age groups for limited public and private resources to support the services and institutions that best meet their age-specific needs. It also means fewer opportunities for different age groups to share common goals.

Previous research has pointed to the need for communities where young, middle-aged and older people from all walks of life can get to know each other. Such communities are essential for building mutual respect and developing cooperative relationships.’

I really hope my research trip to the USA can uncover all the great things about #intergenerational #housing and bring back some really practical tips on how we can build closer relationships and communities between different generations.

Talking about housing for older people in the UK

Well it’s been a busy couple of weeks finally getting back to work after 10 months maternity leave. Strange how it feels exactly the same!

I’ve just been catching up with the lovely Melanie Rees who is Head of Policy at the Chartered Institute for Housing (CIH) to see what’s been happening while I’ve been off. The election is obviously a main point of conversation at the moment – she’s been on Radio 5 live talking about what this might mean for housing. If you missed it, it’s worth checking it out.

What’s clear is that whichever party gets into Number 10 will need to build more houses and address the housing crisis we’re currently in. It’s timely that the Housing White Paper specifically mentions the need for local authorities to plan for the needs of older people, and specifically to help them ‘right size’. This would not only free up much needed family accommodation but also that older people are not living in homes unsuitable for their needs.

We talked about my trip and how intergenerational housing can contribute to this debate. It’s clear from current research that not all older people want to be moved into sheltered accommodation (or God’s waiting room as one resident called it) or moved into ‘retirement housing’. There are some ‘active olders’ who want to continue living in mainstream accommodation surrounded by a variety of age groups. Yes this won’t be for everyone, but surely it should be an option open to everyone?

I really hope I can bring back some practical learning to the UK so we can stimulate a debate about the type of housing we should be building – and residents should be at the forefront of that debate.


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