6th March: Generations Working Together National Conference

I took some annual leave this week to enable me to travel to Glasgow and attend the Generations Working Together (GWT) National Conference to hear about the great intergenerational work that is going on in Scotland.

GWT provides information, delivers support and encourages involvement to benefit all of Scotland’s generations, by working, learning, volunteering and living together.

The National Conference brought together not only people from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales but also intergenerational practitioners and academics from Europe.

Spending time in the company of like-minded people and having the          opportunity to network and share ideas is always motivating and there was a real buzz in the room as people discussed the personal impact of the intergenerational projects that they had been involved with. It made me think, that although there is a need for data to evidence the benefits of intergenerational work upon the participants, we mustn’t lose sight of the difference it makes on an individual level because for some, particularly the young, the opportunity of being in the company of older people is very special.

Jackie Kay, the Scottish Makar (Poet Laureate) who ended the Conference, summed up a Grandparents role beautifully in her poem called Grandpa’s Soup…
No one makes soup like my Grandpa’s,

with its diced carrots the perfect size
and its diced potatoes the perfect size
and its wee soft bits –
what are their names?
and its big bit of hough,
which ryhmes with loch, floating
like a rich island in the middle of the soup sea.

I say, Grandpa, Grandpa your soup is the best soup in the whole world.
And Grandpa says, Och,
which rhymes with hough and loch,
Och, Don’t be daft,
because he’s shy about his soup, my Grandpa.
He knows I will grow up and pine for it.
I will fall ill and desperately need it.
I will long for it my whole life after he is gone.
Every soup will become sad and wrong after he is gone.
He knows when I’m older I will avoid soup altogether.
Oh Grandpa, Grandpa, why is your soup so glorious? I say
tucking into my fourth bowl in a day.

Barley! That’s the name of the wee soft bits. Barley.


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