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Action needed by the next Welsh Government to strengthen solidarity between generations, says new cross-party group

12th March, 2021

The Cross-party group on Intergenerational Solidarity is marking National Intergenerational Week 20211 by calling on the next Welsh Government to take action to strengthen the bonds between generations and promote opportunities for intergenerational activities.

The group was established in November 2020 to promote solidarity and understanding between generations and to explore evidence and develop policy proposals that would benefit both younger and older generations. The group will also identify and promote projects and good practice that bring younger and older generations together to support the wider roll-out of successful intergenerational initiatives throughout Wales.2

The Cross-party group has brought together politicians from across the Senedd with key academic researchers, practitioners with experience of running intergenerational projects, and representatives of older and younger people, including Wales’ Older People’s, Children’s and Future Generations commissioners.

The group, chaired by Plaid Cymru MS Delyth Jewell, has published a set of recommendations for the next Welsh Government, including:

  • providing funding for a national programme to support, promote and coordinate intergenerational developments
  • establishing a national grant fund for community groups to run intergenerational projects
  • ensuring consideration of intergenerational solidarity is at the heart of policy plans for recovery and reconstruction from Covid-19 pandemic
  • hosting a citizen’s assembly on strengthening intergenerational solidarity

The group has also set out the four priority areas it will be focusing on in its forward work: tackling loneliness and isolation; opportunities for lifelong learning; tackling ageism; and skills and the economy. 

Delyth Jewell MS, Chair of the Cross-party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity, said:

“I am so pleased that the Cross-party group is setting out these recommendations for the next Welsh Government on the importance of intergenerational solidarity. It is essential that we acknowledge the real loneliness that’s been suffered by both younger and older members of our society, as well as the ageism that’s been too present in our national discourse throughout the pandemic.”

“Too often, the young and old have been pitted against one another in the context of lockdowns, with some commentary focusing on younger people’s apparent selfishness, and others insinuating that protecting older and more vulnerable people was too high a price to pay.

“Both of these narratives have been deeply damaging and the Cross-party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity has been set up to challenge these misconceptions and promote the importance of reasserting solidarity between generations as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

“Reasserting intergenerational solidarity is vital because relationships between generations enrich our society; they matter; and they should be strengthened.”

Lynne Neagle MS, Welsh Labour member of the group, said:

“I am really pleased to be part of the cross-party group on intergenerational solidarity. I have seen the value of intergenerational work in Torfaen. I was really proud to invite Pontypool-based Griffithstown Primary School – one of the first schools in Wales to achieve dementia-friendly status – to the Senedd to talk about their intergenerational work. Enabling us all to learn about others helps us build more cohesive and connected communities.”

Angela Burns MS, Welsh Conservatives member of the group, said:

“I am pleased to have been a member of this Cross-Party Group which has helped to increase awareness and understanding of the value of creating and maintaining projects that can support people across the generations.

“As we move out of the current pandemic it has never been more important that people of all ages, from our youngest, too our most senior, are able to access the support and help that they may require.

 “I look forward to seeing the work of this group develop during the next Welsh Parliamentary term and I expect the new Welsh Government after May to play close attention to the priorities that the Group has set out. “

Members of the group will be promoting these recommendations ahead of the Senedd elections in May and will be celebrating National Intergenerational Week 2021, which is being run in partnership by one of the group’s member organisations, Bridging the Generations Wales.

Mirain Llwyd Roberts, Bridging the Generations Coordinator, said:

“National Intergenerational Week is run throughout the UK and is a great opportunity for us in Wales to share all the fantastic work already happening and raise awareness of the benefits of intergenerational initiatives. The Cross-party group on Intergenerational Solidarity is a great opportunity to push an all Wales agenda and I’m very excited by the momentum we have here.”

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