4 Nov 2009

Children's Commissioner and Older People's Advocate help bridge age gap.

NORTHERN Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY), Patricia Lewsley, together with Older People's Advocate, Dame Joan Harbison, helped showcase intergenerational projects at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday November 4.

The event was formally welcomed by Assembly Speaker, William Hay, and guest speakers included Junior Ministers Robin Newton and Gerry Kelly. It was co-hosted by Charlotte Higgins from NICCY's Youth Panel and Joan Cosgrove of Newtownabbey Senior Citizens Forum.

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The intergenerational projects showcased on the day, where young and old work together, were from Comber Primary School; Eastend Residents Association, Newtownards; and the Kinghan Church, RNID and Jordanstown School for children with Auditory and Visual Impairments.

"Age is not a barrier to working together," said Patricia Lewsley. "We must recognise that too often people are stereotyped according to media portrayal.

"Not all young people are thugs. Not all pensioners are grumpy.

"We have had an event co-presented by young and old; we have seen and heard about projects that make a real difference when young and old work together.

"When we bridge the age gap we find that young and old are closer in thoughts and ideas, experience and enthusiasm than many believe."

Dame Joan Harbison, the Older People's Advocate said, "We have to be innovative and proactive in recognising the exclusion of older people is the same for younger people.

"We need to recognise the strength we have in older and younger people working together through intergenerational programmes which can develop and share skills and knowledge."

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The projects showcased included:
* A partnership between the Kinghan Church, RNID and Jordanstown Schools for Children with Auditory and Visual Impairments
* Comber Primary School's Generation Together Project; and 
* The Eastend Residents Association, Newtownards Intergenerational working.

More information on the work of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People can be found at: www.niccy.org OR the work of the Older People's Advocate can be found at: http://www.copni.org/

Intergenerational Showcase 2.jpg

For more information on intergenerational practice can be found at www.centreforip.org.uk.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES For more information please contact Andrew McGall, Communication Officer at NICCY on 028 9031 1616 or   communications@niccy.org