Already in 2016, over 200 young people have taken part in our interactive, fun and engaging workshops. These aim to raise awareness around the realities of living with loneliness, but also the positive solutions that LinkAge and local communities are implementing to tackle this issue. They also encourage young people to think about what they can do to support older people in their community and how this can also benefit them, such as future career prospects and being able to reference voluntary work with future employers and university applications.
So far this year, we’ve delivered a day of interactive workshops at Bristol Metropolitan Academy, as part of their 2016 Employability and Volunteering programme. Over that day we worked with over 150 students in year 10. In the weeks to follow, we also held workshops with Clifton College and the City of Bristol College.
Each workshop that we run begins with a short worksheet to find out about young people’s pre- conceptions of older people, the issues they believe affect them and the activities they are interested in.
"Becoming detached from relatives" "Health issues, lack of mobility, disease" "They take part in Bingo and Reading" "They are wise and have interesting life stories to tell"
We then begin the interactive who wants to be a millionaire quiz. The questions in this quiz are linked to LinkAge’s work and the issue of isolation and loneliness. Students are encouraged throughout this to hold up their answers to the questions and openly discuss their opinions and views. The quiz is then followed by a video that showcases the variety of opportunities that LinkAge offers local older people, including our Line Dancing flash mob which made local news.
The next part of the session focuses on LinkAge’s intergenerational work, looking at what goes on, why we do it and also the benefits that this work has on individuals and communities that get involved. We also talk about the opportunities that LinkAge offers to younger people and how they can support local organisations.
The session finishes off with a quick activity around stereotypes that are attached to both young people and older people. The students are then asked to complete a short post worksheet, which focuses on what they have learnt in the session, if their perceptions have changed and what they would do differently in the future.
"They're really ouutgoing and fun (they wear hoodies)" "I plan to volunteer"
"I've learnt to challenge the typical stereotypes" "Old people are still people"
On average, 80% of the young people involved in the workshops have said that their perceptions after taking part in the session have changed. This is mainly due to them not knowing about the variety of activities that are available to older people, but also because they weren’t aware of how big of an issue isolation and loneliness is and how much of a detrimental impact it can have on people’s lives.
Since starting the workshops in 2015, we have seen a rise in younger people choosing LinkAge as a Social Action project, whether that is through raising the charities profile, organising community events or fundraising.
"The LinkAge session really hit home with our young people and got them thinking outside of the stereotypes we normally attribute to both the younger and older generations. The session successfully linked an emotive, fact based presentation with some interactive activities, keeping the group energised and engaged. I think this was a really successful and thought provoking session for NCS. Thank you!"
Rachel Needs, REED recruitment
If you are interested in finding out more about these workshops and how you can make a booking, contact Ricky Bush on 0117 353 3042.