To mark Global Intergenerational Week 2022 (25 April – 1 May), Wales’ commissioners for older people, children and future generations have joined forces to highlight the importance of promoting solidarity between generations and providing opportunities for people of different ages to come together.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted many of the inequalities in our society but has also shown the importance of communities supporting one another through difficult times. By harnessing this community spirit, we can all help to strengthen bonds between us and promote greater solidarity between generations as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is one of the key themes of this year’s Global Intergenerational Week, which is looking to inspire individuals, groups, organisations, local and national governments, and NGOs to fully embrace intergenerational practice and connect people of all generations together.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:
“Building a sense of solidarity between generations is more important now than ever before as we continue our recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has had a devasting impact on the lives of people in all generations, with older people and younger people facing particular challenges with their health and well-being as a result of long periods of isolation.
“I believe that by coming together across generations, we can build stronger, more cohesive communities that support older people to age well and enable people of all generations to reach their potential.”
Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Rocio Cifuentes, said:
“The pandemic was indiscriminate: it affected every generation, in every corner of Wales. Its effects, including mental health concerns, loneliness and financial insecurity affected every age group, and we know that many children worried about the impact of the Coronavirus on older people in their family.
“As commissioners, we recognise the power of intergenerational connections. We strive for a country that treats everyone equally, for a country free from hate and discrimination and call for sustainable intergenerational connections to be strengthened in Wales’ road to recovery.”
Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe, said:
“People in Wales, regardless of age, currently face a huge number of challenges including the cost of living crisis, mental health and social isolation, fuel poverty and high levels of income and health inequality. Intergenerational solutions provide greater protection for all as we strive for a better world for future generations.
“The problems of both the present and the future can be addressed at the same time by communities if we come together and support one another.”
The commissioners were founding members of the Senedd’s Cross-party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity, which has been meeting since November 2020 to bring together politicians, academic researchers, practitioners with experience running intergenerational projects, and representatives of older and younger people with a shared aim of promoting solidarity and understanding between generations.
Delyth Jewell MS, Chair of the Cross-Party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity, said:
“Building connections and sharing experiences across generational divides enriches everyone in society – as it’s only through fostering links that we come to realise how interconnected our lives truly are. These past couple of years have been isolating for people of all ages, but the very young and very old have both seen their lives and routines disrupted to an unprecedented degree.
“The Cross-Party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity in the Senedd aims to highlight the shared challenges we face, as well as finding ways in which generations can both tackle barriers together and find ways of sharing joy and creativity. I’m immensely proud to be associated with the work of the cross-party group, and to add my voice to those of the commissioners in calling for greater support for intergenerational work: there is so much we can achieve together.”