“No matter their age, I truly believe everyone knows something that I don’t. Everyone has something they can share, and when we meet, truly respecting that, a bit of magic happens in the space between us.” Alice Khimasia
Imagine a space where all can find welcome, share skills, and learn in diverse ways,
combatting loneliness and isolation, bringing the generations together to learn from one another and build connection, recognising that everyone – no matter their age – has much to teach us.
With schools struggling and many children opting out, it is time to creatively reimagine
learning communities beyond the classroom. Educating my four sons outside of the school system over the past 14+ years, I have seen the valuable learning opportunities that arise in the community and the magic that can happen when a child connects with like-minded people across generational divides. After sharing my idea with Gemma from Grapevine, I was excited to bring the idea to the Collaboration Station, to share, discuss and learn from others about how this vision might develop. I hadn’t heard of the Collaboration Station before, and it was empowering to be given the opportunity to move the seed of an idea from my own head out into the wider community for discussion and collective reimagining.
Gemma met with me before the event to talk about how the evening might run and what I wanted to share. The process of preparation required me to think carefully about the idea and what was important to say. We discussed possible questions participants might reflect on together during the evening, envisaged desirable outcomes and thought about how the idea might grow and develop beyond this first event.
During the event at the Methodist Central Hall in October, after tea and coffee and a warm welcome, those of us sharing ideas each gave a short elevator pitch and then everyone chose a table to gather around, with a good number at each station.
There were eight of us around my table, many new to the Collaboration Station, and we had an hour of discussion, sharing our own experiences of intergenerational learning, any positive or negative reflections and how we might nurture such spaces, encouraging
inclusivity and accessibility. We discussed how informal gatherings for people to connect
over shared passions may create less pressure and organic connections where people are encouraged to be generous with their time and knowledge.
It was great to have people with different experiences and expertise around the table,
particularly regarding safeguarding concerns and responsibility. We agreed parental
responsibility for children would need to be clearly communicated. We talked about
potential costs, and whether a small membership payment would create a database of
interested members and lead people to feel more invested.
Other groups were mentioned as part of our conversation, including the U3A, WI, Time
Union and Rotary Club, and the possibility for collaboration and piloting of ideas suggested. We all felt it was important to bring different generations together to discuss further developments, and we want to approach the activities coordinator at Earlsdon Park to see if there are possibilities for collaboration there.
All attendees were asked if they wanted their email to be added to a list of those interested in receiving updates on the development of the idea, and I was so encouraged by the affirmation and enthusiasm for the idea of an intergenerational learning hub.
Is this something you might be interested in? Send us your email address if you’d like to be kept informed, and if you have ideas or thoughts about how such a hub might develop, I would love to hear from you!