More than 60 Dublin-based community-based workers and volunteers took part in an intergenerational practice masterclass in Dublin on 7th April 2022. It was jointly organised by Fingal County Council’s Community Development Office and the Fingal Community Facilities Network . Fingal is local authority north of Dublin City. The Masterclass attracted a very diverse group of community-based practitioners and local authority staff, all wanting to learn more about intergenerational practice. They came from youth work, family support services, addiction services, community centres, day centres, active age groups, sports facilities, and early childhood education and care.
The masterclass was facilitated by Carmel Gallagher and Anne Fitzpatrick, founding members of the TOY Consortium. They began the day with a presentation about the principles and benefits of intergenerational practice drawing on the TOY project and recent research. Case studies on intergenerational practice in the early childhood sector were then presented by Rachael Duff and Breege McGinty, both of whom are early childhood educators and have completed the TOY training course. Rachael and Breege have been implementing intergenerational learning since 2018. A practical workshop on developing intergenerational initiatives was facilitated by Vicki Titterington who is Director of Linking Generations Northern Ireland and a member of the TOY consortium.
There was lots of time for discussion about the potential of intergenerational learning in community facilities. One interesting suggestion from a sports facilitator was to marry the interests of younger people in robust forms of exercise with older people’s capacity to be still in a way that both generations can benefit. A powerful message was given by an older volunteer from Donabate Active Age group who spoke about her own experiences of ageing positively. She stressed the importance of ‘not getting physically and mentally stuck in your own age group’. Feedback on the masterclass was overwhelmingly positive with many participants motivated to find out more and engage in further training about intergenerational learning.
Special thanks to Cathrina Murphy, Fingal County Council’s Community Officer responsible for older people and Jacinta Lowndes, Chairperson of Fingal Community Facilities Network, for organising this great learning and networking opportunity.