To highlight the value and importance of bringing different generations together, award-winning retirement villages operator Inspired Villages, has launched its Words of Wisdom campaign. Older and younger generations were brought together for a spoken word poetry workshop led by acclaimed poet Lemn Sissay OBE, with the aim of strengthening the bonds between the generations.
The workshop follows a nationwide study, commissioned by Inspired Villages, that found Generation Z (16-24-year-olds) are 75% more likely than Millennials (25-34 years olds) to confide in their grandparents over their parents. The research went on to show that generation Z-ers were more likely to go to their grandparents when feeling sad, anxious or unhappy, rather than their siblings (23%) and even their teachers (16%).
Meanwhile, when looking into the behaviours of those over the age of 65, only one in 10 admitted to having any relationship with their grandparents when growing up. In addition, over a quarter of those the same age confessed that they never spoke to anyone if they were feeling unhappy throughout their childhood.
In response to this, the Words of Wisdom poetry workshop brought together over 65s from Inspired’s Austin Heath village in Warwickshire, and local school children aged 8-10 from the neighbouring Heathcote Primary School, to encourage different generations to share their experiences of universally challenging issues including isolation and vulnerability, as well as share memories, dreams and the secrets to happiness.
Lemn Sissay OBE, poet and spoken word artist commented:
“Poetry is such an important way of conveying and remembering thoughts, emotions, and key moments in life, which can often be insightful to others. The older generation has so much to offer when it comes to life experiences, especially for children, to provide a refreshing perspective on some of life’s most complex issues. Combined, this is a force of nature which gives us the most powerful poetry. I encourage the world to read and listen in on the inspiring poetry produced and try for themselves with their own families and friends.”
Jamie Bunce, CEO of Inspired Villages, commented:
“Intergenerational connectivity is vital in reducing loneliness across all ages and there is so much the older and younger generations can learn from each other, which is why we ran the Words of Wisdom campaign. The poetry workshop with Lemn has helped demonstrate the value of intergenerational conversations, as well as build a sense of community between Austin Heath and the surrounding Warwick Gates area. The poetry created through the Words of Wisdom workshop is wonderful and it was particularly insightful to see both generations working together and inspiring each other with their own thoughts and experiences. We hope this initiative helps inspire other intergenerational activities across the country – different age groups have so much to offer each other.”
To read a selection of the poems click here.
You can watch the poetry performed by the workshop participants by clicking the links below:
- Courage https://youtu.be/IIhtIY4ougA
- Isolation https://youtu.be/Y7DdL_4awsY
- Dreams https://youtu.be/idjy5Ii_kVM
- You Are https://youtu.be/PeHCdbnG_ME
- I Remember https://youtu.be/S7XBgISkJh0
- Silver Linings https://youtu.be/5Ls53Lcybec
- The Secrets of Happiness https://youtu.be/RXh_XcL6p3M
Lemn Sissay also performed a poem based on his experience of the day, which you can watch here. https://youtu.be/pUxu1AtbkR8.
As the next step in its continuing commitment to sharing wisdom between the generations, Inspired Villages has arranged for residents at Millbrook Village, its later living community in Exeter, and students from Exeter School to take part in a year-long inter-generational learning programme. The pupils, aged 7-18, will be taking part in bi-weekly term-time sessions with Millbrook residents on subjects such as history, music, art, IT and current affairs.
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