Football clubs across Britain are urged to bring older and younger people together to help tackle loneliness and ageism and improve health, care and learning across generations. The call comes from United for All Ages, which is sponsored the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Fulham at Griffin Park in December. This is the first of several activities in the coming 12 months to mark United for All Ages’ tenth year as a social enterprise and the growth of intergenerational activities across the country.
Brentford is one of several football clubs which support projects that enable older and younger people to mix and share activities and experiences. In our case, this work is done via Brentford FC Community Sports Trust As well as supporting intergenerational walking football, the Trust is organised a Christmas cookery project bringing together young people on its National Citizens Service scheme with older people living in local sheltered housing. A group of youngsters on the NCS project cooked up a storm when they rustled up a festive Christmas dinner for elderly residents at Brooklands College in Weybridge.
The youngsters are part our football education programme that combines classroom-based learning with a rigorous football training schedule. To complement the learning, students are also taking part in the government-backed NCS programme with the English Football League Trust. The programme aims to provide young people with important life skills, and students earmarked a cooking project as their chosen social action project.
Hansa Darbar, Events, Community and Business Development Officer for Age UK Hounslow, said: “The students were so friendly and made our members feel very welcome and special. They enjoyed the delicious lunch prepared by young chef.”
United for All Ages is aiming to encourage more clubs and their community trusts/foundations to move from supporting age-segregated activities for older people and for young people to doing more to bring older and younger people together to tackle issues like loneliness and ageism, while improving poor health, care , housing and learning, thereby building stronger communities and a stronger country.
Stephen Burke, director of United for All Ages, said: “Football clubs have the power to bring different ages together at a time when there is so much loneliness and division. Brentford’s Christmas cookery project is a great example of the benefits for both young and older people of bringing generations together. Mixing really matters! Enabling different generations to mix and share activities and experiences can tackle loneliness and ageism and improve care, health, housing and learning.
“Brentford is truly a football club for all ages – a real community and family club and a great place to meet friends old and new. In the 2020s together we can make Britain a country for all ages.”