Global Intergenerational Week 2024 — [Clive Efford in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:00 pm on 9 May 2024.

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Photo of Marion Fellows Marion Fellows Scottish National Party, Motherwell and Wishaw 2:00, 9 May 2024

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered Global Intergenerational Week 2024.

For accuracy, I should point out that Global Intergenerational Week was in April, but it does such great work and it is a real pleasure to speak on this important topic. I am deeply passionate about this idea, and I thank Generations Working Together, who lead Global Intergenerational Week events in Scotland, for its briefing. I also thank all 407 contributors to the online public engagement activity for the debate. All 407 responses have been helpful and illuminating, and I will mention a few of them later.

The campaign theme for this year’s Global Intergenerational Week was focused on how intergenerational work is too often perceived as nice, rather than essential. Generations Working Together argues that intergenerational practice ought to be an essential consideration in upstream health policy, and an essential practice in social care, education, and urban planning and development. This is essential in order to build age-friendly communities—which I feel very qualified to talk about—defined by the World Health Organisation as a community that optimises opportunities for health, participation and security as people age. In an age-friendly community, policy, services and infrastructure are designed to respond flexibly to age-related needs and preferences.

As I said, Global Intergenerational Week ran from 24 to 30 April and was marked by events and webinars across 15 different countries, with landmarks lit up across the globe, including Melbourne Town Hall, something in Valencia—my Spanish is not up to pronouncing that; I would not want to murder the language—Adelaide’s Parliament House and, closer to home, Rhyl tower in Wales and Belfast City Hall, as well as the Hydro in Glasgow, and the University of Glasgow. The movement is moving forward.

We live in a time of huge demographic shift towards an ageing population, a phenomenon that is happening in almost every country across the world. That is frequently presented as a significant social challenge. People often look at it through a negative lens, but it also presents an opportunity.