JOINT PRESS RELEASE
Brussels, 27 April 2012
EU Day of Solidarity between Generations, 29th April
The good thing about the crisis is that we rediscover the value of solidarity and cooperation between generations
Rent-a-Granny , Learn With Grandma , Meeting places for everyone , On the Bus With Granny , VoisinAge and thousands of other intergenerational initiatives seek to promote a society for all ages across the EU!
The 29th of April, the European Day of Solidarity between Generations, is a good opportunity to give visibility to the many initiatives across the EU and remind of the need of greater solidarity and cooperation between age groups in our ageing societies. In the framework of the 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, this 4th EU Day offers the opportunity to further highlight the need to develop and support grass root initiatives that support greater participation of older people for the benefit of all age groups in society.
“In today’s difficult social and economic context, there is a growing demand for a radical change in a way our society is organised to find a new approach that will be fair and sustainable for all generations.”, says Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary-General of AGE Platform Europe. For several years the EY2012 Coalition, has been celebrating the 29th of April, the EU Day of Solidarity between Generations, to promote an age-friendly European Union, where women and men of all ages are empowered to participate fully in society and are valued for the contributions they make to society. “Across Europe, younger and older people are standing together for a fairer future” says HelpAge International, a member of the Coalition. “Strengthening and listening to women’s voices across generations is crucial to this process” pointed out European Women’s Lobby.
Thousands of initiatives are mushrooming across Europe. Katholischer Familienverband Österreichts (KFÖ), a Member of the EY2012 Coalition partner COFACE, helps young families to find babysitters among grandparents willing to take care of children through the Leih-Oma (Rent A Granny) project. A Leih-Oma is typically an older woman who looks after your children in your own home. They are available for children of all ages and will look after more than one child. “Learn with Grandma” is an NGO who aims to promote relationships between grandparents and grandchildren who live near each other as well as those that live far apart. It hosts activities that encourage grandparents to create lasting memories and have fun with their grandchildren as well as encourage respect between the generations by showing each generation what the other has to teach them. Sveriges Makalösa Föräldrar, a Swedish NGO for single parents, is running the project Meeting Places for Everyone whose goal is to facilitate exchanges between single-parent families and older people. Activities are planned with at least 30 single parents and their children and 30 persons over 60 years old.
Many local authorities are also actively working in order to ensure greater intergenerational solidarity in their communities. In a Stuttgart (Germany) nursing home, pupils, students and trainees have the opportunity to spend time with older people and to see the world through the eyes of the older generations. Young and older people can interact by talking together, making music, playing and walking. “On The Bus With Granny” is another initiative of the EU project AENEAS (Attaining Energy-Efficient Mobility in an Ageing Society). AENEAS, along with the public transport company of Salzburg (StadtBus) created a brochure, in both English and German, explaining to children how to help older people with using public transport and how to behave. In December 2009, a series of five workshops for children aged between 12 and 14 took place in several Kraków primary and secondary schools in order to raise children’s awareness of older people’s needs in the context of their mobility on public transport. The workshops allowed the young participants to come up with creative solutions to the problems that older people face on the bus. The City of Munich also involved older people, children and families, women, pedestrians, cyclists, users of public transport and young people with kick boards and inline skates in a pilot project in the city center aimed at creating an attractive city of short distances, taking into consideration all modes of environmentally friendly transport while resolving conflicts between them, as well.
Local and regional authorities have a key role to play in order to promote greater solidarity between generations and create an age-friendly environment. This is the reason why, the Social Inclusion Region Group (SIRG), member of the EY2012 Coalition, organised a seminar on “Solidarity between generations: from regional best practices to policies” on 23 April. The event focused on the relationship between the different generations and how these can be reinforced by initiative taken by local and regional authorities. The seminar represents a contribution to the EY2012 Coalition Campaign for an age-friendly European Union by 2012. The Coalition is calling for the creation of an EU Age-Friendly Environment Network and the launch of a European Covenant of Mayors on Demographic Change to gather and support local and regional public authorities committed to fostering age-friendly environments and intergenerational solidarity in their communities.
Note to the editor
About the EY2012 Coalition
The EY2012 Coalition is a growing group of stakeholders who promote a vision of a society for all ages where everyone is empowered to play an active part in society and enjoy equal rights and opportunities in all stages of their life regardless of age, sex, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, social or economic status, sexual orientation, physical or mental condition, or need for care. The Coalition believes that the current demographic change is a key opportunity for everyone to work together to create an Age-Friendly European Union by 2020.
Initiatives to mark the 29th of April
Some examples of the EY2012 Coalition initiatives to promote the European Day:
- HelpAge International, a partner of the Coalition, launches the “Make it Ageless campaign” that brings old and young together to join forces by sharing their passion for a better, fairer world both today, and in the future. It aims to promote greater awareness, understanding and support amongst young Europeans for the rights and well-being of older people. More information here
- European Foundation Centre’s members launched many initiatives to support older citizens and intergenerational solidarity, such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Portugal with ‘IntergenerationAll’, which, through 18 pilot projects, plans, tests and implements ideas for new intergenerational activities addressing isolation and loneliness, migration and the environment. Find more here
· The European Women’s Lobby is organising a Conference (in EN, FR and Hungarian) on 11 May 2012 in Budapest on the theme Her Future – Intergenerational Solidarity from a Gender Equality Perspective. For more information on the event, click here or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
. In addition, EWL will dedicate the latest edition of its magazine European Women’s Voice to discussing intergenerational solidarity from a gender equality perspective. More information here
- “I am older and I like to surf the web” programme led by the Cybervolunteers Foundation in Spain aims to carry out various training workshops on different tools (social networks, blogs, online photography and video, e-mail) in order to improve older people’s everyday life in various aspects such as entertainment, participation, information, communication, independence, self-esteem.
- Eurodiaconia’s “Old Age is the Taboo of Today” campaign aims at changing the public image of seniors, to show that old age and aging have their qualities, and to emphasize the fact that seniors are generally underestimated and overlooked by the contemporary society and media. Further information available here