Are you ever to old to share? A recent recruit to Intergen suggests the answer to this question is a resounding NO.
Photograph supplied with kind permisson of Carmen Varlino and East End Life
Earlier this year Intergen recruited its first centenarian to share his first hand knowledge of the history of the last century in the East End of London. Son of a polish Jewish immigrant he remembers his father coming home on leave as a soldier fighting in the first world war and taking him into the street to watch a burning zeppelin over the skies of London. He recalls at the age of 6 asking his mother why everyone was giving money, when they had none for their families, to people without an arm or legs that were begging in the street in Bethnal Green. A hard truth to learn about war.
He shared these and other stories to a packed hall of pupils and staff at Morpeth School in Bethnal Green on their 1914 -18 war memorial day, this month, along with observations of the way in which the general strike was broken. He held his audience spellbound.
Our centenarian came upon Intergen as a result of meeting the Intergen coordinator for the schools in Bethnal Green with whom Intergen works in partnership. There are two primary schools in the partnership and he opted to become an Intergener (our name for volunteers) in the large secondary school.
Intergen exists to address the problems of:
- Underperformance of pupils in schools
- Low aspirations of pupils
- Loneliness of older people
- Hostile intergenerational stereotypes
We do this by bringing older and younger people together in their neighbourhood schools to:
- Enrich opportunities to learn
- Raise aspirations
- Share the untapped range of skills and knowledge that older citizens have to offer
- Build stronger communities
We welcome anyone else who has retired and has time to share their skills and knowledge in our schools in London and the Northwest where we currently work. Just look at our website www.intergen.org.uk for how to go about getting involved and sharing your skills and knowledge – even if you aren’t 100 years old.