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  • Writer's pictureSarah Mitton

“Generation Futures” – how we’re supporting young people who have undertaken intergenerational social action to shape their futures

Sarah Mitton, Age Friendly Communities Manager at Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group  


This week as we celebrate the power of intergenerational connections, we wanted to reflect on our intergenerational social action work and share our new approach to supporting young people to recognise the skills gained through participating in intergenerational programmes. 


Since 2018, we’ve been delivering a range of projects to provide young people living in Clarion communities with ways to take part in social action thanks to our partnership with the #iwill Fund – a £66m joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities. 


Social action is a phrase often used by organisations working with young people, but what we mean by it is facilitating opportunities for collaboration amongst local residents, both young and old, to identify issues in neighbourhoods and implement solutions to make a positive difference.  


In the six years since we kickstarted our social action programmes, more than 7,000 young people have taken part, developing new skills and achieving qualifications that will help set them up for a bright future.  


Most recently we’ve been working with partners such as InCommon, Intergenerational Music Making and Action Funder on an innovative new programme to bring older and younger people together to tackle local issues and explore ways to create more connected communities across generations – we call it intergenerational social action. 


We now want to place a renewed focus on what happens next. What support do young people need once they complete their intergenerational social action projects to help them find their way in the world of work? The skills gained during these projects are undoubtedly valuable but translating them into evidence of meeting job requirements can be tricky.  


That’s why we’ve launched a new initiative called ‘Generation Futures’, offering support, advice and information to young people aged 16-25 on employability issues to help them make informed decisions regarding their future. The hope is that with the right support, they will continue their social action journey into adulthood and use the skills they’ve learned to secure rewarding employment. 


A mix of workshops and personalised one-to-one guidance helps to equip young minds with essential employability skills, finding ways to showcase and celebrate what they’ve learned through intergenerational social action. Workshops bring together employers and guest speakers to talk through the issues affecting youth employability, and young people who have successfully managed to navigate into employment will also share their experiences to inspire others and answer questions.  


Participants can also access the wide-ranging employment support provided by our specialist Jobs and Training team, turning the skills gained during their social action journeys into employment pathways. Support is tailored to the needs of each young person in terms of their aspirations and capabilities, covering local job markets, CV writing, interview skills, and application assistance, as well as access to apprenticeships.  


We know there is no one size fits all approach to employment support. Some young people may want to take an entrepreneurial route, and as such we can provide expert business start-up support, including grants to help with the initial costs associated with setting up a business. 


It’s early days, but feedback on the workshops has been really positive so far. One of our youth partners said: “Our young people were really engaged in the session and enjoyed thinking about their social action skills in a creative and fun way. It was a great opportunity for them to think about what comes next on their journey.” 


Feedback like this shows the difference this new initiative is making, building on the success of our intergenerational social action programme and helping young people take the next step towards a fulfilling future, whatever that looks like for them.  


It’s part of our commitment to supporting young residents through the key transition points in their lives, and I’m excited to see how, with the support of partners like The National Lottery Community Fund and Intergenerational England, we can continue to transform lives and promote intergenerational connections across our communities.   



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