Ahead of International Youth Day (12 August), and considering the increasingly vital support to be found in communities during such challenging times, we wanted to highlight a project run by YMCA Plymouth which captures this year’s theme of Intergenerational Solidarity perfectly.


Through YMCA Plymouth’s Y’s Group project, students from Discovery College meet in groups with older people from the community to share stories, play games, and learn from one another, creating a unique sense of support and community away from home. As well as helping to tackle the increasing isolation felt by both older and younger people, the project fosters mutually beneficial peer connections, helping to break down barriers around stereotypes and ageism on both ends of the spectrum, and is a hugely valued resource across the generations.


From Y’s Group participants:


Jordan, 18“Working with Y’s Group is really good fun. We talk a lot about what we want to do when we leave college, and they give us advice on how to do well. Before we started to meet them, I was really shy and didn’t know what to say, but now they have become more like friends. I am a lot more confident especially when it comes to speaking to adults. We do fun things every month that I wouldn’t have done if I wasn’t with the group – and it’s nice to see the members are happy to try anything, including sports!”


Beryl, 86“The most enjoyable part is the socialising, just getting out of the house, because most of us are widows and widowers – as well as the feedback from the young people. We’ve also been taken places that we wouldn’t go to because we have no transport – so again, that’s a two-way thing, you know? The group definitely helps to break barriers, particularly with the older generations. Sometimes we can get a bit sceptical about the young, but having met these youngsters at YMCA, we’ve all changed our attitude. And we discuss so much – you name it!”