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Youth Social Action

Unlocking Synergy: The Power of Combining Intergenerational Practice with Youth Social Action

Introduction to Youth Social Action 

Youth social action empowers young people to become active and responsible citizens who create meaningful change to their communities and the world. It provides opportunities for personal growth, skill development, and the creation of positive social change. 

By engaging in youth social action, young people can take responsibility for their own lives and actions and explore their leadership potential as well as gaining a sense of purpose and civic responsibility. 

Other benefits include: (Source: YSA: Rapid Evidence Assessment DCMS) 

  • Promoting cognitive skills 

  • Building character 

  • Improving emotional wellbeing 

  • Increasing active citizenship with their local community 

  • Increasing engagement at school 

  • Helps to grow confidence and self-worth 

  • Improve life skills and marketing skills leading to higher academic achievement and career development 

  • Helping to create equal opportunities  

Intergenerational Youth Social Action (IYSA) 

Intergenerational youth social action expands the concept to encourage younger and older people to come together to work on an issue they care about.  

Intergenerational practice connects people across ages, sectors, and communities, challenging stereotypes and fostering social interaction. This transformative approach inspires resilient communities where individuals from different generations and sectors come together to learn, grow, and thrive. (Intergenerational England, 2023) 

Intergenerational youth social action breaks down stereotypes and stigma, cultivating empathy, respect and understanding, tackling social issues now and in the future.  

During challenging times and with increasing segregation across many areas of society it is more important than ever for generations to integrate. Every age group has something unique and valuable to share. 

Connecting people across different generations can help: 

  • Tackle loneliness & Isolation 

  • Improve Mental Health & Wellbeing 

  • Fight Ageism 

  • Create stronger, more connected communities  


Creative practices such as music, theatre or sports are ideal ways to bring people of all ages together, to share their knowledge and feel empowered. 

IMM’s aim is to use intergenerational practice in music to inspire more young people to tap into their creativity and leadership potential and take practical action. 

Using creativity in Intergenerational Youth Social Action 

Intergenerational creative activities can play a significant role in supporting the development of individuals' self-governance, community, and capability, fostering the ideal conditions for them to feel motivated and empowered. 


We know that intergenerational social action can influence and inspire change but, only if we work together to embed a culture of intergenerational social action. 

Top Tips for IYSA: 

  • Build upon young people’s strengths and talents 

  • Share successes big and small successes 

  • Include creative and technological ways 

  • Remain open to all ideas 

  • All space for decision making and youth voice 

  • Build relationships with the young people and local organisations, such as retirement homes and day centres, that can last 


Examples of creative intergenerational youth social action can include: 

  • Volunteering time and skills to support local charities, not for profits or community organisations, such as working in food banks or participating in environmental clean-up projects in spaces used by the older generation 

  • Campaigning to reduce age prejudice and help fight ageism - Campaigning to raise awareness about important social issues and influence policies or decisions that affect their communities. This might involve organising rallies, writing letters to policymakers, or using social media to generate awareness of a cause. 

  • Tutoring & mentoring people from a different age-group sharing your skills whether digital, fitness, or helping someone to learn a language or musical instrument 

  • Fundraising for a local cause you care about to help people from another generation 

  • Developing leadership skills by joining an intergenerational hub, board or council 

  • Organising regular meet ups between a school and care home 

  • Planning a community festival.  


The benefits of IYSA  

  • Providing an opportunity to learn new skills 

  • Gaining a sense of purpose 

  • Generating respect and understanding between different age groups 

  • Reducing fear of getting older by gaining understanding 

  • Tackling Ageism 

  • Reducing loneliness and isolation 

  • Filling a void for people who do not have grandparents/grandchildren living close by 

  • Hearing history from people who lived through different times and events  

  • Improving mental wellbeing 

Intergenerational Music Making: Empowering Activism Through Intergenerational Youth Social Action:  


At Intergenerational Music Making we work with a range of partners to deliver a variety of IYSA programmes, all designed to empower young people through intergenerational music practice to become local activists, tackling the issues of their generation.  


We are proud to be a partner in the #iwill Youth Social Action Programme and have teamed up with Clarion Housing, SNG (Formerly Sovereign), Places for People, InCommon and Backyard Nature to encourage positive relationships and high-quality intergenerational activity across communities.    

We were also delighted to partner with Youth United Foundation to deliver ‘Silver United’, a cross-generational music project between uniformed youth groups & retirement living venues.  

Piloted by The Boys Brigade, GirlguidingThe Scouts funded by Royal London projects were designed to use music as a tool to form meaningful and lasting connections. 


After the pilot 100% of residents and 88% of young people had an increase in their mental health and wellbeing. 

Using Music as a tool for Intergenerational YSI 

Music is emotional, communicative, universal and fundamental.  

Innate in all of us, music is a potent tool for social and personal development. It can easily change our mood, strengthen social bonds, bring us wellness and enhance our feeling of belonging. It is free, accessible to all, and no matter our skill level, we can all enjoy its benefits. 

Using other creative activities as a tool for Intergenerational YSI 

A great starting point for a Youth Social Action initiative is to incorporate the interests, talents and strengths the young people already have.  

Intergenerational connections and shared learning across the group will flourish as the two ages groups discover they each have something they can share and teach the other. 


Creative activities for people from different generations to enjoy together include: 

  • Arts & Crafts 

  • Sports 

  • Theatre 

  • Gardening  

  • Stitching 

  • Poetry 

  • Yoga  

  • Graffiti 

  • Martial Arts 

  • Dance & more 

The ECCO Framework: Empowerment – Creativity – Community – Opportunity  

IMM’s brand new Intergenerational framework – ECCO - is designed to empower and support community organisations. Its primary objective is to cultivate an environment that not only encourages but actively facilitates individuals in discovering their untapped potential, fostering personal growth and prosperity.  

ECCO is dedicated to promoting innovative approaches that encourage young people to recognise and build solutions to issues that matter to them, with a special emphasis on bridging generational gaps. 


Silver United Impact Report 

YSI Careers & Enterprise Tool Kit 

Arch Bishop of York Youth Trust: How Social Action Benefits Pupils, Schools and Communities  

DCMS: YSI Rapid Evidence Assessment 

Useful Links: 

Intergenerational Music Making: 

Intergenerational England: 





Places for People: 

In Common:  

Backyard Nature: 


Intergenerational Conference

Take a look at the first of its kind conference about Intergenerational Practice.



Intergenerational Conference Sponsor

Take a look at our conference sponsor Riverstone.

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