October meeting summary: Generations United

Claire Frost of Age UK Haringey described 2 projects which focussed on older and younger people working together.

1.  Trans Age Action: People of 50 + are trained to work in schools e.g. helping/listening to reading, art work, mathematics. This is a nation wide scheme set up in 2004. In Haringey 23 schools are involved most commonly those which are not too successful and also breakfast clubs. This is important for children who do not get much individual attention at home and is seen to increase their overall confidence. Older people benefit; they enjoy the stimulation of the children. Volunteers do not need any qualification or experience of working with children but police checks are needed. The training course explains what to expect as well as updating volunteers on school organisation and also about safeguarding in case there are indications of distress from the children’s home life.

2. My Community. This involves 3 schools- Hornsey School for Girls, Greig Academy, Haringey 6th Form Centre and is funded by the Mayor of London. Elderly are taught IT skills on a one to one basis by 6th formers. This project attempts to build stronger neighbourhoods and to deepen relationships between teenagers and the elderly.

We hope that some of you may be interested in joining one of these projects. (Janet already helps atCampsbourneSchool.) Contact Trans Age Action, AgeUK 8885 8351 for more information.

Adam Jogee, SOAS student, youngest ward chair of the national Labour party spoke on ‘Young Haringey’. Adam outlined government policies which are making life difficult for young people in Haringey: the scrapping of the EMA which had supported young people staying on at college, the trebling of tuition fees for university students; the intended cuts in housing benefit for young people under 25. He spoke of the importance for young people to have enough space in which to live and how many parents could not house them. Haringey’s unemployment levels were above the national average at 12% and many young people were limited in their choice of jobs often working long hours for low pay. Hornsey ward had the highest youth unemployment in the borough. Adam was challenged that the last government was also to blame for these problems. He discussed the strategies Haringey are adopting in an attempt to offset some of these problems.

1. £400,000 for a youth strategy on which young people are being consulted.

2. £3.6 million Youth Jobs Fund to encourage local businesses to  provide 300 well paid proper jobs.

The Youth Council is still active in the Borough. He discussed the cultural problems of it “not being cool” for young people to hang out with the elderly but hoped the Age UK projects would help.

There was a discussion on the problems of getting young people becoming properly involved in the Safer Neighbourhoods meetings even though teachers sometimes brought a group. Adam suggested day time meetings. Claire suggested using the Sutton & Merton idea of open debating societies in the school which could get them more practised at participation.

In response to questions Adam said the cuts in funding for the Youth service by 70% was a bad decision by government and cutting the very good Muswell Hill youth club indicated that Haringey did not understand that many young people from Hornsey and Wood Green postal code wards would have attended it.

There was a discussion on theLondonMetropolitanUniversityhaving lost its right to issue study visas to foreign students. Adam said that 2000 foreign students, many from wealthy parents who would have put money intoLondon’s economy would now not be able to study here andUK’s international reputation as a global education economy had been spoilt. It was pointed out from the floor that claims had been made that theLondonMetropolitanUniversityhad issued visas for non existing students in the past and some accepted were not properly qualified.

Adam said the concept of “rent caps” inLondonwere being discussed in the Greater London Assembly. He was very supportive of votes for 16 year olds. He felt the problem the elderly had on the buses after school times indicated a need for a change in culture; someone suggested the need for bus conductors. It was pointed out that there should be no generations divide as the young people are our children and grandchildren.

The speakers were warmly thanked.

Many thanks to Barbara Ryan who has volunteered to organise the tea.

More help is needed for notice deliveries, meeting preparations and clearing up. PLEASE COME FORWARD.