Golders Green charity gets old and young together

Tan Parsons

A CHARITY in Golders Green has launched a campaign to encourage young and elderly people to mix more socially following the release of damning statistics.

Jewish Care’s Pearls of Wisdom campaign coincides with the release of figures showing more than half of people aged between 16 and 35 have not spent any quality time with anyone over the age of 70 in the last six months – and a third never spend any time at all with elderly people.

The campaign encourages younger people to take action by sharing stories and anecdotes from older people using Jewish Care’s social media resources. This is to help demonstrate and communicate the breadth of knowledge and advice available from the older generation.

Jewish Care’s chief executive Simon Morris said: “This is an issue facing communities right across the UK. We have launched this campaign to encourage young people to see older people in a different light.

“Small actions taken by many people are key to bridging this generational divide that risks fracturing our society. We want to challenge young people to make a little extra effort and engage with the older members of their communities. They will be surprised how much they get back in return.”

The campaign has been designed to encourage younger people to re-engage with their elders and kick-starts this week with the launch of a film which will be screened in local cinemas.

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The Ipsos Mori poll, commissioned by Jewish Care, also found that fewer than half of people aged 16 to 24 think those aged over 70 are important to our society and only two in every 10 people who responded to the survey think over 70s are fun to spend time with.

Among those leading the way in the campaign is Belsize Park resident Rebecca Bard, 25, who volunteers for Jewish Care on the weekend. Ms Bard is a marketing manager for a fashion chain during the day but in her spare hours at weekends she spends her time with the elderly and frail residents of Clore Manor in Finchley.

She said: “They tell me amazing things about their past – growing up and their experiences during the war. They have definitely got a sense of humour. There’s one old man who usually has a woman on each side holding his hands and he calls them his girlfriends. There’s definitely a sense of light-heartedness.

“It’s great to do something so worthwhile and you can really see the residents appreciate something like that. It is a wonderful feeling to do something meaningful with those spare hours on a Sunday.”

She is also responsible for recruiting a group of up to 30 young people to take part in a volunteering project one afternoon a month where they can visit and chat with some of the residents of Clore Manor and other homes.

“I would tell other young people who are interested in volunteering that they shouldn’t be afraid because there’s lots of opportunities in terms of volunteering,” she said. “You can use your time and skills to make it what you want.”

o For more details about the campaign visit