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Blog: UN SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities 2022

Staff Ambassador Blog – UN SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

In my last staff ambassador blog for UN SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, I highlighted the importance of UN SDG 11 to achieving the other Sustainable Development Goals. For example UN SDG 1: No Poverty cannot happen if people are without safe and affordable housing. UN SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing cannot be achieved without the environmental impact of urban areas being reduced. In this blog, I want to highlight a key to aspect to achieving UN SDG 11 itself.

Why intergenerational practice is so important  

Intergenerational practice highlights how different generations can gain a multitude of things from one another. Over the last few years we have seen this through Channel 4 TV Programmes such as ‘Lodgers for Codgers’ and ‘The old people’s home for 4 year olds.’ Both highlight key issues to achieving sustainable cities and communities. One highlights the housing crisis and the other the increased isolation of older people within our communities with both exploring intergenerational solutions to these problems.

Lodgers for Codgers’ saw younger generation participants who were unable to get on the housing ladder or leave home due to the spiralling cost of housing and rent. They were paired with pensioners who lived alone and had spare rooms. The impact of the experiment showed how the young generation learnt things such as how to be more economical whilst the older generation became less socially isolated, learnt to use technology and received help around the house. The programme highlights the benefits to both generations of participants. One of the younger generation participants Nicole broke down the stereotype of age barriers and said: “It doesn’t matter if you’re from different generations. If you have an open mind you get on with anyone.” 

‘The Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ saw 4 year olds attend a care home for a duration of 6 weeks. The two generations had time and space to engage physically and socially, including through games, walking, activities using craft and art work and culminating in a schools sports day. This is the first experiment in the UK to measure the impact of intergenerational impact on health and happiness of the older group. The experiment showed staggering results. At the beginning of the experiment nearly all residents identified as depressed with two severely depressed. At the end of the six week programme none of them were!

These two TV shows show just how impactful  intergenerational practice and projects can be in the community and how they can support achieving UN SDG 11.

What Northamptonshire Community Foundation is doing to support intergeneration projects

At Northamptonshire Community Foundation, we have a variety of funds that focus on an element of UN SG 11. For example our Wind Farm Funds focus on providing grants to projects which benefit residents in the parishes of specific geographical areas within Northamptonshire. Our Global Goals for Northamptonshire Fund focuses specifically on four of the Global Goals each year, one of which is UN SDG 11 for 2022. Our Let’s Create Jubilee Fund supports voluntary and community groups to develop creative and cultural activities as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations which in its approach must benefit the people of Northamptonshire, particular those on low income or facing disadvantage.

The pandemic has exposed more than ever the need for intergenerational projects and activities in the community. I have highlighted some of the groups and organisations that have recently been provided with funding through Northamptonshire Community Foundation to support their intergenerational projects and work towards achieving UN SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Northamptonshire Carnival Arts Consortium

Northamptonshire Carnival Arts Consortium has recently received funding through the Compton Fund to support their project ‘The Evolution of the Sound System – From Decks to Digital. The intergenerational project aims to be inclusive of generations and communities, bringing young people with an interest in music, DJing and Sound Systems together with members of the older generation who were involved in the music industry and sound system culture of the past decades.

The two generations will work together to build a fully operational sound system that can used as a showpiece and symbolise the reconnection of a culture that started after the windrush movement. The sound system will be used to support the young artists involved in the project by providing them with an opportunity to express themselves and showcase their DJ and performance skills whilst it will also provide a function for the older generation as something that can be used at events and provide the community with a service that stands for unity and connection intergenerationally.

Groundworks Northamptonshire

Groundworks Northamptonshire is a federation of charities that mobilise practical community action on poverty and in the environment. They manage the Green Patch, a 2.5 acre site situated on the edge of the Grange housing estate in Kettering, Northamptonshire. They have recently received funding through the Let’s Create Jubilee Fund to lead a series of workshops for Green Patch users each week in the run up to the Queen’s Jubilee resulting in the design and creation of a permanent Tree of Hope structure with a community picnic to unveil the sculpture. The Jubilee picnic and celebration will bring the community together for a Green Patch Street Party which will include food, music, decorations and memorabilia to mark the occasion as well as the official completion of the art instillation. 

The project aims to bring everyone (a diverse range of groups, ages and community groups including Made my Many and Arts Council England funded ‘Create People & Places’ programme – part of a new national partnership in North Northamptonshire) together for the celebration, breaking down any barriers that may exist within the community.

Kislingbury Community Group

Kislingbury Community Group are a fairly new group with the aim of building community spirit by holding social events in the village to raise funds for projects and individuals in the village who need support. They have recently received a grant through the Global Goals for Northamptonshire Fund to support the costs deliver a memorable community event to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.

The event will be the largest ever community event that the village has hosted and aims to strength the community by raising awareness, building friendships and leading to better working relationships between all the organisation in the village. The event is designed to ensure inclusion and participation of all ages and gender groups within the village whilst also bringing together all the different areas and organisations for the first time in a coordinated programme to build community spirit with an organising committee formed to represent all groups taking part.

To find out more about the local community projects we have funded or to support the Foundation, take a look here

Jenni HoughtonHead of Finance and Operations