The development of an intergenerational centre in the UK: how several generations used the centre and interacted with(in) the building

Author: Melville, Julie
Source document: Studia paedagogica. 2016, vol. 21, iss. 2, pp. [67]-82
  • ISSN
    1803-7437 (print)
    2336-4521 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
This article tells the story of the development of the UK's first purpose-built intergenerational centre (the Centre) in London, England. More specifically, this article focuses on what happened once the Centre actually opened and participants were able to make practical use of it. Findings presented in this article are used to examine how different people use the Centre and interact in its communal spaces, and whether interactions differ with age or relationships between users. The article also considers whether the presence of particular people or groups in the Centre influences the nature and levels of interaction among the generations. The article articulates key lessons learned for other local councils and for the wider international community seeking to develop and design purpose-built intergenerational centres.
[1] Abrahams, C., Hatton-Yeo, A., Lishman, G., Tree, D., & McKee, V. (2007). Improving Outcomes and Creating Stronger Communities Through Intergenerational Working: A Joint Paper (unpublished report).

[2] Allport, G. W. (1954). The Nature of Prejudice. Reading: Addison-Wesley.

[3] Bernard, M. (2006). Keynote 1. Research, policy, practice, and theory: Interrelated dimensions of a developing field. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 4(1), 5–21. | DOI 10.1300/J194v04n01_03

[4] Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2000). Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

[5] Fact Sheet on Intergenerational Shared Sites. (2005). Washington DC: Generations United.

[6] For All Ages: Bringing different generations closer together. (2011). London: 4Children. Retrieved from

[7] Hatton-Yeo, A. (2006). Intergenerational Programmes: An Introduction and Examples of Practice. Stoke-on-Trent: Beth Johnson Foundation.

[8] Hatton-Yeo, A., & Ohsako, T. (2000). Intergenerational Programmes: Public Policy and Research Implications: An International Perspective. Hamburg: UNESCO Institute for Education.

[9] Hayes, C. L. (2003). An observational study in developing an intergenerational shared site program: Challenges and insights. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 1(1), 113–132. | DOI 10.1300/J194v01n01_10

[10] Holland, C., Clark, A., Katz, J., & Peace, S. (2007). Social interactions in urban public places. Bristol: Policy Press.

[11] Intergenerational Shared Sites: Making the Case. (2006). Washington DC: Generations United.

[12] Intergenerational solidarity: Analytical report, Flash Eurobarometer. (2009). Brussels: European Commission. Retrieved from

[13] Jarrott, S. E. (2010). Programs that Affect Intergenerational Solidarity. In M. Cruz-Saco & S. Zelenev (Eds.), Intergenerational Solidarity (113-127). New York: Palgrave/MacMillan. | DOI 10.1057/9780230115484_7

[14] Jarrott, S. E. (2011). Where Have We Been and Where are We Going? Content Analysis of Evaluation Research of Intergenerational Programs. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 9(1), 37–52. | DOI 10.1080/15350770.2011.544594

[15] Jarrott, S. E., & Bruno, K. A. (2007). Shared Site Intergenerational Programs: A Case Study. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 26(3), 239–257. | DOI 10.1177/0733464807300225

[16] Jarrott, S. E., & Weintraub, A. P. (2007). Intergenerational shared sites: A practical model. In M. Sanchez, Intergenerational Programmes: Towards a Society for All Ages (125–146). Barcelona: La caixa Foundation.

[17] Jarrott, S. E., Smith, C. L., & Weintraub, A. P. C. (2008). Development of a Standardized Tool for Intergenerational Programming: The Intergenerational Observation Scale. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 6(4), 433–447. | DOI 10.1080/15350770802474595

[18] Johnson, J., & Bytheway, B. (2004). Ageism: Concept and definition. In J. Johnson & R. Slater (Eds.), Ageing and Later Life. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

[19] Kaplan, M., Haider, J., Cohen, U., & Turner, D. (2007). Environmental Design Perspectives on Intergenerational Programs and Practices: An Emergent Conceptual Framework. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 5(2), 81–110. | DOI 10.1300/J194v05n02_06

[20] Kuehne, V. (2003). The State of Our Art: Intergenerational Program Research and Evaluation: Part Two. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 1(2), 79–93. | DOI 10.1300/J194v01n02_07

[21] Kuehne, V., & Kaplan, M. (2001). Evaluation and Research on Intergenerational Shared Site Facilities and Programs: What We Know and What We Need to Learn. Washington DC: Generations United.

[22] Llewellyn-Thomas, S., & Chung, J. (2010). London Borough of Merton Residents Survey. London: London Borough of Merton.

[23] Melville, J. (2013). Promoting communication and fostering interaction between the generations: A study of the UK's first purpose-built intergenerational centre. (Dissertation). Staffordshire: Keele University.

[24] Office for National Statistics. (2013). (Only online) Retrieved from

[25] Pain, R. (2005). Intergenerational Relations and Practice in the Development of Sustainable Communities. Durham: International Centre for Regional Regeneration and Development Studies, Durham University.

[26] Pettigrew, T. F. (1998). Intergroup contact theory. Annual Review of Psychology, 49(1), 65–85. | DOI 10.1146/annurev.psych.49.1.65

[27] Ritchie, J., & Lewis, J. (Eds.) (2003). Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. London: Sage Publications.

[28] Salari, S. M. (2002). Intergenerational Partnerships in Adult Day Centers: Importance of Age-Appropriate Environments and Behaviours. Gerontologist, 42(3), 321–333. | DOI 10.1093/geront/42.3.321

[29] Springate, I., Atkinson, M., & Martin, K. (2008) Intergenerational practice: A review of the literature. Slough: NFER.

[30] The London Development Agency and London Borough of Merton Grant Agreement. (2009). (unpublished report). London: London Development Agency.

[31] Under One Roof: A Guide to Starting and Strengthening Intergenerational Shared Site Programs (2005). Washington DC: Generations United.

[32] Vanderven, K. (2011). The Road to Intergenerational Theory is Under Construction: A Continuing Story. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 9(1), 22–36. | DOI 10.1080/15350770.2011.544206

[33] Vegeris, S., & Campbell-Barr, V. (2007). Supporting an intergenerational centre in London: Scoping the evidence. London: Policy Studies Institute and the London Development Agency.

[34] Young and Old Serving Together: Meeting Community Needs Through Intergenerational Partnerships. (2002). Washington DC: Generations United.