Active Across Ages


Active Across Ages was a programme funded in 2019 by YST International and Sir John Beckwith Charitable Trust. During a pilot phase 10 primary, secondary and special schools worked in partnership with 10 older people’s settings including care homes, so that children and older adults could be active together.

What we did

Bringing young people and older adults together in purposeful activity brings considerable health and social benefits to both groups. Active Across Ages was developed as a pilot project to improve the physical, mental and social wellbeing of participants, provide volunteering opportunities, develop employability skills and confidence to be physically active. It also provides opportunities to support primary to secondary transition and enhance local community relationships.

Following a teacher briefing and young leader (Activity Buddy) training, Activity Buddies work with older people to understand what physical activities they would like to do and plan programmes of activities to enjoy together. To share ideas and raise self-esteem, both the young people and older adults lead activities such as boccia and new age curling and work together to invent their own games. The pilot project games have been developed into Active Across Ages activity cards.

During the pilot project, each Activity Buddy completed an average of 20 hours volunteering and enjoyed local celebration events with their older adult partners.

The impact of the pilot project has been overwhelmingly positive with changes amongst children and adults in social wellbeing and perceptions of each other. All 10 pilot schools and their older partners intend to continue beyond the life of the pilot as the benefits of taking part have been felt by all.

As a Youth Sport Trust innovation project, the Active Across Ages pilot was guided by an advisory group of intergenerational experts, underpinned by a literature review of best practice, intensively evaluated and peer reviewed.

We are currently seeking funding to make Active Across Ages available to more schools and older people's settings. If you are interested in getting involved, please complete the expression of interest form.