Ambitious intergenerational co-location project unveiled

Monday, November 26, 2018

Social enterprise United for All Ages (UfAA) and care home operator Millennium Care are working together on a £12m intergenerational development, which is hoped to be the first of its kind in the UK.

  • Worthington Lake Care Village in Wigan will include a nursery, assisted living flats and a care home
  • United for All Ages wants 500 shared sites by 2023

Social enterprise United for All Ages (UfAA) and care home operator Millennium Care are working together on a £12m intergenerational development, which is hoped to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Set in 8.5 acres of land in a green belt area with more than 200 trees, the Worthington Lake Care Village in Wigan will offer continuity of care for older people, with a care home, dementia unit, a nursery, community hub and assisted living flats. The development should all be open by early 2020.

UfAA is advising on the development’s on-site nursery design, overseeing the build, setting up, staffing and the planning of integrated activities. The development will provide care and education for 174 ‘young and old’, with an on-site nursery catering for 70 children.

omair-haiderSpeaking at the Nursery World Business Summit, Omair Haider, managing director of Millennium Care, which runs care homes in the North-West, said that they ‘sought to create an environment from relative independence to a high level of dependence’ and didn’t want to create ‘ghettos for elderly people’.

The community hub will allow for planned and spontaneous interactions to take place, children from the nursery will eat their meals there, and it will be open to members of the local community to bring people into the care village, also offering volunteering opportunities for local residents.

Mr Haider cited the therapeutic benefits of being in a natural setting, including reduced agitation in people with dementia, and the benefits to children, such as increased concentration, self-discipline, strength and co-ordination, and lower risk of obesity.

denise-burkeMeanwhile, Denise Burke, director of UfAA, gave an overview of the range of intergenerational projects happening across the country. In countries such as the Netherlands and the USA, co-location is part of the culture, but ‘momentum is building here’, she said.

In Torbay, the Department for Education has funded some childminders so they can work in a care home, while Busy Bees’ nursery in Chichester, which opened last year, is now doing regular activities with the Anchor care home next door.

Ms Burke said providers should think about where nurseries are located and ‘it could be quite easy to make this happen. It’s not necessarily about flooding the market with more nursery provision. It could be existing providers seeing the opportunities.’


Examples of co-located intergenerational care include:

  • Apples and Honey Nightingale in Wandsworth, London – the UK’s first intergenerational nursery, which recently received an Outstanding rating from both Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission. The nursery offers 20 per cent of places to the care staff who work in the care home
  • Wren Hall in Nottinghamshire, a specialist dementia unit, which runs a crèche, Little Wrens, and has before- and after-school facilities on site.
  • Buckreddan Care Centre and Little Deers in Kilwinning, Ayrshire.
  • CHS Group, a housing association in Cambridge, which also has sheltered housing for students
  • Wilton Hill village, set up for veterans, but which now runs a nursery alongside a community café and an enterprise hub
  • Worthington Lake in Wigan.

Speaking on co-locating childcare and eldercare, Stephen Burke, director of UfAA, told Business Summit delegates there was growing interest in bringing childcare and eldercare together, with ‘thousands of nurseries’ linking up with care homes.


United for All Ages has set an ambition of 500 intergenerational sites by 2023 (see box).

stephen-burkeMr Burke said, ‘We’re ambitious because we think this is fundamental to helping to change culture and attitudes in Britain, and it’s really important we start as early in life as possible, but we’re also strategic in our approach in terms of making this happen.

‘We’re working with childcare providers and eldercare providers to audit your current intergenerational activities, to identify opportunities. Look out for your local care homes and opportunities locally and start small and build it up.’

United for All Ages is working on feasibility studies on locating childcare alongside eldercare and on implementing new schemes.

Mr Burke added, ‘Nationally, it’s exciting. There is growing interest in this. There are a couple of Parliamentary inquiries currently going on. An all-party group on social integration is doing an inquiry into intergenerational connection, which is reporting in a few months’ time. There’s also a Lords select committee on intergenerational fairness and provision, and we’re looking forward to their report.’

He said the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, ‘has already given co-located care his blessing and the comments we’ve heard from the minister today from the DfE support that’.

A social care green paper was ‘expected shortly’, and Mr Burke said he expected that it too would endorse the intergenerational model.

He added, ‘Locally, we’re working with councils, encouraging them to bring their early years childcare forums together with their adult care forums, because we’re still working in silos and very few providers provide both care homes and nurseries. We also need local authorities to use their planning powers, their commissioning powers, to think about co-location and to work with architects and developers on doing that.’

UfAA will share lessons from schemes such as the one in Wigan and Apples and Honey Nightingale, which providers can visit, and from elsewhere in Europe, the USA, Australia, Singapore and Japan – ‘where this all started’, Mr Burke said. ‘We’re continuing to mobilise support and enthusiasm. Everything that’s been going on has been driven by the grass roots and public support.’

The positive response to TV programmes such as Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds and to coverage of Apples and Honey Nightingale had been ‘phenomenal’.

Mr Burke added, ‘The key thing for you as a childcare audience is that parents love it.’

Intergenerational care

A sliding scale of interaction:

  • Occasional visits by nurseries to care homes.
  • Regular/ weekly visits by nurseries, childminders and parent and toddler groups.
  • Adjacent care and childcare providers.
  • Co-located sites without daily interaction.
  • Fully integrated co-located care with daily joint activities, planned and spontaneous.
  • UfAA ambition: 500 shared sites by 2023.

Source: United for All Ages

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