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Reaching Out in Northern Ireland

15 July 2010

We launched our £40 million Reaching Out programmes last month with an event that was a little bit different.

We decided to hold a debate to discuss the issues facing our older and younger people most at risk – those groups that we plan support through our programmes.

Our BIG Debate panel was made up of those older and young people we want to support – young people who had been in care and disengaged from education and older people who were afraid to leave their homes because of anti-social behaviour.

And it could have so easily become a big argument instead of a big debate with both sides firmly fixed in their viewpoints. Instead we had an engaging, sparky debate covering everything from isolation, fear of crime, stereotypes and suggestions about how older and younger people can learn from each other.

Our 70-strong audience, made up of older and younger people, journalists and community workers, fired off questions to the panel who spoke about their big vision for the Reaching Out programmes including intergenerational projects that would help bridge the gap between older and younger people, apprenticeship schemes offering young people a chance to learn the trades of the past and projects to support older people in residential and nursing homes.

To hear parts of the debate listen to our podcast:

and find out more about our Reaching Out programmes for older and young people.

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