Intergenerational connection increases mental wellbeing – here’s how to use a Community Grant to do this in your community

Over time, the importance of intergenerational connections has fallen away from many communities. But many communities still believe in the value of bonds between different age groups – and they’re putting this inspiring story into action with the help of an Australia Post Community Grant.

When people share common interests, they can connect with people of any generation.   

That’s the idea behind Uniity (which stands for Unifying Neighbourhood Intergenerational Interactions Together With You), who describe themselves as a “friendship program”. They facilitate meaningful connections across age groups, with a desire to increase people’s happiness and sense of self-worth, health and wellbeing, as well as reducing the risk of loneliness.  

“One of the best ways to increase mental health outcomes is through friendship, and then that has a ripple effect out into the greater community,” says Adrianna Pearce, Co-Founder of Uniity.  

The importance of intergenerational friendship  

To Uniity, a caring community is one that shares intergenerational friendship. This allows for kindness to be shown to all, helps knowledge be passed down to younger people, it inspires elder care from younger generations, and creates new connections. All of this adds much value, and boosted wellbeing, to the lives of everyone involved. 

However, this connection between generations has too often been lost in our communities.  

“This project is really a response to the separation of generations that's happened in recent years,” explains Marigold White, Co-Founder of Uniity. “It’s important for people to have connections with people older and younger than themselves. It’s really helping people feel that they belong, and it’s giving them a sense of purpose.”  

Uniity was born from the personal experiences of both Adrianna and Marigold. Adrianna wanted to form a friendship with an older person after the birth of her baby and the death of her grandmother, and Marigold had found a beautiful and fulfilling bond with an older lady. Both sensed there was a lot of value in such intergenerational connections – and they wanted to help others find this as well.  

It was this sense of empathy, and wanting to make a difference, that sparked the beginning of Uniity.  

“I think we’re helping create caring and resilient communities,” says Marigold. “I’m inspired by the connections that happen between people who wouldn’t normally have interacted.”   

Four new programs for intergenerational connection funded by a Community Grant  

The Australia Post Community Grant funded the Connections Across Generations project to help people connect over shared interests such as arts, culture, books, food and family.