The Big Middle

Stephen Burke

Episode Summary

UK age segregation: grassroots action making integration gains

Episode Notes

The UK is among the world's most age-segregated societies. Generations seldom mix outside of families. We've sorted ourselves into age silos, keeping young from middle and old, feeding suspicion and stereotyping between generations. Age segregation has been a key driver of Britain’s epidemic of loneliness and social isolation.

But grassroots social activists are making gains, changing institutions and living arrangements so people of all ages meet, mix and learn from one another. Without any involvement from central government, they're bringing people together, undoing the damage of the efficiency drive of the past half-century.  

Stephen Burke is a leading campaigner for intergenerational integration.  United for All Ages is the UK charity he runs with his wife Denise. We spoke in the garden of the rustic Crown & Sceptre pub in Shepherd’s Bush, west London.


“That’s why it’s so encouraging and sustainable because people are making it happen themselves”

“The most amazing thing is seeing thousands and thousands of nurseries linking with care homes...or older people’s housing and care schemes. That has taken off in the last three years. That is just incredible.”

“This is all happening because it’s happening under people’s own steam… This is a bottom-up, grassroots movement”


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