TV presenter and journalist Steph McGovern is supporting a new skill sharing initiative celebrating the talents older people can share with the younger generation.
It is all part of the #GenerationWOW campaign (which stands for wonderful older wisdom) from Specsavers Home Visits, together with u3a (University of the Third Age), which gives older people a platform to pass on their skills and life experience to others.
New research* reveals that three quarters (75%) of over 60s in the East of England believe they have valuable untapped knowledge going to waste, yet half (50%) feel that the younger generations aren’t interested in hearing what they have to say.
93% fear that certain crafts may disappear entirely if their wisdom isn’t passed on, with more than a quarter saying younger people could benefit by learning to garden (28%) or do basic electrics like changing a plug (31%).
However, some of their fears may be misplaced, as 82% of younger people in the East of England were really keen to learn from those older than them, especially about cooking (34%), parenthood (24%) and money (20%). Nearly a quarter (18%) also want their advice on love and 14% would like to gain their perspective on career success.
And the good news is that the skill-sharing can go both ways with the younger generation wanting to impart their knowledge to an older person on technology (26%), social media (28%) and current affairs (16%). In fact, 29% of younger people in the East of England want to ask an older person to teach them a skill they have and 22% of younger adults would like to teach them a skill in return.
Steph, 39, can vouch for this desire to learn, which is why she likes to spend some of her free time learning to paint with her 68-year-old dad, Eamonn, a professional artist.
Steph says: ‘My father is a brilliant artist, so I grew up surrounded by paints, brushes and all the other bits and bobs used to create his beautiful images and sculptures.
‘I’m not sure I’ve inherited his talent, but I don’t do too badly thanks to the tips he has given me. Also it gives us the chance to spend quality time together, which is really special to me.’
And it’s because Steph knows the value of skill sharing from her own experience that she’s so delighted to be backing the new skills hub, which can be found on the Specsavers website: specsavers.co.uk/generation-wow.
The #GenerationWOW skills hub will showcase people’s lifetime of experience in one easy-to-reach place through video tutorials.
Specsavers Home Visits, which offers full eye tests in the homes and care homes of people who are entitled to an NHS eye test and are unable to leave their house unaccompanied due to a physical or mental illness, was inspired to create the hub by all the incredible people they visit on a day-to-day basis.
Dawn Roberts, clinical director for Specsavers Home Visits, says: ‘We are in the privileged position of being able to meet thousands of amazing people in their own homes every year. They may not be able to leave their homes without assistance any more, but they have lost none of their zest for life.
‘They inspired us to set up the skills hub, giving them and members of the u3a the opportunity to share their skills and learn from others. We want to shine a light on Generation WOW, and why we all have things to learn from them and are delighted to be working with u3a to bring that vision to life.’
u3a has been bringing people together to share their skills and learn new skills from others for 40 years. It is a UK-wide movement of locally-run interest groups that provide a wide range of opportunities to come together to learn for fun, with a network of over 450,000 members with a range of skills they are passionate about sharing. u3a has local groups in Tring and Northchurch & Berkhamsted.
Membership costs less than £20 a year on average and is open to anyone who is no longer working full-time. Members have already contributed videos to the skills hub on flower arranging and laughter yoga, with more to be added over the coming year.
Sam Mauger, CEO of u3a, says: ‘Our members are a really inspirational and passionate group of people, who show that no longer working full-time doesn’t mean having a life which is any less active.
‘Their enthusiasm to share their talents with others, and to keep learning new skills themselves, is wonderful – and we look forward to working with Specsavers Home Visits to help them share their skills with the wider world.’
Dawn adds: ‘Maintaining good vision is really important for all of us and is really important if a person is housebound – especially if they are living alone. Changes in eyesight could lead to a person being more prone to falls and would certainly make it less easy for them to carry out day-to-day activities, and, of course, enjoy their hobbies.
‘We’d urge anyone who has an older friend or relative that may be eligible for a free home eye test to get in touch with us.’
To find out more about Specsavers Home Visits, or to check eligibility and book an appointment, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/home-eye-test or call 0808 239 0014. If you prefer an in-person appointment, you can make one at the Tring branch in Dolphin Square or call them on 01442 828778.
* OnePoll research of 2,000 people between 14/12/21-17/12/21 commissioned by Specsavers