The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on all of our lives, risking not least our health, but also our lifestyles, work and mental wellbeing. Now more than ever we need bright ideas that will rebuild our communities and support those most affected by Covid-19.

InCommon is a social enterprise that brings older people and children together. By connecting groups of primary school pupils with their neighbours in retirement homes, they facilitate the sharing of knowledge both up and down the generations while building friendships.

With the lockdown resulting in the huge reduction in human contact for all, it’s more important than ever to keep people connected. Older people are especially vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation – and it can have a serious effect on health.

In early March, InCommon stopped their face-to-face workshops in retirement homes to protect their older volunteers and instead launched InCommon Buddies. This new programme enables children to share joyful moments with older friends and family over the phone and online.

“We kept hearing from the older people we work with that they are missing spending time with people of different ages in projects like ours and in their own families.”

Through their Buddies scheme, InCommon are continuing to connect children and older residents who’ve met at their workshops, so these relationships can be maintained at a time when we need them most.

InCommon are also sharing the activities from Buddies sessions on their website every week so anyone can join in with older friends and relatives.

“Young and old still have lots to learn from each other and can support each other through this time of change. We all want to stay in touch, but it’s not always easy to spend meaningful time with each other when we’re physically apart.”

You can hear more from InCommon founders, Charlotte Whittaker and Laura Macartney in the Investec Beyond Business podcast series.

Do you have an idea for a social enterprise? Investec Beyond Business has extended its deadline for applications to capture enterprising ideas conceived in response to the current crisis.

Find out more about the programme. Applications close at 5pm on 30th October 2020.

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