Global Intergenerational Week

27th April 2023

Global Intergenerational Week takes place from Monday 24th April – Sunday 30th April 2023. Now in its fourth year, the week aims to get as many people as possible involved in the intergenerational conversation. Organisations across the globe, all come together to share ideas on how to connect younger and older generations and how to build strong intergenerational connections and relationships. The week is about celebrating the moments and places local to us where different age groups can come together for a shared benefit.

At Doorstep Library our programmes bring people from all walks of life together. Because of the nature of our work, bringing books to family homes whether in-person or online, both our volunteers and our families are able to meet people from all walks of life. Through our paired volunteering roles we unite people from different cultural backgrounds, different communities and indeed – different generations. Our reading projects bring younger and older people together every day, all sharing a common love of books and reading.

98% of Doorstep Library volunteers say that volunteering with us makes them feel more connected to their local community. 

To celebrate some of these wonderful relationships, we talked to three of our intergenerational volunteering pairs about Doorstep Library and how their experience of volunteering has been.

Sheila and Fenella’s Story

Sheila and Fenella have been bringing the magic of books and reading to our online families for almost a year now. Fenella is currently a third-year student at University College London and Sheila is a retired primary school teacher – both are regular Online Reading Volunteers. The pair have been able to help each other navigate through the online sessions through a mixture of volunteering experience and tech ‘know-how’.

“Volunteering with Sheila has been wonderful. I came in as a new volunteer, but her experience with the process meant she was able to talk me through a lot of it as I got my bearings in the first couple of sessions.” – Fenella

“It is wonderful volunteering with a younger partner, particularly Fenella, because she is so quick with all the ‘tech stuff’ but patient with me when necessary.” – Sheila

Read more about Sheila and Fenella’s story

Matilda and Cordelia’s Story

Matilda and Cordelia are some of our longest-standing volunteers both spanning over five years of volunteering across various Doorstep Library projects – coming together as a pair in our Fulham Broadway project. Matilda currently works in the publishing industry and Cordelia dons many hats, she is the Director of a small IT company, a carer, an NHS volunteer and a Mum of two. They both had different experiences of reading as children, Matilda had always loved reading from an early age whereas Cordelia didn’t become a keen reader until later in life as she was mostly encouraged to read classics which didn’t appeal to her. Their different life experiences resulted in them volunteering for Doorstep Library for very different reasons but with one shared aim.

Through volunteering together, they have been able to share their life experiences and their different points of view – Cordelia enjoys learning about what the current reading trends are, and what kind of music Matilda’s age group are listening to and Matilda enjoys spending time with someone older who she perhaps wouldn’t otherwise have contact with. Although different, they often realise that they have more in common than first thought.

“Most of the time that I’ve volunteered with Doorstep Library I’ve been paired with an older volunteer so I’ve been the younger one in the pair and I’ve always found that it works very well. We provide a better service to children and families by being able to offer different knowledge and personalities but also because I’ve enjoyed getting to know and spend time with someone who I wouldn’t have otherwise had contact with!” – Matilda

“We chat when we’re walking to the project and I use that time to ask my volunteering partner all manner of things from what her age group are reading, listening to, watching as well as parenting advise! Language and how you learn has changed considerably since I was at school so being with someone more recently out of education is helpful for my understanding of the system today.” – Cordelia

Read more about Matilda and Cordelia’s story


Veronica and Janhavi’s Story

Veronica and Janhavi are one of our newer volunteer pairings and have been Regular Online Reading Volunteers for just a few months. Although a fairly recent pair, through catch-ups with their Team Leader they have been working really well together. Their age gap is not the only difference between them, coming from two very different cultural backgrounds the pair have not only enjoyed their time volunteering together but also getting to know one another. Both have had a positive impact on each other – with Veronica hearing about Janhavi’s stories of her family and life in India and Janhavi being appreciative of Veronica’s guidance and motivation.

“I’m not sure how my age impacts on my partner but I know I benefit enormously from working with younger people.  They are so wonderfully unfazed by technology and I learn about their lives.  I love hearing about Janhavi’s family and life in India.  She is such a positive voice that she makes me more hopeful for the future.” – Veronica

“She (Veronica) is extremely understanding towards me, the children and their families. I have learnt so many things like punctuality, manner of speaking to children and their parents, and even reading with expressions from her! I am not half as good as she is reading with the children but I’m trying to learn every session. Veronica and I have gotten to know each other better over the last few months and she is such a sweet cheerleader to me.” – Janhavi

Read more about Veronica and Janhavi’s story


Here at Doorstep Library we like to celebrate difference and believe that bringing different groups of people together helps us to challenge assumptions and prejudices.  We can see how much our volunteer pairs get out of spending time with each other and we know that seeing people from different backgrounds and walks of life is also fantastic for the children we visit.

If you would like to create your own Doorstep Library, then please get in touch and find out more about how you can pass the gift of reading books to the many children we visit.

Every story shared is a story changed.

For more information about becoming either a Home or Online Reading Volunteer click here.