Changeworks partnered with Pilmeny Development Project to bring people of all ages together for the Zero Waste Leith Project, which received funding from the European Regional Development Fund. Leithers were concerned that public knowledge about reducing waste was being lost, that young people are not taught to mend or repair things anymore, and that older people often live in isolated circumstances.

Connecting across generations

Pilmeny Development Project brought together young people and older Leithers to share ideas and experiences across the generations, as they explored different ways of putting ‘zero waste’ principles into action. Through a series of practical workshops and activities, primary school pupils and sheltered housing residents learnt together about food waste. Tutors from the Edinburgh Remakery also led a ‘Make Do and Mend’ session.

This intergenerational project brought together more than 130 people from across Leith, including six partner organisations and a dedicated team of volunteers. The opportunity to meet the same group on a monthly basis led to new friendships being made and participants reported improved wellbeing.

Positive experiences

Volunteers commented that the experience was very enjoyable and one older person said: “It’s been such a long time since I was able to feel useful – more please!”. The primary class teacher observed:“Conversations were great – real friendships were made –‘M’ really looked forward to seeing her new friend”.

As a result of the project the partner organisations now have a greater awareness and understanding of intergenerational approaches. 51 per cent of Leithers feel that since the Zero Waste Leith project started the overall community is now working together better to reduce waste, particularly community groups, schools, organisations and residents.

Anne Munro, Manager at Pilmeny Development Project, said:

"This project was a really good opportunity for younger and older people in Leith to come together to share skills, learn and build new relationships. It is a great example of the benefits of working in partnership with longstanding community organisations such as Pilmeny Development Project (who have already build up the community relationships), which contributes towards achieving better quality outcomes, as well as having fun!”

Following the success of the project Changeworks and Pilmeny Development Project created a short guide for other community groups to use about how to host intergenerational zero waste workshops in your community which is available online.

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