Blogs Reports

Bridging the generational divides – Oliver’s work gathers pace

Bridging the generational divides – Oliver’s work gathers pace

Reported by Oliver

Published on Friday, October 15th, 2021

Ageism Leadership
Blogs Reports

Bridging the generational divides – Oliver’s work gathers pace

Bridging the generational divides – Oliver’s work gathers pace

Written by Oliver

Published on Friday, October 15th, 2021



My last Engages All Ages event was the best attended so far. It took place on Sunday 3rd October in Chalcot Square in Primrose Hill and some of the participants played music, sang songs and read poetry about the generational divides. There were not as many families there as at my June event, but it was really popular with over 30-year-olds.

Group of people sitting on benches
Oliver’s October Engages All Ages event was well attended

I organise these events because I think that younger and older generations have different views and are not tolerant of each other. I think that if people get together and talk about things like ageism and learn to tolerate different views then they will understand each other more and get on better. The good that can come out of my events is that people of different ages will be kinder to each other.

One the challenges I face is that it’s difficult attract younger people to my events. It is important when planning my Engages All Ages gatherings to find the locations that work best in terms of drawing in different age groups. Chalcot Square is a beautiful place to hang out and have picnics; it has nice trees and plants and plenty of benches and places for kids to play. However, University students, teenagers and kids do not seem to gather there much.

In the future I want to encourage more young people to participate in Engages All Ages and so I am hoping to hold my get-togethers in places such as Camden Town, Muswell Hill, Kingston, Shoreditch, Peckham and Hackney.

At the moment, my events are quite small, so I don’t need to apply to the council for permission to hold them. If they ever involve more than 50 people, I will have to ask for permission, pay for the space and get a license if I want to play music with amplifiers. I have spoken to Camden Council about this, and they were very positive about it so I am confident it will go well if I ever have to do that.

I am hoping to run these events once every several months.

Group of people sitting on benches
Engages All Ages participants playing music and singing songs.

You Are Old, Father William” by Lewis Carroll

“You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door—
Pray, what is the reason of that?”

“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment—one shilling the box—
Allow me to sell you a couple.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak—
Pray, how did you manage to do it?”

“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose—
What made you so awfully clever?”

“I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
Said his father; “don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs!”

Written by Oliver

I am a young artist and activist on the autistic spectrum who has studied at Westminster Kingsway College and Byam Shaw College among other institutions. Painting has been a way of expressing myself and helped distract me from my obsessions. I am very aware of the social barriers caused by ageism which led me to begin an initiative called ‘Engages all Ages’. Myself and a group of friends hold regular meetings and events as part of this project. I appeared on a Channel 4 TV show called the Undateables, which shows the dating agency ‘Stars in the Sky’ helping Disabled people to find love. You can see some of my art work on display at Oliver’s Village Café NW3, our family café, where I also bake some of the cakes. Combatting loneliness is important to me and you can read a Camden New Journal article about my 'happy to talk' bench campaign here.

Read all of Oliver's articles


Ageism Leadership

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