Group of people smiling in a circle

Ripple Effect

What was Ripple Effect?

Ripple Effect was The Cares Family's national programme that actively supported organisations, groups and individuals to adopt The Cares Family's intergenerational model and to apply it in their own communities. We did this by offering a learning curriculum, practical support, resources and learning spaces to help others embed our model where they are.

We scaled our model by sharing

From 2011 to 2020, we were asked scores of times to build a branch of The Cares Family in places across the UK.As much as we believed in the power of what we did, we also believed that local people, community organisations and institutions know their places best and understand much better how to make change happen where they are.

So, rather than creating Cares Family charities beyond our five places, we created Ripple Effect.

What did Ripple Effect do?

Ripple Effect shared the learning from 12 years of creating and running The Cares Family's four core programmes, which brought together some 30,000 people from different generations and backgrounds. The support we offered through Ripple Effect varied depending on the the needs of the local communities who wanted to adopt that model.

For those from larger institutions such as local authorities, universities, businesses, care homes and housing associations, we:

  • Offered an in-person programme of support to share our model and principles. We then worked with those institutions to help them adapt and adopt our ways of working so they met the needs of partners' local communities. Importantly, we went to places around the country, working with partners wherever they were (and using online technology to stay connected).
  • Shared templates and resources that we created through The Cares Family's 12 years of experience building intergenerational connection and belonging.
  • Continued to support partners through regular check-ins over 12-months, and connected partners with the wider Ripple Effect community to help everyone share learning across the UK.
  • Profiled partners' work online and shared their work with our networks.

For individuals or small community organisations we hosted Ripple Effect residentials bringing together individuals and community organisations for an immersive learning experience to help them adapt our model to work for their communities.

100% of partners ‘strongly agreed’ that as a result of taking part in Ripple Effect they felt more connected to other partners building intergenerational connection.

Want to find out more?

  • If you’re interested in finding out more about The Cares Family model, read Building Connection: Exploring What Works. The report outlines the ten techniques that we used to build meaningful connection between people from different generations and backgrounds.

Meet our Ripple Effect Partners

In 2022 and 2023, we worked with 11 fantastic local partners building connection in communities across the UK. Find out more about how we supported them to build intergenerational belonging:


Coalition of partners, York

York Cares and City of York Council brought together a coalition of partners in York in 2022 to connect organisations keen to bring their own version of The Cares Family to their city. The group were passionate about community building, with a wealth of experience in creating meaningful connections. In addition to outreach teams from the council and York Cares, members of York CVS, a local charity, universities and a faith group got involved. By the end of 2022, the team had run 10 Social Clubs and connected over 100 neighbours in York and they built on this success in 2023.

“That this is something that could really make a difference in York. There's a big generational disconnect and that needs to be addressed” – a member of the York coalition team piloting Ripple Effect

North Staffordshire

Coalition of partners, North Staffordshire

In 2018, partners from All the Small Things, the Beth Johnson Foundation, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council and VAST came together to make the area more socially connected. In June 2023, The Cares Family delivered Ripple Effect to the partnership, working through the possibilities of applying The Cares Family model in Stoke. BJF and VAST ran their own social activities by the end of 2023, embedding the principles of authenticity and reciprocity, and utilising The Cares’ Family’s Outreach Model.

‘What’s enriching about this is it’s challenging you to get out there doing something. I’ve learnt loads, the way it’s been structured over the three days has given us whole new framework and ideas to work with’ – Feedback from partner in North Staffordshire.


MacIntyre, Milton Keynes

With MacIntyre Milton Keynes, which empowers people with learning disabilities, Anita works with a group of people who are passionate about dance and want to help people to feel less isolated, healthier and to have fun.

Anita’s joined Ripple Effect to help develop and deliver their idea in a planned and strategic way, so they can bring people together successfully and sustainably.

Anita planned a ‘ChaCha Chat’ social whilst on the residential, which will involve professional dancers to offer sessions for the community, followed by snacks and chats. She ran her first successful ‘ChaCha Chat’ in August 2023.


ESTEEM, Shoreham-By-Sea

Emma works for ESTEEM and leads many of the charity’s programmes in the community. ESTEEM offers social, wellbeing, volunteering, and mentoring opportunities to young adults aged between 14-26.

The organisation was keen to support community integration by facilitating young adults to take the lead in developing projects they feel are important. Young adults have talked about working with the older generation and the importance of sharing knowledge and experience across intergenerational groups.

On the Ripple Effect residential, Emma started planning a ‘Coffee Lovers Club’ to take place in September 2023.


Community Peace Orchard, Coventry

Heather is from the The Peace Orchard, an outdoor orchard promoting eco arts and nature. It has a programme of activities and Peace Orchard wanted to develop this to support intergenerational groups.

Their plan was to take a more inclusive approach to their activities and actively target older people to act in a supportive/mentoring capacity. They recognised that a lot of good can come from older and younger people working together to shape a community and its direction, and they wanted to facilitate this.

Heather planned an Apple ‘pick and press’ social club while on the residential – a first of many activities for people of different generations to come together at the orchard.


The Village Hub, Plymouth

Jade works for The Village Hub, a place for people to ‘meet, create, care and grow.’ It advocates for socially-connected communities, believing in the power of turning disused spaces into community places that spill into streets, parks and hearts.

The Village Hub's mission was to build on existing community spirit, working with local people to bring a bit more colour into everyone’s lives. They work on the frontline providing opportunities that enable anyone in their community to connect through learning, signposting, cultural activities and having fun in a safe and caring environment.

On the residential, Jade put a plan together for The Village Hub’s first ‘Jamm Inn’ night, an intergenerational evening of playing and listening to music.


Black Mother's Together Group, Leicester

Meleta set up the Black Mothers Together Group in Leicester and is passionate about bringing her community together. Meleta has a wealth of experience working with mothers, families and the wider community through her work running a local ministry. She also had a background in nursing and is well-known in her community for bringing people together. She wanted to be part of Ripple Effect to connect with new partners and gain new ideas to help the Black Mothers Together Group bridge the generation gap even further by bringing older and younger mothers together in new ways.

Meleta ran a ‘Do Your T’ing’ inter-generational social in Leicester where people of different ages came together to share food and music on a Friday night at the African and Carribean Centre.


Walsall Housing Group, Wallsall

Nicola leads Kindness Champions, where three part time members of staff support people in Walsall who are lonely and isolated. The service was founded in the belief that bringing people together is intrinsic to creating social connection, and that kindness can cause a ripple of positive change in a community. They knew that bringing different generations together allows for a shared perspective, authentic connections and an understanding about different life experiences. Nicola loves uplifting people's strengths and utilising hobbies, interests and passions to promote journeys that build a more resilient communities.

On the Ripple Effect residential, Nicola put plans in place for a ‘Food for the Soul’ social club, where people from different ages and backgrounds would come together to bond and chat over a hot meal.


Wheely Tots, Tottenham

Nicolette works for Wheely Tots, a successful, community-led, charity based in Broadwater Farm, Tottenham. Wheely Tots is all about improving social integration and helping people feel more connected to each other and their places. They provide intergenerational projects so that different generations can participate in the sessions based around walking, cycling, Bushcraft and food. They were formed to create social change, improving social integration through age-friendly sport and physical activity. They promote healthy, confident, resilient communities; improving connections to each other and the outdoors.

On the residential, Nicolette planned Wheely Tots' first social club ‘Pitch-in Pizzas’, where people from different ages in the community would cook and eat pizzas together.


Community Waffle House CIC, Axminster

Simon works for The Waffle House, a non-profit café and community space with a menu centred around its Liège waffles. Their HQ is in Axminster, and they have a second site in Seaton. This is a young CIC trying to tackle loneliness and do whatever they can to bring the community together. In the last two years, Simon has gathered the VCSE sector together in his town, gained a good understanding of the assets in the wider community and developed projects designed to tackle loneliness.

On the residential, Simon explored ways to embed The Cares Family’s outreach strategies to increase and diversify attendance to his pre-existing ‘speed waffling’ social activity.


Sale West Big Local, Manchester

Ralph has over forty years' experience of working in the Sale West area. Over the last 10 years, Sale West Big Local has engaged with young people, families and older residents as individual groups with varying degrees of success. They have delivered one off intergenerational projects several times wanted to make these more sustainable. Ralph is the Chair of Sale West Big Local and he and the team are passionate about creating a fully inclusive community in Sale.

On the residential, Ralph planned an intergenerational ‘Snap n Chat’ social club. Attendees connected by taking photos around the local area whilst catching up.