The Forgotten Generation: Children in West Sussex have no knowledge of grandparents' skills

Children from across West Sussex have no knowledge or interest in what their grandparents did for a living, or what they used to do before they retired, according to the results of a nationwide survey.

Thursday, 8th February 2018, 11:06 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:20 am
The forgotten generation

A poll of 1,000 young people aged five to 18 has revealed almost half of all those in West Sussex have never spoken to their grandparents about their proudest achievements, with the majority saying they’d simply never thought to ask them.

A total of 41 per cent admitted they didn’t know whether their grandparents have any special skills or talents, while 42 per cent of the children polled across West Sussex said they had no idea what their grandparents had done for a career.

The research, which was carried out by retirement housebuilder, McCarthy & Stone, revealed that in West Sussex, teenagers were the least likely to have talked to their grandparents about their history, or what they were like in their youth.

Just 16 per cent of the five to 18 year olds polled from the region said hey would spend time with their grandparents to find out more about them.

This is despite the fact grandparents live just 15 minutes away for 31 per cent of children in West Sussex and the majority of children actually see their grandparents quite regularly.

The regional survey results showed that more than a third of children see their grandparents every week and just over 31 per cent speak to them weekly, while 18% see their grandparents daily.

Nevertheless, it might not be the pleasure of their company they are after.

More than one in 10 children in West Sussex confessed they are more likely to see their grandparents to get pocket money from them, while more than four in 10 bow to pressure from mum and dad, and see their gran and grandad because their parents want them to.

Fewer than one in five of those polled in West Sussex said their grandparent was inspirational.

A massive 43 per cent are most likely to look up to their mum, and dad comes a close second with 31 per cent, while just 5 per cent of children in the region look up to a grandparent.

However, according to the poll, the younger generation still has a lot of love for its elders.

Almost 60 per cent in West Sussex described their grandparents as loving, friendly or kind; with almost half saying they were funny and 32 per cent calling them clever.

It seems older definitely means wiser, with 64 per cent saying their grandparent was good at giving advice, and 61 per cent saying they were a good listener.

Georgina Akers, Regional Sales and Marketing Director for McCarthy and Stone South East, said: “We find it really surprising that the younger generation is not benefitting from the knowledge and capabilities of their grandparents.

“We know this generation have lived full lives with heroic tales to tell and so much to offer, but how many of us have actually thought to ask these questions of our older family members?

“We want to shout about the amazing feats retirees have achieved in their lifetime and put the spotlight on the wonderfully colourful lives of today’s older people.

“We are calling on parents and children in West Sussex to talk to their grandparents, find out what they have done in their lives – and continue to do – and tell us all about it so we can give them the credit they deserve.”

McCarthy & Stone’s survey was commissioned to support the launch of the housebuilder’s search for the Inspirational Generation – a national competition which aims to put the spotlight on the lives of older people, their achievements, and the ways in which they inspire the younger generation.

TV and radio personality, Gloria Hunniford, who along with her husband, have ten grandchildren between them, is lending her support to McCarthy & Stone’s Inspirational Generation campaign.

She said: “I absolutely love being a grandparent, and I am incredibly lucky to have family who are forever asking lots of questions – both about my past and the things I’m up to now.

“I love watching their reactions when I tell them stories going back to my youth. It really is lovely to take them with me down memory lane from time to time.”

“I would urge people of all generations to get talking. Next time you see your grandparents, ask them about their past and what they got up in their younger days.

“I’m pretty sure they will have a fascinating and inspiring story to tell, and they will be thrilled to be able to share it with you. And, I’m sure you’ll be equally thrilled to nominate them for an inspirational award!”

McCarthy & Stone is now appealing for people over 60 and all those who know an unsung hero to enter the Inspirational Generation search, either online at website, or by visiting their nearest McCarthy & Stone development.

The deadline for entries is 1st April 2018 and the top prize is a cheque for £2,000.