Page last updated at 01:19 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 02:19 UK

Britons socialise across age gap

Men playing a computer game
Older people may have a youthful outlook which is also reflected socially

Most Britons socialise outside their own age group, according to a survey.

Some 86% have friends of different ages and 69% said they have things in common with people of other generations, the Full of Life campaign study suggests.

A spokesman for the government-backed campaign described the findings as showing that "age is not an issue when making friends",

The study was based on interviews with 1,003 people aged 15 and over conducted by BMRB between 10 and 16 July.

The Full of Life campaign is a government initiative to celebrate the role that older people play in society.

The study suggested that young people have the broadest social circles with two thirds (67%) of 15 to 25-year-olds regularly spending time with those older or younger than them.

This was higher than any other age group.

And nearly two thirds - 63% - rejected the idea that they did not have things in common with people of other ages.

Negative, ageist stereotypes often disappear when different generations come together and learn to understand and appreciate each other
Gordon Lishman
Age Concern

Meanwhile, both the Prince's Trust and Age Concern agreed with the notion that ties between the generations were stronger than many people thought.

The study found that half of over-65s regularly socialise with people older or younger than them - and that only 5% of British people are not on first-name terms with the people next door.

When asked why this was the case, 55% of those questioned said they wanted to feel part of their communities.

Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Prince's Trust, said: "Thousands of young people on Prince's Trust schemes support their community every year, with many actively volunteering to help older age groups."

Meanwhile, Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: "Negative, ageist stereotypes often disappear when different generations come together and learn to understand and appreciate each other.

"Breaking down barriers in this way undoubtedly lays the ground for building stronger communities."

Pensions Minister Mike O'Brien said people of all ages wanted to "know the people who live around them and to feel part of a community and enjoy socialising and supporting each other".


SEE ALSO
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