Forage Network Newsletters

ForAge partners will produce regular newsletters throughout the lifetime of the project. These newsletters provide insights into the development of the ForAge Network and give information about specific aspects of the team's work.

Below is a list of the English language versions of the newsletters, with summaries of contents and links to the full PDF documents which also contain photographs and illustrations. These are also available in all the languages of the partnership from the partners' home pages.


Newsletter #                        

Date of publication     

Title of newsletter

Summary of newsletter contents


Newsletter 11

August 2014

Intergenerational learning: some questions arising from the GATE learning partnership

Reflecting on the GATE (Generations Ageing Together in Europe) project, 2012-2014, highlighting its conclusions, and the questions that it raised.


Newsletter 10

June 2014

Intergenerational learning

Summarising intergenerational learning as an emerging interdisciplinary area of study and policy. This newsletter covers: the importance of intergenerational learning, categories of intergenerational practice, and European funding for intergenerational learning.


Newsletter 9

March 2014

The Future of Learning for Older People in Europe: Learning from Experience. The 2nd ForAge Pan-European Conference - A Review

A review of the second international ForAge pan-European conference, held in Budapest, Hungary, from 30 September to 1 October 2013.


Newsletter 8

February 2014

Later-life Learning for Older People from Minority Ethnic, Migrant, Refugee and Roma Communities

Highlighting key issues relating to engaging older people from minority ethnic, migrant, refugee and Roma communities in learning.


Newsletter 7

November 2013

ForAge – 1st annual report

Reporting on the progress, actiivities, achievements and difficulties of the ForAge project so far.


Newsletter 6

June 2013

The European Year 2012 - a review

Review of the achievements of the 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations and the policy initiatives it launched.


Newsletter 5

May 2013

Let's discuss: involving stakeholders, gender issues, giving voice

Highlighting 3 key issues for discussion that the ForAge partners feel are topical and relevant: 1) involving stakeholders in later life learning; 2) gender issues in learning; 3) giving older people a voice through learning.


Newsletter 4

January 2013

Making use of the new ForAge web portal

Showcasing the ForAge web portal, which includes the ForAge database, discussion forum and partner web sites.


Newsletter 3

November 2012

A society for all ages: Learning to LIVE and learning for LIFE - first ForAge international conference

Reporting on the first ForAge Conference, held in Limassol 8-9 October 2012, organised by the Cypriot Adult Education Association (CAEA).


Newsletter 2

August 2012

Interview with Jim Soulsby, ForAge Network Facilitator

Interview with ForAge Network Facilitator, discussing the orgins of ForAge and plans for the project.


Newsletter 1

April 2012

New European project will gather information and create platform to exchange knowledge and inform best practice for later-life learning

Introducing ForAge and the project partners. A report on the kick-off meeting held in at the University of Leicester, February 2012.





NEWSLETTER 4 - January 2013

 Making use of the new ForAge web portal 

The ForAge web portal has been set up to be the main means for communication and dissemination by the project. In addition, another function of the web pages is to facilitate storing and distributing project materials and communication among the partners. The main aim of the web portal is to enable interactive communication with different target groups in the field of learning in later life. To achieve this, the web pages are divided into two independent sections. The first is focused on key tasks, which arise from the operation and activities of the project. The second section is the database and this is designed to be sustainable and to continue after the project funding comes to an end.

What you will find at the ForAge web portal

The ForAge web portal offers to everyone who is interested structured information about current levels of knowledge, cognition and understanding about the problems and solutions of later-life learning. ForAge is a project for everybody and for all. Everyone can find the information they require and all can have benefit from it. The ForAge web portal has been created to collect valuable and varied, and often fragmented, data and to provide a means for the public to find and use them. The web portal is also intended to raise awareness of the issues, to help convince people about the value of later-life learning and to assist in increasing the self-confidence of older people to take part in learning.

Target groups

The main target groups for the project include older people and later-life learners, volunteers and organisations, teachers, managers and planners of adult education, researchers, trade unions, and civil servants, politicians and policy makers. Different target groups have their own colour coding in the database section to make the search for appropriate information more straightforward.


The most significant part of the web portal is the database. This includes selected and structured data from many sources, such as policy papers, research materials, conference contributions, special publications, useful links, newsletters from other projects, and much other information. This section is expected to be functional and viable after the lifetime of the ForAge project. 


Special care was given to the design of the communication instruments inside the ForAge web portal. One feature is the ForAge discussion forum which is intended to promote communication amongst all potential users. The forum is being managed by members of all the partner countries. Another dimension is the search engine for retrieving data within and beyond the site. The web portal is also designed to assist the management of the project. In the members’ area, there are means for structuring and storing project data and documents and updates. This area facilitates the collection and distribution of project information between the different project partners.

National variations and flexibility

The ForAge project is multilingual. The web portal exists in all language variations of the partners. The portal also enables individual customisation of toolbar titles and their content for each partner. 

                                    NEWSLETTER 3 - November 2013


Learning to LIVE and learning for LIFE

The 2012 ForAge Conference was held in Limassol, organised by the Cypriot Adult Education Association (CAEA) on the 8-9th October. A large gathering heard lively and informative presentations about the latest national and European developments in later-life learning.  There were also opportunities for questions and discussion in workshops.

Those attending the conference were welcomed by the President of CAEA, and chairman of the organising committee, Klitos Symeonides and by Professor John Benyon, University of Leicester, UK, from the ForAge Network. There was also an upbeat message read out from the Minister of Education and Culture, Republic of Cyprus, Mr. George Demosthenous.

The opening ceremony included a most impressive dance show by a group of deaf people who are lifelong learners in the adult education centres in Cyprus.

It’s never too late to learn

The opening key-note speech was made by Martina Ni Cheallaigh from the Adult Education and Grundtvig section of the European Commission, DG Education and Culture. Speaking on the theme ‘It’s never too late to learn’, she provided an overview of several EU programmes, including Grundtvig, and also European actions such as the European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity. Ms Cheallaigh highlighted various positive effects of these initiatives.

She was followed by Dr Katerina Popovic, vice-president of the European Association for Adult Education (EAEA), who gave an interesting and stimulating presentation on the EAEA policy debate on Active Ageing through Adult Learning, which had taken place in Brussels, on 27 September 2012.


Everyone is realising a unique hidden programme, not in the space, but in the time.

The first morning of the conference ended with a presentation by Jumbo Klercq, director of the Elephant in Diversity in the Netherlands, and member of the organising committee. He provided a context for later-life learning and presented three future scenarios for a Society for all Ages:

  1. Big Competition between education providers, more independent trainers and more voluntary staff.
  2. Edumade: positive results of education on the market, tailor-made, more stakeholders, more investments in learning environments.
  3. Back To The State: more influence and interventions by the governments, more focus on employability, greater obligation to show a social return on investment.


The world of the opportunities exists not in the space, but in the dimension of the time – it is a new chapter in the story about human knowledge.

Sharing knowledge and experience

After lunch, the conference started with workshops sessions on three themes:

  • Involving more stakeholders in later-life learning.
  • Gender issues: learning for men and women.
  • Giving older people a voice through learning.

The workshops were followed by a plenary session with feedback from the workshops, chaired by Jim Soulsby, facilitator of the ForAge Network. There was then discussion on the three themes and their context, topicality, relevance and relationship to ForAge. This was a good opportunity for those present to share and exchange their own knowledge and experience.

The conference then heard three presentations about national initiatives. Dr Alexis Kokkos outlined the Greek adult education system, looking at its current position and recent innovative approaches.

Dr Simoni Symeonidou, Lecturer at the University of Cyprus, considered theories about a Society for all Ages and the application of key concepts from disability studies. Dr Katerina Popovic, President of the Serbian Adult Education Society, outlined the remarkable results of a photography competition in Serbia, entitled the ‘Golden Age of Life’.

These three presentations paid particular attention to the power and meaning of the language of images, and made use of the ideas of Paulo Freire on popular and informal education. Conference participants were invited to express their comments about their experiences in European projects around later life and intergenerational learning. These were considered by an expert panel. The first day ended with a Cypriot night filled with dance and music.

Active ageing and solidarity between generations

The second day started with presentations about European programmes, networks and platforms. Julie Melville, from the Beth Johnson Foundation and Centre for Intergenerational Practice in the United Kingdom, outlined the European Map of Intergenerational Learning Network (EMIL).

Jim Soulsby and Jumbo Klercq gave a presentation about the training course on Learning for Later Life which they have run for five years in Cyprus as part of the Grundtvig and Comenius training catalogue.

The conference then broke into smaller discussion groups to consider key ForAge topics such as effective networking, funding issues, and sharing knowledge. This was another chance for participants to learn from each other’s experiences.

In the afternoon Marina Efthymiadou, from the Social Welfare Services of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, explained the policies in Cyprus for Active Ageing and Solidarity among Generations.

Dr Nataša Urbancikova, of the Technical University of Kosice, outlined a project called the Open Inn 2.0: A Knowledge Generating House and e-Assessment Model and Iveta Orbanova presented the SIGOLD project, turning the silver challenge for older workers into ‘the golden opportunity’.

Following detailed questions and discussion, Jumbo Klercq from the Netherlands spoke on Older People’s Economic Wellbeing: Learning for Capacity, Capability and Citizenship. The conference ended with a final feedback session which reported the key findings from the working groups followed by a final expert panel session.

Fascinating and useful information

The general view of those present was that the conference was a great success and this was borne out by subsequent analysis of the participants’ evaluation forms. During the two days, the conference attendees received a great deal of fascinating and useful information about how to move towards a society for all ages. There was also plenty of time for questions and discussion.

The ForAge project wishes to thank all the speakers at the event and the participants who came from various parts of Europe.  In particular, ForAge would like to thank the organising committee especially Klitos Symeonides, Jumbo Klercq and Jim Soulsby. There is already an air of anticipation about the 2103 ForAge conference which will be held in Hungary on 30 September and 1 October.

19-21 November 2012, Brussels, Belgium

"One Step Up in later life – learning for active ageing and intergenerational solidarity”, organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture

The focus of the conference (19-21 November 2012) was on developing ideas and orientations for European cooperation in adult learning related to active ageing and intergenerational learning policies, based on an analysis of policy needs and priorities in this area. The conference gathered around 200 participants with a strong representation from governmental authorities. The conference resulted in a conference memorandum , which summarises the key messages from the conference workshops.

NEWSLETTER 2 - August 2012

Interview with Jim Soulsby (University of Leicester, UK), ForAge Network Facilitator

Anna: Jim, what was the genesis of ForAge?

Jim: I have worked in this area for over 25 years and in that time I have observed so many wonderful, inventive and fascinating learning programmes involving older people. It is impossible to keep them all in your head! I believed that other people should know about the work being undertaken, how it happened, what were the difficulties and successes, and how older people were involved in making it all happen. Obviously over the years things repeated themselves and I always thought it a shame that there was no way of gathering together all these experiences so we could use them to help with future developments, not only in anticipating or overcoming difficulties, but in utilising all that expertise to assist. I have always believed that we would be more successful and able to sustain what we do if we could collaborate better with others.

Whilst I was at the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) in England working on "Older and Bolder" I tried to develop a database of (good) practice to better record all that I and my colleagues observed.I attempted to launch this database across the membership of the European Age Platform. My participation in numerous European programmes, conferences and exchanges had brought to my attention lots of educational activities right across Europe. In recent years, through seeking the advice of all those European partners and collaborating with others in a Grundtvig training programme, I came to realise that there was an opportunity to try to bring together all of this magnificent work over recent years. Thus, ForAge was born.

Anna: What do you want ForAge to achieve during the project lifetime?

Jim: My main dream is that ForAge will continue after three years, that we will have created an Internet-based facility for sharing information that is accessible to all and is dependable – a sort of Google for later-life learning in Europe. So over the next three years we have to make ourselves known, and we have to increase the number of countries engaged. We need to see how we can sustain the work and obviously deliver on all the things we said we would do.

Anna: Where would you like ForAge to be in three years’ time?

Jim: I think I may have already answered that, but in three years’ time we need to show the number of countries we work with as associate partners, the range of partners, the very varied enquiries we deal with, the debates we have created and the results of issues we have pursued. Our achievements will not only be numerical – they will be quantitative but also qualitative. That will include being able to prove our influence – our role must be more than reactive but proactive – anticipating issues, creating debate, asking questions, encouraging research, seeking data and relevant statistics.

Anna: How should our network perform in order to make us more visible and more efficient?

Jim: We are unique, and we must remain unique. We have to show that we wish to share and collaborate. We must show other networks, partnerships and projects that we are not competition but that we wish to assist in dissemination and in making an impact. We must be seen as complementary and also as an agency that can bring people, projects, sectors, disciplines and countries together. And of course we must appear essential – that the world cannot do without us!

Our main tool will be the website but we will also need to draw in our own networks, contacts, policy makers, funders, educators and relevant others. We must think of ForAge in all our work, and not just when we feel we need to promote the project or to undertake our various tasks in the work packages.

Anna: Thank you very much Jim.

NEWSLETTER 1 - April 2012

New European project will gather information and create platform to exchange knowledge and inform best practice for later-life learning.

What is ForAge?

The project is a European multi-lateral network which has the central aim of promoting and communicating the experiences of lifelong learning for older people to create higher standards of practice throughout Europe. Since the first European Year of Older People and Intergenerational Solidarity in 1993 there have been many pan-European exchanges, projects, training events, seminars, programmes and networks concerned with learning in later life. The numbers increased significantly with the Grundtvig programme proving impetus and funding for imaginative and innovative work across all of Europe. ForAge is designed to make wider and better use of all these rich experiences, building upon them, sharing information, analysing and assessing the value and impact on education and ageing policies, disseminating research evidence, and creating networks to do all this.

The Partnership:

1. University of Leicester, Leicester, UK

2. bia-net, Graz, Austria

3. Cyprus Adult Education Association, Cyprus

4. Finnish Adult Education Association, Helsinki, Finland

5. 50plus Hellas, Athens, Greece

6. Trebag Property & Management Ltd, Budapest, Hungary

7. Lunaria, Rome, Italy

8. The Elephant Learning in Diversity BV, Nederland

9. PRO-MED sp. z o. o., Gdansk, Poland

10. AidLearn, Lisbon, Portugal

11. IMBD, Brno, Czech Republic

12. EUROED Association, Bucharest, Romania

13. Association for Education & Ageing – AEA, UK

14. Bratislava University, Bratislava, Slovakia

15. MERIG, Graz, Austria

16. The Slovenian Third Age University, Ljubljana, Slovenia

17. Cordoba University, Cordoba, Spain

18. Age Action Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

Kick off Meeting in Leicester

The ForAge project is co-ordinated by the University of Leicester’s Institute of Lifelong Learning, which has established an international reputation for work in the field of older people and lifelong learning, and is in partnership with the UK’s Association for Education and Ageing. The Leicester team is led by Jim Soulsby as ForAge Network Facilitator.

The Lord Mayor of Leicester, Robert Wann, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, Professor Sir Robert Burgess, attended the official launch of ForAge at the University of Leicester on Wednesday 8 February 2012.

Professor John Benyon, from the Institute of Lifelong Learning at the University of Leicester, is a member of the ForAge team. Speaking at the official launch, he said:

"There is a huge demand for education from people over 50, but recent policies from many European governments and agencies appear to have downgraded later-life learning and there are now fewer courses for older people."

"I will go to my grave saying it is good to learn for the sake of it. Education for education’s sake is a good thing – it enriches the lives of individuals and communities. We hope that ForAge will help to promote learning for the benefit of older people and our wider European society."

Associate Partner Newsletters

BAGSO (Germany)

Naschriften 2 (2) 2012, pp. 42-43. Introductory article on ForAge Project

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