Children in South East have no knowledge of grandparents’ skills, says study


Children in the South East 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 new survey.

A poll of 1,000 young people aged five to 18 has revealed almost half (48%) of those polled in the South East have never spoken to their grandparents about their proudest achievements, with the majority (54%) reasoning they had simply never thought to ask them.

More than a third (41%) admitted they did not know whether their grandparents have any special skills or talents, while more than a third (42%) of the under nine’s polled in the South East 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 31% of grandparents live just 15 minutes away and the majority of children actually see their grandparents quite regularly.

More than half of children see their grandparents every week (55%) and 49% speak to them weekly, while 21% see their grandparents daily.

Less than one in five said their grandparent was inspirational – 43% of the children polled in South East most look up to their mum. Dad comes second with 31%, while just 5% look up to a grandparent.

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

More than half described their grandparents as loving, friendly or kind, with 64% saying their grandparent was good at giving advice, and the same number saying they were a good listener (61%).

Geoff Bates, head of brand and communications for McCarthy & Stone, 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 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.”

TV and radio personality, Gloria Hunniford, who along with her husband, have 10 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 a 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.”

Are you, or do you someone that is, an inspirational older person? McCarthy & Stone has launched a national search to find the unsung heroes of the baby boomer generation in a bit to honour their achievements.

The top prize is a cheque for £2,000.

Find out more at