Food for Thought, Participation Events

By Matt Saunders, Marketing and Communications Apprentice

Over the last few weeks, Ageing Well Torbay have been holding participation events in Paignton, Torquay and Brixham. These events have been held with the purpose of meeting with anyone in Torbay over the age of fifty, to hear first-hand what those you thought would make ageing well in Torbay a better experience. So far we’ve had the opportunity to meet with over 200 people, who could give us an insight into the changes we need to make.

At each of these events, we give everybody a series of questions on various aspects of growing older in Torbay, such as “What would age-friendly housing mean to you?” “What would help you to fulfil your personal aspirations?” and “What would help you to feel connected to your friends and family?” These events have also worked as an opportunity for anyone attending to make new friends and connections, as we’ve already witnessed a lot of new bonds being forged over common interests. This has been a great thing to witness, as it helps the Ageing Well programme get closer to its ultimate aim of combating isolation amongst the 50+ community. Plus free lunches are provided for all attending as well, so there’s that to enjoy as well (another incentive, people!)
These participation events have all been organised by Jess Slade (Ageing Well Torbay’s Participation Development Officer) and our Community Builders. They’ve ensured that we can reach out to members of each neighbourhood in Torbay, to enrich and support the ageing process with all our neighbours. Jess, the Community Builders, Volunteers and other members of the Ageing Well team have acted as facilitators at these events, getting into groups with anyone attending, to ask the previously mentioned questions, and lead discussions on the pros and cons of a later life here in Torbay. The responses are collected on post-it notes, so that either the attendees or facilitators can write their responses down, to be later typed up in a computer word document.
Facilitating is a really intriguing and integral part of this process, as we are carrying your thoughts, your voices, on to what’ll happen in the future with the project (obviously the attendees are the most crucial, most essential part of these events, as you’re who our project is about and for!). I facilitated with a group at Hookhills community centre, and it truly was a pleasure to find out more about you, to get to hear your perspectives on life in Torbay, and hold these discussions with you, especially when we had any answers that helped broaden our own world views. I recall the overall impression being that a major issue for you was matters concerning communication and awareness; where to find out what events were on, who could you contact in certain situations, why you’d like to help solve these issues for not only yourselves, but for friends, family and neighbours too.
Ageing Well Torbay participation events food for thought lupton house
I’ve been to four of these events so far; we had one at The Old Manor Inn in Paignton, one at Great Parks Community Centre (also in Paignton), Hookhills Community Centre (Paignton, again) and another at Lupton House in Brixham. All four events had large turn-outs of 20+ people!  It’s been so good to see these events are well attended, as it hopefully means that we can get a response that truly represents the majority of you who are aged 50+. If you haven’t attended a participation event yet, don’t worry! We still have a few left to go! You can email Jess at for more info, or keep an eye out for our
AGeing Well torbay food for thought participation events a postcard for your thoughts
“A Postcard for your Thoughts” in a variety of places around Torbay. They’re a freepost opportunity for you to tell us what you’d like to see change in Torbay!