By Sophia Sheridan, Communications Lead for Ageing Well Torbay
The Ageing Well, ‘Food for Thought’ participation events have finally come to an end, which brings a mixed bag of sadness and happiness. Sad on the one hand that I won’t be meeting as many people over the next couple of weeks but happy that I have met the people that I have done, and can now work with the rest of the team on making people’s ideas and aspirations reality.
When we first started this run back in November of last year, we really had no idea who we would meet or what we would hear, all we knew was that we had to meet as many people as we could and gather as broad a range of opinions as possible. So with that as our primary mission Jess Slade the Participation Officer for Ageing Well set about booking locations across Brixham, Paignton and Torquay. After 20 events in community centres, halls (large and small), churches, pubs, hotels and sheltered accommodation it feels as if we have achieved our mission.
There have been many highlights over the last few months, in particular talking with a man in his 90s called Bill, who had never been on the internet, but who desperately wanted the number of a department store so he could get a new chess set. Being able to get him online for the first time and hearing his reaction when the phone read out the number of the store was a moment I don’t think I will ever forget.
There have been so many other stories too, stories of great courage, from dealing with the black hole of loss of a loved one, to fighting in a war in foreign lands far away from home. Stories of love and wooing that certain someone when you have been out of the dating game for a while. Stories of hope, stories of friendship, stories of kindness and the list goes on…
As you would expect many themes came up time and time again; in particular good affordable and accessible transport, as well as having things to do, and ways to interact with younger generations.
After we have collected all of the data and logged it, we will make a report detailing the findings, this will of course be made publically available. We will also publish highlights from the events in our next newsletter and share via all of our websites and social media. We can also supply all info in large print or audio.
In some of the areas we have visited it feels as if there is a great deal of myth and legend regarding the Ageing Well project, particularly in regards to what a community builder actually is, as well as what we have and in some cases haven’t been spending the Big Lottery funding on. If you have any questions like this, or indeed anything else, we are always very happy to answer them.
If you haven’t had a chance to share your views with the team, then the good news is that you have until the 27th February to do so! Freepost postcards can be found in all of Torbay’s libraries, alternatively you can contact the team by telephone, email or in person at our Temperance Street office. Don’t lose your chance to shape the next two years of focus for Ageing Well Torbay.
Finally I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the people who attended the events, to the many volunteers who helped us run the events and to everyone else who has taken the time to send us a feedback postcard or completed the online survey.