It’s our ethos at Ageing Well Torbay that the ideas you share with us directly shape the future focus of our Big Lottery funded programme, which aims to tackle loneliness and isolation in people over the age of 50.
With this approach, we launched our Food for Thought consultations last year and heard from many over 50s in Torbay. The feedback we received highlighted a number of issues that people thought needed tackling, one of which shaped our next project; the Big Pot Commission.
Through Food for Thought, older people told us that they wanted easy access to advice, information and support, particularly around entitlements, form-filling, finance and advocacy. Many people said that they are worried about their incomes reducing in old age especially after bereavement or other life events e.g. retirement, redundancy, ill health, disability and the growing cost of health and care. We wanted to make sure older people got the services that they wanted rather than the services ‘we’ think they needed.
With that in mind, we launched the Big Pot Commission, where a £175k pot was allocated to fund a partnership of local organisations who would come together to form a project which would reduce financial hardship, as well as enable people to know where and how to find support and information.
A collaborative workshop was set up where organisations interested in applying came together with people in later life to develop what the service could provide and to look at how the new project would be accessible in neighbourhoods across Torbay.
Ageing Well Torbay then went out to tender and a partnership of local organisations came together, applied for funding and were successful in a collaborative application to run a finance and advice service.
The new service, FAIR (Financial Advice, Information and Resilience) will soon be launching on Friday, 4 May with local community launches soon taking place in Paignton, Brixham and Torquay. The new support and advice service will range from form filling, accessing information online, understanding benefits, including how you could apply, and how to get the best consumer deals, such as utilities.
FAIR is being delivered through a partnership of eleven local voluntary sector providers led by Citizens Advice Torbay. The partners are: Age UK Torbay, Brixham Does Care, Homemaker South West, Healthwatch Torbay, Mencap, Sanctuary Housing, Torbay Advice Network, YES Brixham Limited, VisualEyes Torbay – formerly Brixham Blind Club and the Crafty Fox Café ‘n’ Hub.
Older people also told us that they wanted to be part of the solution and that they had a wide range of transferable skills which would enable them to help others. The project is therefore recruiting volunteers who will be trained in providing a range of support in their local communities.
If you would like to find out more about FAIR, contact Project Co-ordinator, Susan Bottomley on 07706 714366 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.