Sharing success nationally

By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead

A group of over 50s from Torbay will be travelling to Sheffield next week to sing the praises of Ageing Well Torbay.

Eight people whose lives here have been touched by the Ageing Well Torbay programme will be presenting a workshop at a national conference that brings together lottery-funded projects from across the country.

And there is a lot to shout about, as we discovered when whittling down to just 45 minutes the successes (and indeed some less successful schemes) that we wanted to talk about from the last four years.

One of the joys of the Ageing Well projects – 14 of which have been running across the country – is that each learns from the other, so that mistakes made in one area are not repeated in another.

Here in the Bay, we have had more successes than failures, but that is not to say that we have not learned a lot along the way.  Our day to day work combating loneliness and isolation in the over 50s is innovatory, and already some of the things achieved here are being introduced elsewhere.

Some are big scale, but much of what we do is low level – sowing the seeds to allow others to pick up where we leave off, ensuring the continued support of communities along after Ageing Well has been and gone.

Take the walking group that has been running for three years in Babbacombe, Torquay. It came out of a simple chat with a community builder about the number of people that were stuck in their homes every evening.

The question was, how do you get people out and about, particularly during the summer months? The answer was an evening stroll, twice a month, from April until September – geared for all, but mainly aimed at the social aspect and the friendships forged.

It works a treat, and the group is now run by the participants, one of whom wrote: “I hadn’t had an evening out since the year 2,000, but when I heard Ageing Well had arranged evening walks for lonely people, I dashed off to the rendezvous as if jet-propelled. The friendships quickly made on these walks were rewarding and beneficial – far better than being home alone watching the TV.”

There’s a similar story from Paignton, where Manor Mates was started. Again, the spark was a community builder, but it quickly grew.

In Brixham, Torquay and Paignton, events and gatherings are taking place every day – many started with the help of Ageing Well, but long since taken over by enthusiastic volunteers. There are men in sheds, craft and creative groups, singing groups, dancing groups and dozens of exercise groups, covering everything from chair-based to open-air yoga.

Once again, the flashmobbers are practising another dance routine. This year they are looking forward to meeting more flashmobbers to dance at Torbay Carnival in Paignton, on Wednesday 31st July.

Ageing Well has even provided the opportunity for several people to learn the ins and outs of radio, and several have gone on to become presenters on Riviera FM, which is due to take to the FM airways in the next few months.

There is always something going on, and among the big boasts being made at the national conference next week, will be the Positive Ageing Charter, and the formation of the Torbay Over 50’s Assembly, due to hold its first formal meetings later this year.

It is good to be able to go to the conference with an abundance of good news stories from Torbay, that we can share. It makes us all at Ageing Well Torbay very proud.

Share in the success and get involved in any of the above and much more by contacting us at ageingwell@torbaycdt.org.uk or on 01803 212638.

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