18 months of Ageing Well Torbay left to go

By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead

We are now just 18 months away from the end of the Ageing Well programme and it is time to take stock – begin to review what we have done and work on making sure the work we have started continues.

There has been some amazing learning as we concentrated our efforts on finding ways of overcoming loneliness and isolation in over 50-year-olds as one of 14 programmes around the country all funded by the National Lottery to the tune of, around £75 million.

Thankfully the vast majority of projects we have worked on with the help of delivery partners across the Bay have been successful and what we have learned has helped people not just here, but in partner projects across the England.

What we need to concentrate on now as enter the last year-and-a-half of the Ageing Well Torbay is what others can continue to deliver to ensure that we do not go back to where we were when we started.

We are lucky in as much as the organisation that has monitored and sustained us every step of the way, the Torbay Community Development Trust, will continue its work and will seek to help others to pick up the work that we have started.

At the core of nearly everything we have done have been the community builders – a team that covers every ward in the Bay whose job it is to get under the skin of a community to learn everything about it and to work with everyone to ensure that connections within it are built and maintained.

We also helped launch the Age UK Torbay and Brixham Does Care wellbeing coordinators whose work we already know will continue with funding from the NHS having proved their work repeatedly.

It is difficult to put a value on the work done by wellbeing coordinators not just from an individual’s point of view, but in monetary terms in savings to the authorities as the number of visits to the doctors tumbled and hospital attendances were reduced considerably.

Along the way we have supported schemes such as My Support Broker who worked with individuals, family, carers, friends and loved ones to source, plan and manage care and support.

We worked with Mencap to deliver a project that concentrated on families in Torbay that included a person with a learning disability and where at least one of the immediate family members was over the age of 50.

The British Red Cross set up the Torbay Navigators that helped people over the age of 50 who were going through a major change or transition in their lives including bereavement, retirement, job losses, divorce and health changes.

Circles of Support was aimed at carers over the age of 50 delivered by Carers Aid Torbay who helped develop a personal support network to help people achieve goals and aspirations that otherwise would not have been available to them.

More recently we have helped set up the FAIR project – Financial Advice, Information & Resilience – which is an ongoing project that has already helped a great people with financial issues.

FAIR provides support and advice that ranges from form filling, accessing information online, understanding benefits and how to get the best consumer deals with utilities.

We have also worked with Healthwatch who have delivered and continue to deliver a project that helps people get online to access health services such as doctors’ appointments and repeat prescriptions.

A few months ago we helped launch Staying Put which helps people to stay in their own homes for longer through providing practical help such as minor jobs around the home and advice on personal rights and even help with cooking and writing recipes.

In addition, we have helped set up many, many groups, organisations and even one-off events to make sure everyone has access to something they love to do from model railways to yoga to dancing.

All of the above is just a flavour of what has gone on over the last few years and most will continue long after we have gone, an achievement that we are all proud of here at Ageing Well Torbay.

To get an idea of what is going on in your neighbourhood then you couldn’t do better than to come along to another of our innovations, the Ageing Well Festival which will showcase the best of the offer at the Riviera Centre in Torquay on Saturday, October 19th from 10am until 5pm.

For more details on any of the above email: ageingwell@torbaycdt.org.uk or call 01803 212638.