Ageing Better in Camden (ABC) has come a long way in the last four years. Our delivery partnership has grown from a small circle of six organisations and a handful of local older people to now funding and working together with 30 community organisations reaching 7,000 older people in Camden in order to tackle social isolation and loneliness among older people.
Our latest impact report aims to demonstrate the success of the partnership since 2015 when the £4.5 million programme was established as part of Ageing Better, set up by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
Working alongside our 30 current community partners we have:
- Connected with 7,000 older people in Camden, 29% of whom say they feel very lonely – which is 15% higher than you would find in the overall Camden population of older people
- Run, on average, 194 local activities for older people per month, with over 3,000 attendances
What we are learning at Ageing Better in Camden
One of the main reasons we have reached 7,000 older people and counting, is that we have had the opportunity to test and learn different approaches to our work and put the learning we have gathered into action.
Our Outreach Team is direct evidence of the programme putting learning into practice. Initially we funded local pharmacies to find the people ‘no one knows’ – a target group when it comes to being lonely, but very difficult to find. Pharmacies were seen as safe, health-focussed spaces used by everyone and would be a good place to meet people and offer support. However, we discovered over time that this approach was not effective and engagement was extremely low (you can read the full breakdown of the pharmacy work on the ABC website). Since February 2018 the newly developed Outreach Team have engaged with 2,995 older people through door knocking, pop-up events and street outreach. We have written two learning reports on the work they do out in the street and specifically with older men, which you can read on the ABC website.
We have also learned how crucial a warm welcome is for older people when they do decide to attend an activity, and hope to develop an approach that will last on after the programme finishes in 2021. Going to an ABC activity isn’t just about learning yoga, chess or to cook, but crucially, to build ties to your local community that are strong enough to support you when faced with the challenges of ageing. By making sure older people feel welcome, safe and develop a sense of belonging in a group, we are ensuring that people have a community around them to rely on when they need it as well as tapping into all the skills the older generation can offer.
We hope that through the findings of this work we will be able to further embed the benefits of programme in Camden and create a lasting legacy for older people in the borough.
To find out more about the work of Ageing Better in Camden, head to their website.