Ageing Better was originally a six-year (2015-2021), £78 million programme set up by The National Lottery Community Fund to improve the lives of people aged over 50 by addressing loneliness and developing creative ways they can be actively involved in their local communities.
Almost 150,000 people have been supported through Ageing Better across 14 locations, from Torbay to Middlesbrough and the Isle of Wight to East Lindsey with 60% feeling less lonely and a third being more involved with local activities.
The National Ageing Better Programme was due to end in 2021, but the partnerships have been awarded a further £6 million with the funding intended to alleviate the difficulties experienced by communities as a result of COVID-19. Due of this additional funding, the programme is being extended for a further 12 months to March 2022 (Year 7).
Emma Ackerman, Deputy Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “As we all adapt to profound changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling stigma around loneliness, building community resilience and making it okay to ask for help are more important than ever.
"Ageing Better partnerships are leading the way - keeping people aged over 50 connected and supporting those at risk of becoming lonely.
"Thanks to this additional funding, Ageing Better’s work to support socially isolated and lonely people can continue - delivering innovative ways to bring people together facing a
range of obstacles.”
Loneliness has impacted everybody during this difficult time, and the whole voluntary and community sector is a powerful force for good – supporting individuals to connect; reducing feelings of isolation, and helping communities come together in new and inspiring ways.
Ageing Better partnerships responded immediately to the pandemic, building on trusted relationships across sectors and communities, and were instrumental in working with the NHS and local authorities to identify people they knew who needed help.
Moving into Year 7, the TED programme will continue to work with communities and volunteers in refreshing and sustaining Friendship Groups through the recent appointment of a Community Officer.
Our Age-friendly Business Officer is promoting and diversifying the Age-friendly Business Award, building on its reputation and credibility.
The award is currently held by over 100 business in the district.
TED is also continuing to commission a number of specialist projects facilitated by delivery partners.
Their focus includes digital inclusion, telephone befriending, Citizens Advice, Fitness, Food and Friends and the Men Do project that currently works with Male Carers.
Like their delivery partners, the TED programme management team employed by YMCA Lincolnshire are seeking to further adapt their ConnecTED offer.
This includes innovating to reach people aged 50 and over, even where these relationships have moved from ‘getting out and getting together’ to being socially distanced and physically ‘remote’.
Michelle Howard, Assistant Director for Housing and Wellbeing at Boston Borough Council and East Lindsey District Council said: “We are really proud to work alongside the whole TED team and know that the support provided has made such a positive difference to residents who might otherwise have been particularly isolated during the pandemic.
"When we moved into the first lockdown, the TED team adapted its delivery model quickly to make sure that people were not left without the help and support they needed and some of those new ways of working have also shown how digital has proven to be more inclusive in some situations – there are some great examples of people coming together and benefiting from support provided digitally who had previously not been able to access things in person.
"It’s great to see that in year seven, the whole TED team will be working in a way that encompasses this learning so that we can support as many people as possible.
East Lindsey District Council is committed to supporting people to live and age well and
the work of the TED team – from staff members, to delivery partners to volunteers, is a
big part of that”