Written by Adam Rees, BAB Director
We have kept you up to date on the progress of Bristol Ageing Better over the last two years, announcing events, funding opportunities and new delivery partners. There has been a lot of change during this time, across the partnership, the BAB programme and our team, but one thing that has remained a constant is our commitment to putting older people at the heart of the programme.
This commitment isn’t just about getting older people as participants on the programme, it is about making sure that older people from all backgrounds have an opportunity to shape the programme's development at all stages. The BAB conversations project sought the views of 1800 older people from across the city during the application process and these contributions helped us define the 16 projects that we now deliver.
When considering applications for the Community Kick-Start Fund, we ask all applicants if they have evidence that older people want and support the idea. All of these decisions are made by our Older People’s Steering Group, who have to date committed approximately £114,000 to community groups in the city. Our Older Peoples’ Steering Group is another fantastic element of the BAB programme for more than just Community Kick-Start applications. They get involved in commissioning and recruitment as well as giving their thoughts and opinions on all elements of BAB activities. We are always looking to invite new members to this group, so please contact Bianca if you or someone you know would be interested.
Our Application to the Big Lottery Fund was well received and area that was of particular interest to them was our Community Researcher project. We now have 15 older people trained and supported by the University of the West of England to contribute to the evaluation of BAB. Their work has been massively important to me, evaluating projects, mapping local assets and providing an insight into the city has informed our approach to commissioning certain projects. These Community Researchers have now become a model of good practice across the 14 Ageing Better areas and are currently visiting other cities to share the excellent work they have done.
We have continued to get opinions and involvement from older people through all stages of BAB. Last summer, Carly spoke to 150 older people when developing our work around Age Friendly City and anybody bidding for BAB funding must show how older people will be involvement in the design and development of the project.
With over 2,000 participants on BAB projects in the first two years we are delighted with the uptake but as we move forward, we must ensure that we continue to adapt and improve in line with the needs and opinions of Bristol’s older people.
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