Giving and taking - community contributions
Bristol Ageing Better has three outcomes for older people which, when combined, contribute to our main aim of tackling isolation and loneliness in the city.
As well as ensuring that older people get the level of social contact that they want and feel that they can influence local decision making, we also seek to improve the number of older people contributing to their communities.
In the last year, older people have logged over 9,000 hours of volunteering through BAB - but that only covers formal volunteering. The figure doesn’t include getting involved in other community activities or helping out your neighbours, which lots of older people do.
‘Community contributions’ is a funny term that spans formal volunteering, community activism and the more casual friendly help that older people might offer. Lots of us would help a neighbour fix a problem or give someone a regular lift, but we don’t always consider it volunteering.
BAB has been working with the Centre for Ageing Better to try and collect evidence around community contributions. We’re currently looking for two paid Community Researchers to help conduct a study focusing on the Ashley ward. If you or someone you work with might be interested, you can find out more here.
Volunteering opportunities within BAB are many and varied. We are so grateful for people who volunteer some time, whether producing, researching or presenting for the BABBERs on Ujima, sitting on our steering groups, Kick-start panels or our Strategic Programme Group, or evaluating the programme as one of our Community Researchers.
Across the projects we fund, volunteers take many forms. Steering group members, volunteer organisers, Community Navigators, community activists and volunteer drivers all help to keep things running smoothly.
Volunteers are a huge help to us in delivering the programme, but I believe that we aren’t the only people benefitting. Having people in Bristol contributing to the improvement of their surroundings helps them feel part of a community – and it also helps to build a feeling of community around them.
As we consider the sustainability and legacy of the programme, I believe that a core part of this will be the volunteering that has been created and embedded in all parts of Bristol.
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