I celebrate my birthday over New Year, so it’s not just the start of a new calendar year for me but also a new year of age. It’s easy to look back on the previous year, but I also find it exciting to think about what the next one will entail.
BAB will soon be entering its fourth year and there has been an outpouring of effort from so many partners and stakeholders to get us to this point. I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved and want to thank all of you for your contributions.
The first thing on the BAB agenda this year is commissioning - and by the end of January we will have committed over £700,000 to group work and wellbeing activities across Bristol.
We’ll have more funding opportunities throughout this year (watch this space!) but by April we will have an exciting and diverse range of work going on in all parts of the city, each trying to find different ways to reduce or prevent the loneliness and isolation of older people.
In spring we will host activities to celebrate the work going on through BAB and seeking your input into our Age Friendly City application. We have been working with partners including First Bus, Bristol Older Peoples forum and Bristol Council to prepare an age friendly action plan that will be a core part of our application to the World Health Organisation.
This period will also see a new round of Community Kick Start funding available for groups who want to tackle loneliness and isolation in their communities. We have nearly £100,000 left in our Kickstart budget and we’re keen to reach new parts of the city. You can find out more about the projects already funded through Kick Start here.
The biggest priority for the Programme Management team this year is to think about what happens after 2020. I want to ensure that those projects that are making a difference to the lives of lonely older people can continue past this point and that the Ageing Better Partnership can grow and develop.
At our last partnership meeting we asked for your opinions on the future of the partnership and there was a consensus that people found it useful and supportive. Partners identified, support, networking and collaboration as key priorities of an ageing better partnership and we will be working on a strategy to continue this.
In a national climate of so much uncertainty, I’m excited to move through 2018 as a strong collective that works towards the goal of making Bristol a great place to grow old.
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