It’s been wonderful to see the developments across all of the BAB projects in the last year. Community Navigators and Community Development for Older People projects launched in 2017 and are now delivering fantastic interventions for isolated and lonely older people and we are seeing some really inspirational case studies coming from a range of projects.
The learning from our 25 pilot projects last year informed the commissioning of 10 exciting projects that will be launching later in the year and will provide more opportunities for socially isolated older people.
When Bristol Ageing Better first launched, a big strength in the bid was that there were so many partners and delivery partners already working with older people in the city. Older people accessing services have always trusted in these organisations and we felt that trying to raise awareness of a new BAB brand on top of existing organisations working with older people would be confusing.
For this reason, a lot of older people don’t know all about BAB and don’t know the range of services that are on offer. We often get calls from people who have been to one BAB event and would like to find out more.
To date, there have been an amazing 7,500 participants across all of the BAB projects. Some older people have engaged with ongoing interventions while some just attend a taster session or information event.
The next two years of BAB are going to be busy and full of activity. Our team is already working with organisations to coordinate new contracts and our regular events keep staff engaged and connected to the BAB programme.
But now older people who have accessed BAB activities are telling us that they would like to meet other BAB participants and have opportunities to see other projects, try new things and continue to increase their social contact.
Some of those participants have said they wouldn’t have without encouragement from someone else to leave their home and come to the activity. We want to learn from our work to improve opportunities for socially isolated and lonely older people and to provide an environment that supports them to improve their involvement in local decision making.
We are inviting tenders from partners to deliver a BAB Participant Network that will work across the city with all partners and provide a support for existing participant as well as finding routes to recruit new isolated or lonely older people. You can find out more about the tender here.
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