Written by Adam Rees, BAB Director.
This week we have launched an opportunity to tender for 3 pilots for our Learning for Life Together project which aims to support and empower isolated older people by encouraging them to share their skills, stories and experiences. You can access the tender information here.
Bristol already has some great examples of activities that bring together older and younger people for reasons including reducing fear of crime, improving understanding of different generations and improving educational attainment. It is worth celebrating this work with older people and the outcomes they have on communities in the city.
The BAB programme uses pilot opportunities for a couple of our projects and it has raised the question of why we are ”piloting” work that is already going on in some organisations across the city and already have some evidence to this.
The aim of the Learning for Life Together project is to use intergenerational activities as a way of empowering and building the confidence of those people who may have lost their confidence or belief in themselves as a result of isolation and loneliness. In many cases, the objective is a group intergenerational event and there is often not the time or capacity to put specific efforts into nurturing individuals who may need that extra support to share and contribute.
I believe that we must use the unique opportunity that BAB’s Big Lottery fund offers to trial different methods (including concentrating existing approaches) to specifically address isolation and loneliness. When speaking to our partners, I often hear them say that their existing model has great results but maybe if they had funding they would change the venue, the format of the training or the type of people that they are trying to recruit in order to improve outcomes. In the Voluntary and Community Sector there are not many opportunities that allow us to test these different methods and I am committed to using BAB Funding where possible to support partners to do this. During the pilots, we will learn lessons about what works and what doesn’t and we will share this learning with the city.
When we commission the larger models, the specifications will include the lessons learnt and will continue to support opportunities to review, test and learn as we constantly seek to improve services for older isolated people. In addition to the outcomes agreed with Big Lottery, I am keen that the learning from the development of the programme will also be a useful contribution to the development of services in Bristol.
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