Bristol Ageing Better is a partnership of over 280 organisations; each one committed to the same goals of tackling social isolation and loneliness and making Bristol a great place to grow old. BAB is nothing without the partnership and it has always been a key belief of mine that we should do nothing without the involvement of partners.
The BAB Programme Management team does a fantastic job of coordinating all elements of the programme including communications, commissioning, budgets and learning, but they need the partnership to support our activities, bid for contracts and to contribute to the outcomes of the programme.
Earlier this week we worked with Bristol Older People’s Forum to run a learning network looking at Ageing and Wellbeing with the aim of bringing together a range of groups to discuss the situation in Bristol. We wanted to know what is currently happening, what needs to happen and also what we can do collectively to influence decision makers.
Our Age Friendly Bristol work is another example of how important partnership and joint working is to what we do. We are encouraging organisations, groups and individuals to think about what they are already doing or what they could do to make their city better for older people. We have already had some great suggestions and contributions from a range of people but we are keen to find out more.
Each of our 40 contracts has been run by different Voluntary and Community sector groups and over 80 awards have been made to community groups through our Community Kick-start project. When we commission wellbeing and group work projects in October, we expect to fund more Community and voluntary sector partners and to encourage collaboration in these bids.
Because we are funded to develop new approaches to tackling isolation and loneliness, we can’t fund existing work. However, what we can do is work with partners to identify ways of overcoming common obstacles and learn from this to develop new approaches.
We will be releasing over £850,000 worth of funding on 1st October and will shortly be announcing some Commissioning Information Sessions that will give people space to think about collaborative approaches to the contracts and opportunities to collaborate.
Partners remain a vital part of our work and we look forward to continuing those relationships through and beyond the life of the BAB programme.
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