For the last 6 months, Bristol Ageing Better has been supporting LinkAge’s Bedminster and Southville Hub through a funded contract with St Monica Trust as part of our Community Development for Older People strand of work. We met up with Dan Lewin, LinkAge Community Development Worker, to have a chat about what new things have been happening in this part of the city.
The Bedminster and Southville Hub was established in 2007 and since then it has carried out great work developing local activities for over 55s in the area. The support provided by BAB has come to enhance and improve the delivery and co-ordination of community development already happening in the area.
Since BAB’s support started LinkAge has been working towards setting up a partnership network of organisations and groups working in the South of the city. “This partnership network allows us to promote collaboration and to make sure the work in the area is carried out in co-ordination with partners, making the best use of the resources available”, says Dan Lewin, to which he added: “BAB provided us with an impetus to facilitate the network, we started by having a workshop meeting where partners could learn about what is already happening and to share their views and expectations for the network.”
“Having a local partnership network of organisations has saved time and effort as groups can attend one meeting, instead of co-ordinating 30 different meetings with partners. Currently, there are around 30 organisations that participate in the network, and we have also engaged with statutory agencies including various Bristol City Council teams, the local Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP surgeries.”
Some of the organisations that attend the network meetings include Greater Bedminster Older People’s Forum and LinkAge’s Advisory Group, making sure that the views and opinions of older people are at the centre of the network. “Ultimately, it all comes down to benefiting older people in the area and providing services and activities that they want”, says Dan, highlighting the need to engage with local older people when designing the provision of activities and services.
Dan also told us how the local network is working together to promote what is going on the area: “The network has come together to create a regular advert in The Pigeon, a local magazine, to reach out further into the community with information relevant to older people who might not be engaged in activities and services yet.”
The Pigeon is a local independent magazine that goes out monthly reaching people in Bedminster, Southville, Ashton, Ashton Vale, Windmill Hill, Totterdown and Knowle. The advert is a one-page spread of information around a specific theme. The themes that the network are covering in each edition up until the end of the year are Social Activities, Advice, Home Support, Health and Community.
As well as establishing the Partnership Network, LinkAge also held their main yearly community engagement event in June. The Bedminster ‘Wellbeing Day’ took place on 23rd June and attracted around 80 older people, many of them new to LinkAge, to take part in free taster session of potential new activities for the area. These new activities were selected through engagement with local older people and included Pottery, Line Dancing, Chair Yoga and Gardening. The day also included information stalls from many organisations working locally including The Dementia Wellbeing Service, Macmillan, The Bristol Older People’s Forum, Action for Blind People, The Neighbourhood Partnership and Memories of Bedminster.
As a result of the day’s success LinkAge will be starting new Chair Yoga and Line Dancing classes starting in September. Please call LinkAge’s Bedminster office for more information on its activities, volunteering opportunities or if you would like to get involved in the Partnership Network - 0117 305 2365.
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