Ageing Better in Birmingham is working to reduce isolation in the city through a grass-roots approach designed to empower and connect individuals, helping to create sustainable change in communities.
The programme started in April 2015 and is delivered by Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC). It is funded by a £6million, six-year grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Fulfilling Lives initiative and is part of the Ageing Better national strategic programme.
Ageing Better in Birmingham has four priorities, supporting older carers, ensuring the older LGBT community does not go ‘back into the closet’, Tyburn, which has a high population over 80, and Sparkbrook where there are language barriers and cultural differences. The programme focusses on Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) and work with organisations such as Age UK, Birmingham LGBT, Narthex, Compass Support, Forward Carers and Age Concern as well as with members of the community, some of who have experienced isolation themselves and are now helping to inform the programme across all work streams.
People are encouraged to apply for up to £2,000 through the Ageing Better Fund to start activities, initiatives, events or services for the collective benefit of older people across the city. So far, we have had over 160 groups of people come together to start new activities in Birmingham.
We are really pleased with the project’s progression in engaging participants of all ages as well as isolated older people. The data that participants have provided us with thus far, shows the positive effects Ageing Better activities are having as we are seeing a decrease in both people’s loneliness and isolation. So far 4,476 people in Birmingham have taken part in Ageing Better activities.
Update December 2017
Looking ahead, we’re linking up with more organisations in Birmingham and there are larger pieces of work being commissioned at the moment, such as Connect Sparkbrook, Age-Friendly Tyburn and Making Space for Carers – all forming part of our Priority Area Local Action Plans.