Ageing Better in Birmingham is a programme working to reduce isolation for people over 50 in the city. The programme is a partnership with different organisations across the city, led by Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC).

We encourage Birmingham citizens to take an active approach to bringing people together in their local neighbourhood. This could be anything from organising a weekly coffee morning to a healthy exercise class with a focus on Bhangra dancing, from changing a neighbour's lightbulb to gardening together.

So far, the programme has supported hundreds of groups who together has engaged over 6,000 citizens of all ages across the city.

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
  • Sparkbrook where there are language barriers and cultural differences.

The programme uses a methodology called Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) which focusses on sustainable development of communities based on their strengths and potentials.

We have partnered with organisations that have expertise in the communities we prioritise, such as Age UK, Birmingham LGBT, Narthex Sparkhill, Compass Support, Forward Carers and Age Concern as well as with members of the community, some of whom have experienced isolation themselves and are now helping to inform the programme on all levels of work.

We’ve also got some fantastic projects that are based on consultation with people in the different priorities. You find out more about these under our “Delivery Partners” page.

We are really pleased with the programme’s progression in engaging participants of all ages as well as isolated older people. We are seeing a decrease in both people’s loneliness and isolation.

Ageing Better in Birmingham is part of Ageing Better, a six-year (2015-2021), £78 million programme set-up by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. Ageing Better partnerships are based in 14 locations across England, from Torbay to Middlesbrough and the Isle of Wight to East Lindsey. Working with local people, charities, businesses, public sector services and voluntary groups, the Ageing Better partnerships are exploring creative ways for older people to be actively involved in their local communities, helping to combat social isolation and loneliness. Ageing Better is one of five major programmes set up by The National Lottery Community Fund to test and learn from new approaches to designing services which aim to make people’s lives healthier and happier.

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Our programme vision and ethos

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The initial Project Plan submitted to Big Lottery Fund

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Supporting information and additional information regarding the Project Plan

How we are governed

At Ageing Better in Birmingham we have committed ourselves to a number of specific management and governance arrangements.

We have a Core Partnership that is comprised of representatives from different organisations across Birmingham. Offering strategic oversight and guidance, they provide support, direction and expertise to the programme. Quarterly meetings are held with the Partnership with three Subgroups providing additional strategy around performance monitoring, evaluation and learning and campaigns.

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The organisations and representatives on the core partnership are:

  • Central Consultancy & Training - Patricia McCabe (Chair)
  • Birmingham NHS CrossCity CCG – Carol Herity
  • Thrive Together & The Body, Mind & Spirit Partnership – Jo Bagby
  • Birmingham City Council - Sarah Feeley
  • BVSC - Brian Carr
  • Age of Experience - Millie Gobbinsingh
  • Age of Experience - Barbara Platts
  • Diane Parkes Media - Diane Parkes

We have a co-production cohort of around twenty people who are supported to participate at every level in the co-production of the programme. The members form the Age of Experience group.

The Age of Experience group help the Ageing Better team make decisions and steer the direction of the programme. They also meet up bimonthly and discuss their experiences on the programme, future opportunities and training needs. Members have all experienced isolation first hand, and are now taking action to help isolated people over 50 in Birmingham. They act as champions for people over 50 in Birmingham and help spread the word of the programme, so that more people can benefit from it across the city.

Examples of previous opportunities that Age of Experience group members have been involved with include intergenerational projects where members spoke with young people about social isolation and sat on "Dragon’s Den" panels for young people’s business ideas. Members have also met with nation-wide Ageing Better programmes, visited No 10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister and the Strictly Come Dancing crew.

Age of Experience members are involved in the decision making of awarding contracts, take part in programme recruitment processes, sit on the Ageing Better Fund Panel and help inform decisions around marketing & communications.

Watch our film below, which includes several members from our Age of Experience group to find out more.