Bring your community together & help those over 50 to overcome isolation
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A neighbourly Xmas in Birmingham

A neighbourly Xmas in Birmingham
Every Christmas there are stories around older people and how you can get involved to help a lonely elderly person by volunteering. Usually this means befriending, either by phone or in person. Whilst having a volunteer come round for a cup of tea and a natter can be great - even life-changing for some people – befriending relies on referrals and organisations to establish these connections. And if visits are in person, they require a volunteer who lives within relatively easy reach of the older person’s home.   WHAT THE RESEARCH TELLS US In a UK-wide study of more than 2,000 people in August 2016, data collected by One Poll showed that feeling lonely where you live is not just an older person’s issue. Almost 30% of respondents aged 18-34 admitted to feeling isolated, compared to 14% of those aged over 55. Further data from a private social network called Nextdoor shows......

The street was our kingdom, our safety net

The street was our kingdom, our safety net
As we approach Ageing Together Week 2019, Nina, one of our Age of Experience members with extensive involvement in the Ageing Better in Birmingham programme, shares her experience of growing up in Birmingham. Read her story below.    "Growing up in the 1960s and 70s was great. I would play with my first ever best friend, Clare, and her brother Joe. Most of our time was spent across the road on the factory steps; we would take our mothers’ sheets and tie them round the rails to make ‘houses’. One year my mother bought me a Silver Cross pram for Christmas from the antiques shop across the way. I don’t know how many times that pram went up and down the street with dolls (and friends!) in it. Life was carefree. I would go to the sweet shop to get my dad’s cigarettes and the owner always let me choose a penny swe......

Connect Sparkbrook

Not long ago, a new project called Connect Sparkbrook, launched in Sparkbrook. It’s part of the Ageing Better in Birmingham programme and will be delivered by The Muath Trust. With a focus on Sparkbrook as an area, it aims to improve connectivity and reduce isolation for people over 50. The project will develop local people’s skills, knowledge and understanding of local voluntary and community organisations and community groups and individuals. Mumtaz Shah, of The Muath Trust, is the Project Co-ordinator for Connect Sparkbrook and responsible for the day to day delivery. Having extensive experience in working within the Community Development Sector, Mumtaz understands the necessity for a joint-approach in this area. He said: “I’m very excited about this new role. The project has a lot of potential to improve connectivity and combat social isolation for those over 50 in Sparkbrook. There are several organisations that are doing excellent community development and enga......

Job advert: Community Project Coordinator

Community Project Coordinator Salary: £24,176 per annum37 hours per week Based in Tipton with regular travel across the West Midlands region This job role is part funded by the National Lottery, through the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Heritage Lottery Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. Groundwork West Midlands are looking for an enthusiastic Community Project Coordinator to take a leading role in 2 exciting projects; Every Step of The Way and Kick the Dust: Future Proof Parks. The post holder will be responsible for all aspects of their projects, from planning and delivery to management and reporting. You will need to have a broad understanding of, and interest in, community and health and wellbeing, along with effective administrative and organisational skills and an ability to prioritise your own work programme. Experience building capacity and resilience of volunteers is essential, ......

Get involved with Ageing Together Week 2019!

  Ageing Together Week takes place across Birmingham from Monday, January 21 to Sunday, January 27, 2019 to raise awareness of isolation and spread the message that people do not need to be alone. Citizens, community groups and organisations are encouraged to get involved.   By 2020, in Birmingham, almost 57,000 people aged 65 plus will be living alone. Nationally, the number of people who report feeling lonely has more than doubled since 1980. Human company is vital to our happiness. Without it, we are more likely to experience a decline in physical and mental wellbeing. Recent studies demonstrate links with stress, lower self-esteem, disturbed sleep, cardiovascular disease, dementia and other mental health outcomes. Loneliness is said to have the same effect on a person’s health, equivalent to that of smoking or alcoholism, and more severe than not exercising or obesity. Communities up and down the country are making a di......

Birmingham Wellbeing Portal Making a Big Difference


Wellbeing Portal launched to support Birmingham citizens   Birmingham residents who are looking for local activities, support and services that encourage wellbeing and an active and healthy lifestyle can now search a new online directory called Route2Wellbeing that describes over 1,500 local, community-based services and activities.   This new initiative is already “making a big difference” to Birmingham citizens. The Route2Wellbeing Birmingham portal is the ultimate guide to services, activities and support provided by the city’s voluntary and community sector. From diet and exercise to personal help with bereavement, debt advice or immigration; from support for carers to employability or mediation services – all of these things play a part in our physical and mental wellbeing. Route2Wellbeing Birmingham has been developed by Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) and Sandwell Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) with funding from Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group. Designed from scratch for ease of use, the por......

Circus skills in Edgbaston

DEMCAF– Helping carers and the Dementia sufferers they care for, to be less isolated and more involved with the local community Demcaf are an Ageing Better in Birmingham group who meet on the first Tuesday of every month at St Georges church, Edgbaston to provide a support network, activities and socialising to people over 50 with Dementia, and their Carers. What struck us about this group was that it was not just carers and the cared-for who came along, but also a large number of volunteers - people in the community and members of the church who are interested in the wellbeing of others and who want to lend a hand and make a difference to the lives of people in this very practical way. We spoke with Jenny Astley, aged 78 from Selly Oak, Birmingham. For the past 12 months, Jenny has been coming to Demcaf with her husband David, w......

Addressing older people's isolation in Sparkbrook

A new exciting project is starting in Sparkbrook, Birmingham. This is a call for partners to come forward and engage with the project.  This project, as with the development of the Ageing Better Hub, recognises that other organisations, not engaged with the Collective, deliver services for and to older people. We have identified some of these who will become partners in the development of activities and we will seek to engage others as partners or participants within this programme as it progresses. The programme aims to develop skills and processes in all organisations. We acknowledge that groups will be at different levels of progress and skills and this project will seek to support the sharing of skills and the progress of support offered by 'emerging and embryonic' groups, enabling them to address the issue of isolation in older people within the Ward.' Deadline for quotes is Friday 26 October. Please visit http://www.muathtrust.org/AgeingBetter.aspx for......

New project aimed at making Tyburn an 'age-friendly' neighbourhood

Sustrans is delivering Age Friendly Tyburn, a project aimed at increasing an ‘age-friendly’ neighbourhood and reducing social isolation by creating a positive long-term improvement of the physical environment in the Tyburn Ward. This project is funded by BVSC and is part of the Ageing Better in Birmingham programme. It will run until June 2020.   What is the project about? Sustrans will be working to support people in Tyburn to identify aspects of the urban environment that make travel and connectivity to the community difficult, such as crossing points, links between neighbourhoods and access to green spaces. An initial audit of the area will lead to developing and trialling ideas that positively enhance their neighbourhood environment to make it Age-Friendly and make access for over 50s easier. The trials will initially be low cost and short term – but with the view to using them as evidence to establish lasting positive chang......

Helping others along the way

“Moving On” Recently, we visited “Moving On” a group with a positive attitude, caring, supporting and helping others along the way. The members of Moving On are carers who have feel that meeting monthly is great for friendship and support amongst members. They come together for a chat and also over a bit of craft and photography. Listening to people talk in the group, it was interesting to hear various comments about isolation and how this can gradually lead to depression, and a feeling of being scared to go out or socialise. But it was also really encouraging to hear comments such as "I had forgotten that I could feel better" and to hear a discussion about ways in which people could be encouraged to get together in groups, for example, by making groups free to attend, or by providing food or a focus. “I had forgotten that I could feel better” We chatted to Peter, w......

I would have been just sitting at home watching TV if I hadn’t come to this group

  We all love to see fresh flowers, tastefully displayed and showing off nature in all its loveliness and colour, but to arrange them so that they look their best takes a little practice.Thanks to support from the Ageing Better in Birmingham programme, Samreena Begum, with the help of Nita Upadhyay at the Sparkbrook Ageing Better Hub was able to set up a flower arranging class at the Tyseley Community Centre and this has proved very popular with ladies local to the area. Samreena said: “This has been 15 weeks of utter bliss and has definitely helped to reduce isolation in the local community, these ladies have come along every week, they have learnt lots of new skills, made new friends and have really enjoyed themselves." "From the bottom of our hearts, we all want to say THANK YOU very much to Ageing Better”  We also chatted with Patricia, a lady who cam......

Zumba, salsa, dominos and sewing in Acocks Green

Meeting each Tuesday at the Church of God of Prophecy in Acocks Green, people get moving with regular Zumba classes, sewing, dominos and trips to the seaside. We caught up with people who attend the group for various activities. Enid and Delbert, a lovely couple who have been married 60 years. Originally from Jamaica, they moved to England in the 50’s. After working for many years, the two retired and relocated back to Jamaica, but then, a year or so ago, decided to return to the UK so that they could spend more time with their four daughters, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As we reminisced about the times when wages were £4 a week and a bus fare only a couple of pence, they were a little reluctant to say whether they prefer Jamaica or England, but one thing is clear, they are delighted to be part of a caring and......

Do you have what it takes to make your neighbourhood a better place to grow older in?

Do you have what it takes to make your neighbourhood a better place to grow older in?
The answer is YES. Everyone can reduce isolation and make communities better places to live and grow older: All you need is a bit of time! Isolation and loneliness is on the government’s agenda. Since her recent appointment as loneliness minister, Tracey Crouch has revealed that she was approached by lawmakers from Sweden and Canada, who are looking to the UK as an example on how to tackle isolation. This is clearly something that isn’t just happening in Britain but all over the world. Appointing Crouch is a great and welcome first step but communities won’t change unless everyone does their own bit. We’re talking small acts of kindness, things that every single person can do to help make their neighbourhood a better place to live in. We’re talking about breaking down boundaries between young and old, different communities, backgrounds, experiences and living arrangements. Neighbours help Isolated and lonely seniorsLoneliness and isolat......

Council conducting survey to improve neighbourhoods

Birmingham Council wants your views!   Birmingham City Council would like to hear your opinion on how local residents, community organisations and public services can work better together in your local area, to improve your services and your neighbourhood. This survey is about the consultation paper called “Working together in Birmingham’s Neighbourhoods” which you can find, as well as a summary leaflet, at the bottom of this page. Citizens are encouraged to read the paper (which you find, as well as a summary leaflet, at the bottom of this page) before answering the questions which range from "What do you think of our overall approach to working with neighbourhoods?" to Local Devolution deals.  Following this consultation, the council will publish a final policy statement this autumn, based on the feedback theyreceive. They want to work with residents over the long term to improve Birmingham neighbourhoods and so it won't be the end o......

Project Coordinator - Ageing Better Connect Sparkbrook

We're recruiting!

This is an inspring time for Ageing Better in Birmingham! We're half way through the programme and we're starting to see citizens doing things in their local community that has a positive effect in reducing isolation for participants on the programme.

We currently have an exciting vacancy available. Please read through the job advert below for more information:

Project Co-ordinator - Fulltime (PDF)

And if you're looking for more opportunites working in the Voluntary Sector in Birmingham, check out BVSC's job board here: https://www.bvsc.org/third-sector-jobs

Birmingham hoping to become leading location for LGBT people to grow older

Birmingham LGBT aims to make Birmingham the leading location for LGBT people to grow older   Birmingham LGBT is launching Ageing with Pride, a year-long campaign aimed at promoting the lives and lived experiences of older LGBT people across the city, focusing on highlighting the positive contributions those over the age of 50 and who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender have made to the region both today and historically. The new campaign, funded by the Big Lottery Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better programme, also aims to tackle ageism, something many older LGBT people experience from not only wider society, but commonly from within their own community too. “There’s an emphasis on youth as being central to participation in LGBT communities” Birmingham LGBT research, 2016. Research by Stonewall highlighted that social isolation is a serious issue for older LGBT people, with older LGBT people significantly more likely to be living alone, 41% compa......

Barmy knitters becoming close-knit friends

You don’t have to be Barmy to join this Ageing Better Knitters group – but it helps!   One of the Ageing Better groups that we visited recently is called Barmy Knitters, a gathering of 7 or so ladies who sit together, chat, drink tea and knit or crochet some lovely colourful items destined for donation to charities. The ladies meet at Sycamore house, a supported living centre in Erdington where some of the participants also live, which is great as it means that they don’t have to travel far, just a short walk to the shared lounge on the ground floor of the complex. Barmy Knitters is run by Sharon, who was helped to set up the group by Eileen, leader of another band of knitters at Needles and Pins which runs at the Elim Church in Kingstanding. (pictured below with her own creation “the Green Man – spirit of Gardeners”). The range and d......

LGBT Survey about attitudes and awareness

Are you part of the lesbian, gay, bi and trans community in Birmingham? We want to hear from you! ABIC Ltd, an evaluation company based in Leamington Spa is undertaking an evaluation of the Ageing with Pride initiative, which is part of our programme. Ageing with Pride is a project that seeks to raise awareness of the LGBT community to reduce the risks of social isolation in later life. As part of its work, between now and the end of July, ABIC is conducting a survey amongst the LGBT community in Birmingham about attitudes and awareness to growing older and the challenges faced. The information will be collated and analysed and used to inform activity in Birmingham designed to increase awareness of the LGBT community about ageing. You are invited to complete the short online questionnaire which can be found via the following link. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/AgeingWithPride  Please share this information as widely as you can to......

We're recruiting!

This is an inspring time for Ageing Better in Birmingham! We're half way through the programme and we're starting to see citizens doing things in their local community that has an affect in reducing isolation for participants on the programme.

 

We currently have three exciting vacancies available. 

Please read through the job adverts below for more information:

 

And if you're looking for more opportunites working in the Voluntary Sector in Birmingham, check out BVSC's job board here: https://www.bvsc.org/third-sector-jobs

New ways of volunteering: asset based community participation

The broad definition of volunteering, given by the NCVO, includes any unpaid activity which benefits the society or other people. This could be formal activity, undertaken through a service provider or informal activity within the community. Typically, formal volunteering involves a recruitment process similar to paid roles, properly delineated shift hours and the clear differentiation between volunteers and participants. A 2010 working paper, published by the Institute for Volunteering Research, found that after working without pay, and spending time on activities which would benefit a cause other than the individual, there was a third, commonly used definition. This conception emphasises the mutually beneficial aspects of volunteering. From improvement of skills to the positive feeling gained when giving back to the community, there are clearly a range of more abstract motivations which appeal to the volunteer. However, the perception of volunteering as defined by (lack of) payment continues. The same working paper......