Back in July, 150 people aged 50+ travelled far and wide to come together in Sheffield and celebrate 'Ageing Better'.
People from across 14 areas of England came together at Sheffield City Hall to share skills, stories and experiences of growing older. Ageing Better participants had designed activities and workshops that they then delivered over two days ( Tuesday 9 July and Wednesday 10 July).
It was the first national event of its kind and just like the Ageing Better in Birmingham programme, funded 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.
Staff, volunteers and people who have been involved and benefitted from the programmes across england learnt about how the programme has helped combat social isolation and loneliness by empowering people over 50 to challenge stereotypes, start new activities they would like to access in the communities and campaign about issues that matter to them.
There were also walking tours of Sheffield to showcase a city known for its steel, snooker and theatres.
Birmingham participants who helped organise the event and who attended it enjoyed listening to other people and meeting new people. They said:
"I really enjoyed my experience and involvement in Sheffield, especially the opportunity of meeting new people of various backgrounds and cultures, all showing how well we can meet together to share common experiences and friendship." (67-year old from Northfield)
"It was interesting seeing how other areas approached aspects of loneliness - both successes and failures (albeit very few) and I picked up a couple of points for potential follow up by Birmingham team." (67-year old from Shard End)
We learnt how thanks to National Lottery players, over 100,000 people aged over 50 have been sparking friendships, conversations and connections that are leading to valuable evidence to help decrease loneliness and isolation."Sophy Proctor, Head of Funding for Ageing Better at the National Lottery Community Fund
Joanne Stevenson, who attended the event from Ageing Better Middlesbrough, said:
"It was wonderful to see how open and friendly people are across the different programmes. The event was really a great way to celebrate all the work we've been doing and share ideas on the future."
Juliann Hall, Director of Care Health & Wellbeing at South Yorkshire Housing Association and Chair of Age Better in Sheffield, which hosted the event, said:
"It was a real honour for the Age Better in Sheffield programme to welcome more than 150 people to our wonderful city. Over the course of the two days we heard about all the great activities, services and groups that are being hosted by older people from across the country to help people to connect with others and reduce their feelings of isolation and loneliness. We are thankful to The National Lottery Community Fund for giving us the opportunity to co-produce an event of this scale and to all the participants for their continued passion and enthusiasm."