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Late Spring: age-friendly and inclusive volunteering grant programme evaluation




Centre for Ageing Better

Publication year:


An evaluation of Late Spring, an established bereavement support project for people in later life to provide mutual support, help people remember there is still ‘life to live’ and ‘look to the future without forgetting’. The support groups run twice a month in community venues and are designed to provide space for those aged 60+ who have been bereaved. They come together in a relaxed, warm, friendly and safe environment ‘with others who understand’, as they begin to face the reality of life without their loved one. Groups are facilitated by a trained community worker, often supported by volunteers. These groups have a mixture of both restorative and informative sessions based around tea, coffee, cake and the occasional meal and activity. People attend for between 12–24 months, though some remain with the group as volunteers. At the start of this grant programme there were 18 groups involving approximately 250 people across Oxfordshire. The Late Spring project highlights the challenges of integrating age-friendly and inclusive volunteering within an existing, successful project, ensuring that it enhances rather than undermines the service, while embedding age-friendly and inclusive volunteering principles and overcomes the barriers. This model has helped increase awareness and interest in volunteering amongst Late Springers, as well as increase their confidence to volunteer. Consequently, it has supported some Late Springers into helping more or rekindled interest in volunteering, resulting in positive experiences. In the process, the approach has enhanced the Late Spring project and helped improve its outcomes. This has been achieved by helping Late Springers recover and look to the future, increasing their confidence, reducing isolation, promoting being active and improving well-being. (Edited publisher abstract)

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