REMBISZEWSKI Perla, BIDEY Tim, VANSON Tim
The first of two interim evaluation reports to explore the outcomes projects commissioned by Ageing Better in Camden (ABC), a six-year programme to address social isolation and loneliness in older people living in Camden. This report focuses on the progress of 8 projects, which include a Digital Inclusion project; North London Cares Intergenerational and Men’s Action projects; Community Action Projects, and LGBT+ Connect providing opportunities for older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans people in Camden to socialise. Each project focused chapter includes details of participants, evidence of impact and individual case studies. The evaluation draws on qualitative data from conversations with project participants and project leads, as well as quantitative data from demographic surveys. Early findings suggest that the projects are achieving the anticipated positive impacts for older people. Positive impacts include: improved mental and physical well-being; new friendships and connections; improved confidence and independence; relationship building across communities and generations. The evaluation found that frontline staff played a key role in enabling participants to achieve positive impacts.
MORETON Rachel, et al
Evaluation of Ageing Better in Birmingham, part of a wider programme of 14 Ageing Better projects located across England taking an asset-based approach to tackle social isolation and loneliness in older people. The evaluation covers activities completed between May 2017 and April 2018. It reports on the range of activities delivered, which included exercise and arts activities; key characteristics of successful activity; how networks are working to make their activities sustainable; and the ways in which activities are attracting male participants. Short case studies of the groups delivered are included throughout. Key findings show that Ageing Better in Birmingham is successfully engaging ethnically and age diverse participants and older adults who are the most-lonely. This has been achieved by mainly working through established voluntary and community groups, which it is noted may not always effective in those areas where the voluntary and community sector is less well developed. The evaluation found Network Leads play an important role in making a successful Network and that Networks involving physical activity appear to be associated with greater wellbeing gains for participants. The report makes recommendations for the future development of the programme.
This briefing reviews recent research on social care support provision for certain people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, who are often seldom heard in mainstream services. It draws out messages for social care micro-providers and social care commissioners, focusing on two areas: the marginalising dynamics in mainstream, statutory social care support provision for certain people with protected characteristics; and how local community, specialist or small-scale services are responding to unmet need for support and advice among marginalised groups. The majority of research identified looked at issues and experiences of black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, with a large number of studies dedicated to understanding the role of family carers, particularly from South Asian backgrounds. A smaller body of work on lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) older people and carers was found. Similarly, a number of research studies on support for and by refugees and asylum seekers were identified. Some research on the role of faith was also found. By comparing research findings across several groups, common issues about engagement with mainstream services and the function of community based and specialist support became apparent. The main themes and messages coming from the research for commissioners and providers focus on: strategies for responding to marginalisation from the mainstream, including assets and community mobilisation, reciprocity and social inclusion, informal networks and self-organisation; accessing and engaging with mainstream provision, highlighting issues of fear of discrimination, uniformity and homogenisation, language and communication; relationship dynamics between large, traditional mainstream and small, specialist community, including capacity building and partnerships, advocacy and accessing mainstream support, choice and voice; understanding informal support in diverse communities, in which a key role is played by culture, stigma and shame, well-being, identity and resilience, and faith; and effective approaches, including emotional and social support, and non-conventional, networked and holistic support.