Ageing Better, the lottery funded programme based at Age UK Isle of Wight, were pleased to welcome colleagues from Ageless Thanet in Kent, in order to demonstrate some of the good work that is being done here on the island for older residents.
Ageless Thanet (delivered by Social Enterprise Kent) enjoyed a two-day trip to the island which incorporated visits to the Olderpreneurs project, Age Friendly Island Town and Parish Council project and Care Navigator project, amongst others.
A highlight for the visitors was their attendance at the Community Navigator’s ‘Pitch Up’ at Brading Roman Villa, where the team were able to join the 32 regular members from around the island, and chat to them about their experiences, take part in the quiz, and enjoy tea and bacon butties! Two volunteer dogs, Pip and Benji also came along for the ride.
This was the first visit from another Ageing Better Programme to the island, and was designed to help both teams to share information and ideas, and explore what is working well in both locations to support older residents.
James Kirby, Ageless Thanet Programme Manager said:
“The team from Thanet were overwhelmed by the incredible work Age Friendly Island are doing in reducing isolation and loneliness in older people, and making the Isle of Wight truly Age Friendly. We’ve gone back to Thanet with our heads full of ideas on ways we can further the work we are doing in helping older people lead more fulfilling later lives, and we thank our colleagues and friends on the Isle of Wight for such a fantastic and inspiring visit”.
‘Pitch Up’ at Brading Roman Villa is a free event which takes place on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, run by Judith Stratton (Community Navigator), and offers an opportunity for a get together with quiz and refreshments.
Val Winter, a regular Pitch Up member commented:
“It is such a great group, and I always look forward to going. I get to the door and it almost feels as if there is a container there with a big sign saying ‘anxieties collected here’, I feel that I make my way home in a much better frame of positive thinking, and that I can cope with the day to day situations ahead because I left them at the door several hours earlier”.
Megan Jones, Isle of Wight’s Ageing Better Programme Manager stated:
“We were delighted to welcome our colleagues from Thanet, and to show them first hand the work that we are doing on the island to support people over the age of 50. They were able to participate directly in our Age Friendly Training as well as visiting a number of projects across the island. In addition, we were able to ask them about their services, and how we might use the lessons they have learnt to benefit us here. They enjoyed their visit so much that several of them have booked to return to our beautiful island with their families for a holiday, and to see what else the island has to offer them as tourists!”
Age Friendly Island and the Aging Better programme on the Isle of Wight is part of the six-year (2015-2021), £78 million National Lottery funded Ageing Better programme set-up by the Big Lottery 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 Big Lottery Fund to test and learn from new approaches to designing services which aim to make people’s lives healthier and happier.