Against the backdrop of rapid population ageing the question of what really makes a good later life, and what part social connections play in helping us age well, has become more pressing.
As we review lessons from the ageing programme we launched in 2008 with our colleagues in Lisbon, and as we plan for the future, we are considering this question and we would like your help in answering it in order to shape the next stage of the programme.
Our work so far has focused on increasing social connections and social support in later life. For example, we played a role in establishing the Campaign to End Loneliness, which alongside other activities, has sought to gather evidence and influence those making decisions on the delivery of social provision to ensure that the chronic problem of loneliness in older age is tackled. We have also focused on strengthening connections across generations by testing different approaches through the IntergenerationAll programme and supporting the setting up of a European-wide network of intergenerational practitioners – the EMIL network.
We learnt a great deal during this initial phase of support; details of which can be found in our review briefing and we remain convinced of the need to focus on strengthening social connections in our ageing societies.
Future support provided through the programme will be based on our guiding principles and our aspiration to be an involving, innovative and international foundation. We will seek to involve others – both organisations willing to work with us in partnership to achieve their goals and beneficiaries who we will seek to involve in the design and delivery of projects. We will strive to be innovative in how we work – learning from exemplary organisations and challenging ineffective systems and structures. And, where appropriate, we will continue to work internationally with our colleagues and other partners across Europe and further afield. At the Programme for Human Development in Lisbon, our colleagues too are reviewing the priorities for their programme, including their work on ageing, on which we hope to collaborate further in this new stage.
Reflecting on our learning, we have identified three strands of work which we believe could potentially generate real impact in this next phase. They are:-
– Improving transitions in later life
– Creating all-age friendly communities
– Measuring the value of Intergenerational Practice
Outline scoping papers can be found by following the links. These describe the vision for each strand and ask questions particular to each. We would welcome responses to these questions and to one further question. Bearing in mind the urgency of need, where the greatest impact might be achieved, and existing initiatives/funder interest, how should we prioritise between the three strands?
Once you have read through the strand outlines and considered these questions, please send your response to [email protected]
We propose to host small roundtables to examine in more depth these three strands over the summer and to scope and research emerging ideas from the autumn onwards, completing our programme design by the end of 2013 (including commissioning a formative evaluation). In early 2014 we will make new support available. We will use the blog to publicise developments and news related to the ageing programme; all those who email responses to us will also receive periodic updates by email.
Our consultation process is now closed. Thank you for your invaluable insights and suggestions.
You can still access the scoping papers for information concerning the topics of our consultation through the links provided.