This 3 years project is about reducing isolation and improving physical and mental health, through increasing the availability of local activities and providing co-ordination needed to ensure people can be reached. This is primarily for people of South Asian heritage aged 50+ but will be inclusive to adults and young people of any culture because it may support cohesion and many have needs that the project can meet.
Many older adults across Slough and Maidenhead feel isolated. Those often facing significant barriers to integration are people of BME origin because of religion, language, feeling like a minority, and a need to socialise and exercise in restricted groups.
The project will involve other groups and stakeholders who share common objectives and complement what we’ll do – so that each provider can recommend participants to other activities. The project will enable each provider to continue reaching current beneficiaries but also reach those people that stakeholders have been unable to connect with because of resources, insufficient/fragmented network or distance.
Main activities of the project:
1) Creating, maintaining and growing a group of stakeholderswho influence services, deliver activities or benefit from the activities. This group will ensure the project has the capability and can produce greater community capacity.
2) Establishing a web resource and communication processfor stakeholders and beneficiaries – enabling the wider community to know about activities/opportunities – particularly helpful for those that not yet reached (plus service providers will develop confidence in our activities).
3) Responding to barriers which can cause dependency, using a simple framework known locally as the ‘Ladder of Change’ to identify where people feel they are, and for the project to help them become resilient (e.g. some free transport and a volunteer buddy system)
4) Delivering free, tried and tested sessions regularlywhich have ceased due to lack of funds, don’t run often enough or haven’t happened yet:
- Health workshops (on issues relevant to older people)
- Exercise sessions (e.g Bhangra, Gidha, yoga and walking)
- Social activities ( Mens Talk Club, craft activities, learning lT)
- Healthy eating and cooking workshops
- Skill sessions where older adults share skills (eg. sewing, woodworking, music)
Activities will take place across Slough and Maidenhead. Over the past 6 months we’ve built our network in both areas, establishing understanding of the needs of people not yet reached by us or other local groups. While the LA areas are different, there are many synergies, especially with NHS commissioning and Wellbeing Advisors plus the cross-boundary Community Voluntary Service. All are keen to work closely with us by advising, listening and connect people.
We’ll run some activities ourselves and work with 3 trusted community groups which already deliver some level of activities and have strong community presence. These Community Organisations are:
- Men’s Matters
- Slough Seniors Citizens Group
- Asian Carers Group.
After the funded period we expect people to be more resilient and independent – taking themselves off in friendship groups to activities including exercise, social, day trips, shopping, appointments etc. People will continue to attend sessions in the various groups they choose, and pay for activities because they will have come to value them.