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Older People's Services

Projects to Reduce Loneliness and Isolation


The Southville Community Development Association has an aspiration to work with various partners, particularly organisations and groups within the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership (GBCP) but particularly members of our community to reduce loneliness and isolation for older people in the BS3 area. As part of this we are currently involved with a number of initiatives both in the Southville/Bedminster area as well as across the city which we feel have the potential to improve outcomes for older people within our community, especially those who are, or are at risk of becoming, isolated and/or lonely. We are pleased to be involved in, and offer our continued support to various projects.

Here's a bit more about some of the other projects we are involved with:

Research into our local area:

Productive Margins; regulation for engagement

Productive Margins is a Bristol and Cardiff Universities research project (linked to the Connected Communities Programme). The Productive Margins: Regulating for Engagement research programme is a co-produced research project comprising the Bristol and Cardiff Universities, community organisations and social enterprises in Bristol and South Wales. Its aim is to co-produce new forms of engagement in decision-making.

With the support of academics from the University of Bristol we are working with a small group of older people from the local community to co-produce research to understand issues around isolation and loneliness of our older residents.

Would you be interested in taking part in a research interview? We are a group of people made up of members of the community, researchers from the University of Bristol and professionals from the Southville Community Development Association. We would like to invite people aged 50+ who live in the Greater Bedminster area to take part in a research project that is exploring the loneliness of older members of our community.

We want to think about how we can improve things to help people feel connected to their local area and friends and family. We also want to hear about things that are good in our area, what helps older people feel connected to their friends and family and their local area? Do you have any ideas about how life can be improved for older people locally?

So, if you are aged over 50 we would love to hear from you!



Our Place pilot

The SCDA was the lead organisation for the DCLG-funded (Department of Communities & Local Government) GBCP ‘Our Place’ pilot project that we focused on reducing isolation and loneliness of older people in the Greater Bedminster area.

The project involved a wide range of organisations, including Bristol City Council, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, the University of Bristol, UWE, a wide large number of voluntary and community organisations as well as a great many older residents.

Although the funding for the Our Place project ended in March, 2014 the idea and goals of that project have been retained by the GBCP and much of the work of the GBCP partners has an impact on reducing isolation and loneliness of older people.

Below are some of the achievements from the Our Place work to date:

OPAG - Older People's Action Group

Our Place funding (see above) in BS3 supported the formation of the ‘Older People’s Action Group’ (OPAG), which consisted of local older people who talked to a large number of other older residents to explore what it is like to grow old in the Greater Bedminster area, identify issues and work towards identifying possible solution.

The older people within OPAG received a huge level of learning about isolation and loneliness, older people’s issues and co-production through a series of workshops hosted by experts, visits to ‘best-in-class’ services, attendance of conferences and via other routes, which enabled them to develop their understanding and their own expertise around the subject.

The OPAG members also got involved in a wide range of activities and initiatives, from talking to other older people on the streets and in the pensioner-preferred tower blocks to developing and supporting a regular coffee/lunch-time meeting at the local Wetherspoons, being part of the Productive Margins ILOP project see above) and being heavily involved in the development of a highly successful ‘Style Show’ that was delivered at the city-wide Celebrating Age Festival at the MShed in September, 2015.

The OPAG has since disbanded; however, individuals within it continue to be actively involved in a great many things that are helping to make the Greater Bedminster area a great place to grow old.

Social Prescribing

The SCDA facilitated the development of a social prescribing service between the ‘Bedminster 5’ (five GP surgeries that service the Greater Bedminster population) and RSVP (a local charity). This is for those GP surgery patients who, it is felt, would benefit from enhanced social interactions (as opposed to additional medication). The individual is provided with a ‘social prescription’ as an introduction to a RSVP Wellbeing Guide who gets to know the person and helps them to access different activities, clubs, events, etc that they would like to take part in and be a part of; thereby helping to support the person back into meaningful and enjoyable social interactions.

Our Place & mini-conferences

There have been two "Our Place: Making an Age-Friendly Neighbourhood" mini-conferences in 2015. The first took place at the Southville Centre on Thursday 12th Feb 2015 from 9am-1pm (you can read more about that and see some of the initial Our Place research outputs HERE). The second OPAG Our Place event was held on Tuesday 29th September at Tobacco Factory Theatre (information HERE).


Shared Well Bristol

The SCDA is a member of the ‘Engine Room’ that is driving forwards the development of ‘Shared Well Bristol’; an innovative and novel approach which puts people at the heart of their own health and wellbeing rather than having people ‘fit’ into health and wellbeing services that are offered by/available from organisations.

This approach is also being developed in other parts of the country such as Leeds and Cardiff; currently a Bristol approach is being developed and trialled in order to identify the benefits and issues before it is developed more widely.

Bristol Ageing Better

Bristol Ageing Better (BAB) is a partnership of individuals and organisations working together to reduce isolation and loneliness amongst older people in Bristol.

In July 2013 Bristol was shortlisted as one of 32 local authority areas to apply for between £3m and £6m for projects lasting 2-6 years. The Bristol Ageing Better (BAB) partnership was formed and Age UK Bristol were appointed as the lead organisation in October 2013 after a lengthy consultation process with older people and VCS organisations.

BAB is governed by a Programme Board with members drawn from the partnership including voluntary, statutory and private sector organisations plus older people well placed to understand the broader issues and context of reducing loneliness and isolation. The wider BAB Partnership has over 100 140 older people and organisations signed-up to help develop the Vision & Strategy.

The SCDA have, and continue to support the development and implementation of BAB throughout the city, but particularly within the Greater Bedminster area.