Age Well Report published

 

Creating a Community where Everyone can Age Well

As we age we are more likely to be faced with age-related conditions, increased isolation and challenges with physical and mental wellbeing. The Age Well report is the fifth in a series of reports published as companions to the North East Essex Community Assets Map. This new report, commissioned by the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance, aims to highlight the strength of the community through the nu-merous assets found across our six neighbourhoods in Tendring and Colchester.

‘Age Well’ has been put together by Community360 (C360), Community Voluntary Services Tendring (CVST) and Healthwatch Essex who have worked closely with residents, local groups and representatives from the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance. The aim was to identify several actions that could be taken to build on the strengths already present in our communities.

Examples drawn together in the report, offer an opportunity to reflect on what is working well, and what could be improved upon to reach those facing challenges to accessing available programmes. It highlights the varied nature of provision and the importance of this work to people in specific communities.

The report provides case studies and spotlights examples of good practice. It has a particular focus on people in later life and the people that care for them. Collectively, with the invaluable ‘Citizen’s Voice’ gained from one-to-one discussions, focus groups and interviews with people living in Tiptree in Colchester; Holland-on-Sea and Jaywick in Tendring, there are a number of enablers and barriers identified that affect accessibility to opportunities.

Currently, 23% of the local population is aged 65 or older; over 30 % of people over 65 years of age live alone and the number of people over 85 is set to increase by 49% across Suffolk and North East Essex in the next ten years, compared with a projection of 33% for England.

Ageing Well in North East Essex is supported by a breadth of voluntary and community organisations committed to enabling people to maintain their quality of life for longer, to engage in purposeful activity and connect into local networks. The report offers an opportunity to reflect on what is working well, and what could be improved upon to reach those facing challenges to accessing available programmes. It highlights the varied nature of provision and the importance of this work to people in specific communities, including the role of unpaid carers and the importance of volunteers in the community.

Louise Willsher, Strategic Head of innovation and Growth at Community360 said: “With the latest in our series of asset mapping reports, we have been able to work closely with residents, local groups and the representatives from the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance to identify a number of actions that can be taken to build on the strengths already present in our communities. The Age Well report is intended to act as a catalyst for encouraging people to take advantage of the opportunities available to them to support and enable older adults to live well in Colchester and Tendring. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the report and to the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance for funding this important project.”

A key finding from the report has highlighted how volunteering has emerged as a huge positive benefit to Ageing Well. From improving physical health to offering fulfilling and enjoyable experiences.

It gives people the opportunity to connect and listen, to make a positive impact on their communities and to meet new people, improving mood and increasing feeling of happiness and selfworth.

The latest report from NAVCA (National Association for Voluntary and Community Action), reported that people aged 65-74 were the most likely to formally volunteer.

At a meeting in Tendring with volunteers, 75% of those present at the meeting said that volunteering had improved their mental health; 50% said it had improved their physical health. For those in caring roles, volunteering offered an opportunity to have time for themselves and reduce their loneliness.

One volunteer said: “I am more than happy to help others when I can. Having been a teacher all my working life I understand how tricky it can be to be under constant pressure from people, their views, and government targets etc. I have sympathy with the NHS staff and their similar situation. I appreciated volunteer help when I was working and am happy to ‘give a little back’ now I am retired.”

Another said: “My choices are that I make the decisions where and when I volunteer. I volunteer because I enjoy helping and meeting people. I volunteer at C360 and St. Helena Hospice. It sounds a bit corny, but I am nothing special and enjoy people.

“I also volunteer for the RSPB at Old Hall Marshes Tollesbury, which is remote and has beautiful scenery, which is good for my well-being, as the pure pleasure I get from helping people benefits me immensely.”

Mark Shorter, Head of Transformation for the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance said: “The asset mapping report is a key milestone in our ambition for people to live as safely and independently as possible as they grow older. The report provides detailed insight into key enablers within our local area and most importantly, the voice of our population. The report, coupled with the key indicators, frameworks and action plans that the alliance partners have set, gives us the basis to form change for our population to age well.”

The North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance is committed to working within an ABCD approach ensuring work is done with, and not to, local people. Assets, as defined by the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) model, can be individuals, associations, institutions, places and spaces and connections. By understanding the Assets, local commissioners are better placed to support community organisations, build partnerships and consider funding options and community and voluntary sector organisations are better placed to grow their support to local people.

Read the full report here: Community Asset Mapping – CVS Tendring

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