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Shared Lives Plus

Shared Lives carers share their own home and family life with an older or disabled person, as an alternative to traditional care services.

Shared Lives Plus is a radical form of care that centres on sharing “home, family and community life”. Its innovative approach sees Shared Lives carers share their own home and family life with an older or disabled person, as an alternative to traditional care services.

10,000 people in England currently benefit from Shared Lives arrangements, many of whom say they feel less isolated, make real friendships and participate more in community life as a result.

Shared Lives Plus has been awarded £351,866 and a further £1.4m from Big Lottery Fund to help fund ambitious plans to double the number of people living in Shared Lives arrangements over the next five years. This follows an initial grant of £141,000 in April 2013 to help prime Shared Lives Plus for growth, including increasing capacity in the central team.

As well as helping isolated and vulnerable people lead active and fulfilling lives, plans to double the number of people living in Shared Lives arrangements are also a boost to local authorities and the NHS, with the project offering potential savings of over £50m per year to council and care services.

Find out more: www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk/

The Green Gym

The Green Gym combines keeping fit with improving the environment, transforming volunteers' health and wellbeing while improving local areas.

The Green Gym encourages exercise and volunteering – by combining the two. Volunteers take part in outdoor activities which are specifically designed to provide a decent workout while also improving green spaces – such as building beds for community food-growing projects or planting trees.

In this way, it uses social action to achieve a ‘double win’ – improving people’s health and wellbeing while benefiting the environment. The projects also help to build social cohesion, bringing communities together to solve real problems.

The Green Gym is one of the core projects run by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), an established charity which engages volunteers in conservation work. TCV has been awarded an initial grant of £40,000 to conduct a strategic review, which will explore the feasibility of a variety of growth plans for the Green Gyms going forward.

Find out more: www.tcv.org.uk/greengym

North London Cares

North London Cares is a community network mobilising young professionals to support their older neighbours.

Through North London Cares, young professionals volunteer to support their older neighbours with their time, practical help, and friendship.  They aim to build relationships between people who might not normally interact, to tackle isolation, bridge social divides and bring communities closer together. 

In two and a half years NLC has mobilised 700 young people to work with 800 older neighbours in Camden and Islington, two of the most socially divided boroughs in the UK.

North London Cares have been awarded £131,000 funding will support North London Cares in their initial replication, to create South London Cares – a neighbouring sister organisation. They aim to subsequently build on this to scale their work to different urban areas around the country. 

Find out more: http:northlondoncares.org.uk and http://southlondoncares.org.uk

Rebuilding Connections by Social Finance

Social Finance has worked with care services and communities in Worcestershire to design a programme that reduces loneliness and improves well-being in older age; the CSA Innovation Fund will help scale this.

Reducing loneliness in older age and connecting people to their communities won’t just make a huge difference to people’s lives, it could also help to reduce pressures on public services.

The financial benefits of tackling loneliness have, up until now, been difficult to quantify, making it challenging to secure investment. Social Finance has worked with Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire and a range of public and community care and support services with commissioners across Worcestershire to tackle this challenge. Together they have developed a new service model with communities and social action at its core, and combined with a financing mechanism designed to achieve better outcomes and reduce risks for service commissioners.

The programme will identify lonely individuals, then match them with trained volunteers to help reconnect people with their communities, as well as facilitating a range of other peer support and social activities. The service is funded using a social impact bond, where payments from commissioners are only made when actual reductions in loneliness are achieved (measured through an accredited loneliness scale).

Social Finance has been awarded £220,000 to support the set-up and testing of the model in Worcestershire, and extend the evaluation beyond the main outcome of a reduction in loneliness to quantify the wider impact of the programme on health and social care usage. The pilot programme will initially aim to support 3,000 older people over the next three years, as well as developing open-source tools to help replicate this innovative approach in new areas.

Find out more: www.socialfinance.org.uk

The Silver Line

The Silver Line is a free, 24-hour telephone helpline for older people offering information, friendship and advice.

Set up by Esther Rantzen (founder of ChildLine) the Silver Line helpline aims to tackle loneliness and isolation among the generation that don’t want to be a burden to their families or friends.

The helpline is free of charge and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As well as offering callers a friendly chat, the helpline sign-posts to local groups and services, combats loneliness through a one-to-one regular phone befriending service and tackles problems of abuse and neglect. Volunteers (many of them older people) train to become Silver Line Friends and make the regular 1:1 calls, or lead 'Silver Circles' – group calls which may take the form of a book club, for example.

The Silver Line helpline has already received national media coverage and £5m funding from the Big Lottery Fund. The helpline has been awarded £79,000 to strengthen the social action element, specifically focused on enabling people to volunteer from home – supporting those hard to reach, home-based older volunteers to participate.

Launched in November 2013, the helpline expects to take up to a million calls a year, as well as recruiting 3,000 volunteers to befriend 12,000 older people in its first year.

Find out more: www.thesilverline.org.uk

Image credit: The Silver Line

­­­Integrated Care Pathway, by Age UK

The ‘integrated care pathway’ is a pioneering new way of delivering support for older people with long term conditions, led by Age UK.

The pathway enables Age UK staff and volunteers to support older people to achieve their personal goals and aspirations while working alongside GPs, nurses and other health and social care practitioners to provide a holistic care package uniquely designed around the older person. Volunteers also help older people reconnect with their communities. The model aims to improve health and wellbeing for older people, reduce hospital admissions, and increase quality of care.

In October 2014, Age UK was awarded £320,000 (including £25,000 for evaluation) to support pilot sites in Cornwall and Portsmouth. Age UK is simultaneously pursuing a fast-paced scaling strategy to take the approach to an additional four sites by 2016. 

Find out more at: www.ageuk.org.uk

Good Neighbours Scheme by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Council

Good Neighbour schemes are very localised support networks, harnessing and facilitating street-based, grassroots social action and building social capital within communities.

Bedfordshire Rural Communities Council currently supports a network of 40 Good Neighbours Schemes which provide low-level support via volunteers for anyone in need in a particular community, especially frail older people who are dependent on others to some degree for help with daily living.

In November 2014, Bedfordshire Rural Communities Council was awarded £129,200 (including £30,000 for evaluation) to support five new Rural Community Councils to replicate the model in their areas (with at least six new Schemes in each area).

It is working with ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) and the national network of 38 Rural Community Councils to mobilise at least 600 volunteers to support 1,000 neighbours through the programme.

While the concept behind a Good Neighbours scheme is not new, offering a unified, high quality Good Neighbours Scheme network at scale is. This award offers the opportunity to normalise a low cost, proven intervention.

Find out more at: http://voluntaryworks.org/brcc/bedfordshire-rural-communities-charity-brcc