Winners of the Ageing Well challenge prize announced
Daily headlines are bursting with statistics about the UK’s ageing population and the impact on people, services and loneliness. The UK needs radically different solutions – not just for the Winter Crisis of 2013-2014 but for the next thirty, forty and fifty years, says Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation.
Nesta, together with Cabinet Office, called for new ideas that would help reduce isolation in old age. Over 18 months, the Ageing Well challenge prize developed 25 concepts – proposed from community groups to established charities – and piloted five in regions from Exeter to Birmingham.
The piloted ideas ranged from a ‘radio club’ where participants chat live on air, a post-work networking club to help men redefine their retirement and a community café run by ‘Nanas’ for the local community.
Each idea put older people at the heart of the solution, rather than viewing them as beneficiaries alone. Participants in the projects reported feeling empowered and a sense of being valued.
Awarded a prize of £50,000 for demonstrating the biggest effect in reducing isolation among older people was NANA, a community café run by older ladies (‘Nanas’) in Clapton, London. Nanas involved in the pilot reported that interacting with other generations in the café environment made them feel valued.
Tris Dyson, director of Nesta’s centre for challenge prizes said: “Loneliness and isolation unfortunately is a reality for many elderly people in the UK all year round. Today’s older generation have such an important role to play in the community – we need solutions for the longer term, not just for the next few years. These piloted ideas are already making a real difference to people’s lives.”
Minister for Civil Socity Nick Hurd said: “This challenge has unearthed some great new ideas about how communities can come together to tackle the growing issue of isolation in old age, and provide opportunities for elderly people to use their skills in a rewarding way. We need more new approaches like these to support our ageing population, make better use of the wealth of resources within communities, and to help us all age better.”
Two additional grants of £25,000 each have been awarded to two runners up: Age UK’s Tools Company and Radio Club from Pargiter Trust.
Notes to editors