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  • Help and support

Older people and isolation

Need

Minority ethnic older people in the borough need more accessible, local and affordable daytime opportunities for social integration to address problems of isolation.

Evidence

  • The 2010 and 2011 reports by the local Age Concern have highlighted: increased isolation felt by older people from minority ethnic communities whose first language is not English, high levels of deprivation amongst these communities and insufficient services and facilities to support them.
  • A consultation meeting organised last year by the ABC Active Communities Association, and attended by 25 minority ethnic older people, identified that they would welcome more opportunities for social contact and activities outside the home to improve their mental and physical well-being.
  • 15 potential volunteers from local BME communities were consulted by the ABC Active Communities Association in autumn 2011 about their motivations for volunteering and what they would like to get out of the project. This showed they wanted work experience and the opportunity to gain skills and confidence.
  • Six months before this application a survey was conducted by Top Survey UK Ltd with minority ethnic older people who are not already a part of a regular social group to compile information on what kinds of services they need and the barriers that prevent them from accessing services. The survey was sent to 70 households of older people and was printed in relevant languages and the response rate was 50%. Findings from this indicated people wanted more social activities but experienced language and cultural barriers to accessing services.
  • Westminster Council's consultation in 2011 with 10 local stakeholders showed that other local organisations were struggling to engage older people from ethnic minority backgrounds as they could not provide the support required to overcome cultural and language barriers.
  • The most recent population projections from Westminster local authority show a higher than national average percentage of BME older people in the area.
  • The latest local authority action plan (dated 2011/12) includes a priority of helping older people remain independent and in their own homes.

The overall aim of the project

To improve the social integration of minority ethnic older people in the borough by reducing isolation and enabling them to maintain their independence.

Outcome(s) for the project

  • Minority ethnic older people report feeling less isolated as a result of accessing a range of social activities
  • Minority ethnic older people in the borough experience improved psychological and physical wellbeing that will help to maintain their independence
  • Project volunteers will gain confidence and new skills that will increase their ability to take up new training, educational or employment opportunities
  • Local statutory and voluntary agencies will increase their awareness of the cultural and language barriers of BME older people to help them plan and deliver more appropriate daytime services.

Tracking progress

Outcome

Indicator

Indicator level

Timescale

Minority ethnic older people report feeling less isolated as a result of accessing a range of social activities

The number of minority ethnic older people feeling less isolated

50 minority ethnic elders are accessing new social activities

By the end of each year

 65 minority ethnic older people state they have made new friends and connections

By the end of each year

A total of 150 minority ethnic elders in the borough state that they feel less isolated

By the end of the project

Minority ethnic older people in the borough experience improved psychological and physical well-being that will help to maintain their independence

The change in minority ethnic older people's feelings of psychological and physical well-being

10 in year one and 25 in years two and three demonstrate improved health through increased participation in health and fitness activities

By the end of each project year

25 older people attend day trips and state they feel more independent and confident going out and using transport

By the end of each project year

A total of 85 minority ethnic older people state that they feel happier and more motivated

By the end of the project

Project volunteers will gain confidence and new skills that will increase their ability to take up new training, educational or employment opportunities

Skills and confidence acquired by volunteers

10 volunteers will demonstrate improved basic skills such as planning, communication and IT through attending volunteer training sessions

By the end of each project year

10 volunteers demonstrate improved confidence through facilitating activity sessions for older beneficiaries

By the end of each project year

30 volunteers have taken up new training, education and/or employment opportunities

By the end of the project

Local statutory and voluntary agencies will increase their awareness of the barriers experienced by BME older people to help them plan and deliver more appropriate daytime services

Number of new culturally appropriate services developed

5 new culturally appropriate services developed

By the end of each project year

7 agencies report a better understanding of the barriers experienced by BME older people

By the end of the project

Activities

  • Older people receive at least one visit from a befriending volunteer a week
  • Hold weekly lunch club for at least 30 beneficiaries
  • 20 beneficiaries to attend exercise and computing classes every week
  • Recruitment, training and development of 15 volunteers, the majority of whom will be able to speak a relevant additional language
  • Hold four cultural awareness events/workshops for local statutory and voluntary sector daytime service providers.

Learning

The project learned that there were different levels of take up between men and women - which prompted them to find out more about why and to modify the project approach. Higher numbers of people volunteered than anticipated - which helped the project consider extending the services on offer and plan for the future, but also put some pressure on staff resources. Sharing learning with other organisations doing similar work helped them improve gender equality in their projects and plan better for volunteer manager roles.

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