Following a busy six months, the Good Practice Mentors thought that the changing of the seasons would be a great time to take stock, take a breath and re-introduce ourselves! Some of you may know us well and some of you not at all. Read on to refresh your memory or find out about the programme.
The Good Practice Mentor programme is an innovative national partnership born out of the seven-year Ageing Better programme.
Throughout Ageing Better, each of our partners used a test and learn approach to explore how to create connected and joyful spaces and opportunities for older people. And now, our mentors are here to share that tried and tested knowledge, learning and resources.
Our four partners are dispersed throughout the country, and have a wide range of learning to share from varied communities. They are South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA), Leeds Older People’s Forum, Age UK Camden and Torbay Communities.
Together, we offer a wide range of free training and bespoke support for your organisation. We can also be a sounding board to share your challenges and ideas with – it’s likely we’ve encountered similar experiences, and we’re here to help you to overcome issues and meet your goals. We focus on providing practical tools to help you make real change, and offer mentoring for small and independent organisations.
Jennie and Vicky, the mentors from SYHA, bring the Stronger Together Co-production toolkit to the partnership. This toolkit was curated with all 14 national Ageing Better partners and is based around various themes that can be specially selected and tailored according to organisational needs. The toolkit aims to support organisations to begin or further their co-production journey. SYHA also supports organisations to empower and involve the older people they work with.
Jo from Age UK Camden is our resident community outreach specialist. Her support includes sessions and bespoke training around how to reach older people that typically don’t engage in formalised groups or activities – the people that consider community groups to be ‘not for me’. Her support includes really practical tips around communications and reducing barriers to participation.
If you are currently supporting older people in your groups, then Jessica at Leeds Older People’s Forum is the mentor for you. Jessica is here to support organisations to ensure that their groups and activities are truly fit for purpose. She can share knowledge around the importance of a warm welcome, and how to ensure that groups remain inclusive. Her webinars around loneliness, isolation and ageism can also help you to understand the experiences of some older people.
Throughout the pandemic, Torbay Communities created a community ‘front door’ phone line which relied on a partnership-based community ecosystem. Our mentor Simon now has a wealth of knowledge to share around how to adopt a strengths-based approach to community working – looking at what is strong, and not what is wrong. Simon can also support organisations through the evaluative process of Ripple Effect Mapping, which helps to identify the unintended or overlooked consequences of change.
If any of the support available from the GPM programme sounds useful to you, it is funded and available now! We offer an introductory call to any organisations who simply want to find out more, and we can explore the support that is available and could be most helpful. To arrange a call, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also have a whole host of free online sessions, and you can sign up on our Eventbrite page. Our events include taster sessions for a more detailed introduction to the programme, and sessions about specific topics and training.
We hope to hear from you soon to share our good practice around how to reach, involve and connect with older people.
Bluebell Evans, Programme Co-ordinator