Honouring Older People Events
Through the Honouring Older People Events (HOPE, 2012) model we lead and facilitate door to door outreach in targeted areas of need; where vulnerable older people who are thought to be living in isolation are residing. This is achieved in conjunction with a strong network of partners such as the Police and other Local Authorities, Charities, Churches, Colleges and Agencies who share the same goal to reduce feelings of chronic loneliness among the older population. Utilising the HOPE model we work together with local agencies to map where older people are residing. The HOPE model enables us to personally hand deliver invitations to older people whose lives we aim to honour. This is undertaken in a safe and structured way.
Through the provision of transport we help individuals (who might otherwise struggle to attend events due to mobility issues) to become more socially included. We also provide free RSVP envelopes. At the event(s) our guests are made to feel welcome, honoured and respected. Every two/three individuals are matched with a trained volunteer host who is responsible for engaging with older people, enabling individuals to express their views about needed service provision and signpost to local appropriate services. The aim is to help people connect with local activities, groups, lunch clubs, advocacy and befriending services.
April 2016 door to door outreach in partnership with the Brighton and Hove City Council Partnership Team and the Seniors Housing Team at Brighton and Hove City Council.
May 2015 door to door outreach in partnership with Sussex Police, Center Church Brighton, LifeLines, the FED for Independent Living, St Vincent de Paul Society and volunteers from the Community.
Honouring Older People Events (HOPE)
Honouring Older People Event July 2015.
HOPE model overview:
In 2012 Church on the Rock (now known as Center Church of which the committee are all members) hosted and facilitated two large scale events in East Brighton. The aim was to honour the lives of the elders in our community. We wanted to ensure that people were aware of local service provision available to them. We also took the opportunity to ask each guest what they would like from their community. The results highlighted an over arching need for 'time to talk' with a like-minded person hence the development of the Time to Talk Befriending service.
The success of both events was largely due to the door to door outreach we undertook to 1000 homes in East Brighton. Working in partnership with LifeLines and Age UK Brighton and Hove we mapped out where older people who were not known to services were living.
As outlined above our aim was to invite older people to a very special event which sought to honour their lives and provide the opportunity to signpost to services. We also wanted to give people the chance to express their views about service provision they felt was needed from the community.
Through our existing link with local agencies we were able to provide Freepost RSVP envelopes and crucial funding which enabled us to enlist the support of Community Transport and the Age UK Brighton and Hove mini bus to transport our guests.
Over thirty volunteers were specifically trained to host tables at the events - a number of whom were second year social work students. Their sole purpose was to make our guests feel welcome and to facilitate conversation so that we could signpost guests to services and obtain their views about the service provision they would like to access.
In our experience it is the combination of door to door contact, an invitation to a special event, free-post RSVP envelopes, transport and volunteer hosts that made the afternoon of friendship building, traditional afternoon tea, singing and the 'memories of day's gone by' presentation a huge success.
We received extremely positive feedback about the two Honouring Older People Events - not only from the guests who attended but volunteers, churches, and local agencies as well. For example 30-40 older people from the last HOPE event still attend a monthly singing session that Centre Church hosts at a local sheltered housing scheme. Guests are also invited to attend social events through the Church which is well received.
Since the development of HOPE we have formed strong partnerships with local agencies including the Sussex Police who have agreed to work collaboratively with Time to Talk Befriending on city-wide outreach utilising the tried and tested HOPE model.
HOPE Future Aims
To pay tribute to the elders of our community through the development of 'Honouring Older People Event's'.
Continue to develop strong links with individuals, organisations and Churches across Brighton and Hove who are working towards the same goal to connect with older people who live in hard to reach areas of the City.
Work in partnership with the Sussex Police and local agencies to map where older people who could be living in isolation are residing.
Train and encourage a team of dedicated volunteers recruited to go door to door (in a safe and structured way) within the areas of Brighton and Hove where there is a large proportion of older people thought to be living in isolation.
The aim is to invite them to a special Honouring Older People Event (afternoon tea, music and entertainment), provide free RSVP response forms and transport to and from the venue.
Recruit and train volunteer hosts for each table for the event. Hosts will be responsible for ensuring that the HOPE guests feel honoured and welcome, learn about local services and are given the opportunity to express their views about their own need for support/service provision.
Invite inspirational guest speakers and local agencies to attend - promoting the good work across the City and encourage older people to connect - not only with services but with each other - something that we saw happening at both of the HOPE events we organised in 2012.
Inspire other communities - especially Churches across the UK to utilise the HOPE model. The overall aim is to help older people feel valued and connected with society rather than forgotten and shut away behind closed doors.