Webinar on 27 October – join us as we share lessons from 10 years of holistic advice projects

Learning is a key part of our culture at Age UK and we use it to better shape our programmes with the Age UK Network. Pulling together 10 years of learning, evaluation and feedback from four holistic information and advice projects that many of you have worked with us on, we’ve produced a report which we hope will influence potential funders to support this crucial work.

To help bring the report to life and share some of those key lessons with you, we’ll be running a webinar on 27 October from 10-11am for the Age UK Network. You’ll have a chance to hear from the team managing these projects, a local partner or two about their experiences, and share your thoughts and experiences of this type of work.

You can use the following link to join the Teams webinar directly on the day.

Please email justin.butler@ageuk.org.uk for more information.

Cost of Living – Enquiry Codes

We have received a lot of feedback from local Age UKs on cost-of-living issues, including how many older people are coming to you for support in this area, or how it is presented as a concern when older people are seeking support for other issues.

Information & Advice teams have told us that they would value a way to capture these enquiries. Collecting this data will also support Age UK to campaign and influence at a national level for additional support for older people affected by the cost of living crisis.

Changes

As a result, we have now updated the enquiry codes, and have added a new Tier 1 code.

25 – Cost of Living

There is also a Tier 2 code underneath this.

25A – Cost of Living, Energy

We have aimed to keep this as straightforward as possible for now. Please feedback to us any further suggestions. We will review the codes at the next quarter (Q4, January – March 2023).

What do you need to do?

Systems

For Information & Advice Teams using Charitylog, this will appear in your possible enquiry codes from 29 September. There is no further action required to ensure this code is available for use.

For Information & Advice Teams using Salesforce, this will appear in your possible enquiry codes from 1 October. No further action is required.

For Information & Advice Teams using alternative systems. You will need to add this into your own systems. We understand that for some Partners it will not be possible to do this immediately. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact localstatistics@ageuk.org.uk

Use of the New Code

The below is rough guidance, and we will look to refine this over the coming months as the code is used. We suggest using the code for cases where you feel it is appropriate.

The Tier 1 code (25 – Cost of Living) should be added to cases where the older person:

  • Expresses concern about the cost of living and their ability to pay bills, afford shopping or any other expenses
  • Identifies the cost-of-living crisis as a reason for their enquiry

The Tier 2 code (25A – Cost of Living, Energy)

  • Identifies energy prices as a reason for their enquiry
  • Expresses concern about energy prices
  • Will be unable to pay an energy bill without support

Questions and Feedback

If you have any questions or feedback please contact localstatistics@ageuk.org.uk

Learning and Resources from the Ageing Better Programme

Ruth Bamford, Learning Lead for Ageing Better at The National Lottery Community Fund, shares some of the impact from their Ageing Better programme.

The National Lottery Community Fund’s Ageing Better programme was a seven-year, £87 million programme designed to test different ways of improving the lives of people over 50 by addressing social isolation and loneliness within local communities. The programme was delivered by 14 place-based partnerships across England.

In this article, Ruth Bamford, Learning Lead for Ageing Better at The National Lottery Community Fund, shares below some of the impact from their Ageing Better programme, as well as highlighting the importance of delivering a person-centred approach when addressing loneliness and social isolation.

Reach, key learning and impact

During the programme’s seven-year duration, more than 150,000 people over the age of 50 engaged in Ageing Better. It was especially effective at engaging groups particular risk of experiencing loneliness and social isolation, including older people from the LGBTQ+ community, as well as from ethnic minority backgrounds.

To ensure learnings and evaluation from across the programme is available, The National Lottery Community Fund recently published the Ageing Better Programme: Summative Report and the Ageing Better: Impact Evaluation Report.

The Summative Report provides a comprehensive overview of the programme and shares key learnings and recommendations. It highlights the importance and impact of involving people through co-production, adopting a ‘warm welcome’ approach, and working in partnership across sectors.

The programme’s Impact Report shows that Ageing Better had a measurable impact overall on participants’ wellbeing and levels of social contact. Our qualitative research also identified improvements in people’s confidence and in their sense of being in control of their lives, together with increased resilience. We found that being involved in Ageing Better and engaging in groups and activities enabled people to broaden their social networks, so “buffering” them from the impact of additional life events.

We talk about our Ageing Better national learning in terms of context, connections and ecosystem. These three interconnected segments build a picture of the macro and micro factors, services and support systems that help us to better understand loneliness and social isolation in people aged over 50. More information about this can be found in our Tenets of Ageing Better  paper, but here we will focus on the importance of building connections and delivering a person-centred approach.

The importance of connections and a person-centred support

We know that understanding someone’s unique situation is key to engaging with them as an individual because no “one size fits all”! By identifying the reasons why someone may be struggling to make connections, recognising their strengths, and taking a holistic person-centred approach, we can better understand a person’s specific situation and thereby tailor support accordingly. We learnt that where isolation was embedded and entrenched, people needed to be given some level of one-to-one support to help address their isolation.

Changing a person’s situation takes time, often involves skilled professionals and a broad network of multiple different agencies. Triage diagnosis and one-to-one support has been a key part of the work – identifying any priorities such as mental health support or financial issues before being able to go on and look at improving an individual’s social connections.

For example, Age Better in Sheffield and Ambition For Ageing in Greater Manchester provided one to one sessions in budgeting and financial coaching to improve people’s financial literacy. Ageless Thanet delivered a “Life Planning” service which not only included financial planning, but also wider “wrap around” support such as links with befriending services.

A key approach within Ageing Better has been to help to identify an individual’s barriers and then work with them towards achieving their personalised set of goals. Every person’s outcome will vary, with the journey out of social isolation and loneliness being different for everyone. For some, support results in improved wellbeing, but for others either their situation will not change fundamentally, or their physical decline will continue. Valuing and respecting these different end points is a crucial element of working in a person-centred way.

Creating a “Warm Welcome”

Through Ageing Better, we’ve learnt that you can’t engineer friendship, but that there is a lot you can do to facilitate or create an environment where connections and natural friendships can develop. A community that has a wide range of activities that people want to take part in creates an environment where people can feel connected. The activities themselves act as the “hook” for people wanting to get engaged and involved, which then builds confidence and allows people to make those vital natural friendships.

The Ageing Better Camden partnership, led by Age UK Camden, developed the “Warm Welcome” approach, building on what local older people were telling them about how to make community groups as welcoming as possible and how important it was. A range of factors were identified through this, including meeting and greeting, ensuring opportunities for social interaction and relationship building, facilitation and fostering a sense of community. The resulting Warm Welcome toolkit and guide is a great resource.

Legacy of Ageing Better

Since it launched in 2015, the programme has contributed a wealth of learning, evidence and practical guidance to support organisations interested in addressing loneliness and social isolation among people over 50. We’re continuing to support our partnerships to share their learning and expertise by funding Good Practice Mentors in all Ageing Better partnerships, and a full suite of evidence and learnings taken from the programme can be found on the Ageing Better page on The National Lottery Community Fund’s website.

If you’d like to hear more about our work, or link up with a Good Practice Mentor, please get in touch with Ruth at ruth.bamford@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk.

Older people’s views on the ongoing impact of Covid on the delivery of Age UK Services 

Highlights of the conversations Age UK has had with older people on their Services Sounding Board about their feelings on face-to-face services.

In recent months, the data and feedback we have collected from local Age UKs has indicated that there remains some reluctance on the part of older people to engage in face-to-face interaction, either in their home or at another venue. In light of this, we spoke to the Age UK Services Sounding Board about this issue to gather their views and help inform our next steps. You can view the highlights of this conversation below.

The Services Sounding Board is a group of older people, from different locations across England, who represent seldom-heard voices (for example carers, people from a range of ethnic minority groups, people with disabilities, people whose first language is not English).

The conversation at the Sounding Board provided useful insight, a few highlights summarised below: 

  • Many older people have lost confidence and remain concerned about the risks around Covid. One person said “fear can easily become a habit”.
  • People think more carefully before leaving the house. Following Covid, they realise what is possible without needing to go out so, if it isn’t essential, they may choose not to.
  • For some people, there is a reluctance to use public transport and risk being exposed to Covid, but for those who don’t have a car, it is more difficult to get out and about.
  • There was no consensus from the group as to what steps in relation to Covid should or shouldn’t be taken in order to keep people safe. For example, some people stated that use of hand sanitiser is essential, others felt it was useful in general hygiene but has minimal impact on the spread of Covid.
  • Where services are taking steps to keep people safe from Covid, they should ensure this is clear so people know in advance of coming along to any activity.  
  • Messaging could come from the facilitator of the relevant service/activity to demonstrate a personal awareness of the issues.
  • The group felt that there is a lack of clear messaging about how to stay safe. Many people have remained mindful of the “stay at home” message, which has remained one clear way to protect yourself. The mixed messages about other aspects of Covid safety have led to confusion and caution as a result. 

The feedback from the group has been shared with the Age UK Content team and Age UK’s Covid information and messaging will be reviewed as a result. We hope that the feedback above is useful for in considering any steps that can be taken to encourage older people to access services in-person (where this is beneficial for them).  

If you have any additional feedback or comments, or would like to discuss this further, please contact Alison Ingram – alison.ingram@ageuk.org.uk.  

New resources to help your organisation prepare for your Charity Quality Standard assessment

View template documents and introductory videos to the Charity Quality Standard (CQS) that you can share with your employees, volunteers, and Boards.

Following requests from local Age UKs at our ‘Introduction to the CQS webinars’, we have developed template documents that you can personalise and give to your employees, volunteers and trustees to describe the Charity Quality Standard (CQS) and the type of questions that the assessor may want to explore with them. We have also created a video introduction to the CQS which may be useful. Please read on for full details of both resources.

The template documents can be found on the right hand side of the page here.

To see the video that provides a full introduction to the CQS and how it will be assessed, please click here.

The video talks you through each element of the Standard and assessment process in detail and provides links to the guidance. Also featured are FAQs from the webinar sessions so you can hear the answers to the questions raised.

If you’re having any trouble accessing the loop to view the links above, please email theloop@ageuk.org.uk.

Age UK’s new external newsletter – The Bulletin

Age UK are launching a new external newsletter “The Bulletin” to help members of the public to stay up to date on our latest news and work. Find out full details below.

Next week, Age UK will be launching a brand-new monthly email newsletter called the Bulletin. This external newsletter will help members of the public to stay up to date with our latest news and work. This is a quick note to let you know about the new update, including how to sign up ahead of next Wednesday’s first edition if you wish. Find out full details below.

Why we are launching this newsletter

The Bulletin will showcase the work that Age UK does, from our information and advice services to our campaigns work, our volunteering opportunities and much more.

Highlights in the September edition of the Bulletin include:
  • Making older people’s voices heard – learn more about how we’ve been gathering older people’s priorities for the new Prime Minister.
  • Discover – we speak to author and geriatrician Dr Lucy Pollock about how to demystify ageing, medicine for older people, and why we must never forget to have fun.
  • Information and advice – we share information on common scams and where to get help if you do get scammed.
  • Age UK volunteering  find out why Age UK needs volunteers and how you can help

How to sign up for the Bulletin

Although the Bulletin is aimed at members of the public, local Age UK staff and volunteers are very welcome to subscribe too!

To sign up to receive the newsletter please click here and follow the instructions below.

Please fill in your name and email address and then select the ‘How we help’ option on the newsletter sign up page (pictured below).

Once this is complete and you’ve clicked the submit button at the end of the page, you will have completed the sign-up process.

Get in touch!

The first edition of The Bulletin will be going live to members of the public next week, on Wednesday 7 September.

If you know of anyone at your organisation who you think would also be interested in receiving the newsletter, please encourage them to sign up.

If you would like to find out more about the newsletter, please email: Padraig.OHalloran@ageuk.org.uk.

Responding to the cost of living crisis – Free HR support

A reminder that Stephens Scown, who provide the HR Express service, are here to provide free HR advice to local Age UKs.

With the cost of living crisis requiring our organisations to make some difficult decisions about managing increasing costs and how to support our employees through this difficult time, Stephens Scown, who provide the HR Express service free of charge to local Age UKs, is emphasising the importance of seeking sound advice to support that decision making.

If you’re not already signed up for the service, or pay for employment advice from elsewhere and are looking to cut costs, they encourage you to get in touch. Details of their offer can be found here.

You can also call them on 03300 945314 or email hre@stephens-scown.co.uk – They would be delighted to help.

Press Release: Age UK responds to OFGEM’s announcement that the price cap will rise by 80%

A statement from Age UK’s Charity Director Caroline Abrahams, following OFGEM’s announcement that the price cap will rise by 80% to £3,549 from 1st October 2022.

Age UK has released a statement this morning, following OFGEM’s announcement that the price cap will rise by 80% to £3,549 from 1st October 2022. You can read the full response, including a statement from Age UK’s Charity Director Caroline Abrahams, below.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said:

“Although the ballpark figure for the new price cap had been trailed in advance, there will be many older people for whom today’s announcement is completely new and a huge shock. Millions of pensioners will now be coming to terms with the reality of what it means for them: the prospect of trying somehow to get through the autumn and winter with prices soaring and yet with very little flex in their fixed incomes. It’s a truly frightening prospect and one that most could not have prepared for, and never expected to face at this point in their lives. I think a lot of older people will be utterly bewildered that it has come to this and will also feel badly let down, and I can’t say I blame them.

“The new Prime Minister must make their first act providing additional support for the millions of households in our country whom rising inflation is set to overwhelm, among them many pensioners. We are fast approaching a national emergency which will leave a significant proportion of the population unable to afford even a basic standard of living. Every day older people are telling us how scared they are; they need urgent reassurance from the Government that they will not abandon them.

“It’s later than the Government thinks: we understand that there is essentially a transition underway between one Prime Minister and the next, but every day the economic forecasts seem to worsen and yet there is no clear word from the centre about how they will respond. Unfortunately, this is increasing the sense of insecurity many older people feel.

“That’s why the new Government must act quickly to give older people hope and confidence. In the meantime, it would be extremely helpful if both candidates made it clear that they will stand by those with most to fear from soaring inflation, among them many pensioners, over the difficult months to come.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK

As a matter of urgency, Age UK is calling on the Government to:

  • Provide a significant new package of financial support which will fully mitigate the impact of these price rises for vulnerable consumers
  • Help those older people who are at greatest risk of missing out on energy support, particularly the around 1 million older households with a pre-payment meter, those living in park homes, those who are ‘off grid’, care home residents and people without access to the internet
  • Reassure older people in Northern Ireland that help will reach them despite the lack of a sitting Assembly
  • Keep their promise to reinstate the triple lock in April 2023
  • Introduce a social tariff into the energy market which discounts bills for those most in need, automatically enrols eligible households, sits alongside existing support and is mandatory for all suppliers
  • Help insulate vulnerable consumers from spiralling energy bills by investing in household energy efficiency for those on the lowest incomes
  • Age UK is urging older people to call its free national advice line on 0800 169 65 65 before turning the heating down or off, to check they are receiving all the financial support available to them, including key benefits such as Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance. In addition, energy suppliers have a duty to offer support if people are struggling with bills or debt, so the Charity is urging people to contact their supplier directly to ask about available support including an affordable repayment plan.

Impact of Covid-19 on Older People – 4th wave research report & fact sheet

Age UK’s Health Influencing Team have shared the report, presentation, and polling data for the fourth wave of their research into the impact of Covid-19 on older people.

The Health Influencing team are pleased to share the fourth wave of research into the impact of Covid-19 on older people. The latest research, conducted in March and April 2022, has shown a slight improvement across many areas of life, but nowhere near as much as we would have expected or liked to see. View the full research report, along with slides and the polling stats, below.

Please note that the results from our research have not been published yet by Age UK, so we request that these are only used for bids and presentations to aide local health and care system influencing, not local media or for open publication. If you have any questions, please contact Healthinfluencing@ageuk.org.uk.

Access the report, the slides, and the polling stats:


View the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd waves of research:


Get in touch!

If you have any questions, please contact Healthinfluencing@ageuk.org.uk.

Updated I&A Resources for Service Managers

There’s lots of new guidance for Service Managers on the I&A Hub on the loop, find out full details below.

We’ve recently updated some of the guidance in the I&A Hub on the loop. More information on this can be found in the upcoming September issue of the Inform & Advise newsletter, which you can sign up for here if you wish. The following three sections have been highlighted for Signpost as they may also be more widely relevant to other services that you provide:

Dealing with distressed or challenging clients and supporting your advisers

This section now includes guidance on how to deal with suicidal clients and a tips document for dealing with distressed or challenging clients.


Diversity and inclusion training and resources

A new section detailing training and resources available via Age UKs various training platforms and other external providers on a range of diversity and inclusion topics.


Working with clients with learning difficulties and mental health conditions – training and resources

A new section detailing training and resources available via Age UKs various training platforms and other external providers on working with clients with either learning difficulties or mental health problems.


Trouble accessing the loop?

If you’re having trouble accessing the loop, you may need to use the access code qwerty123 otherwise do get in touch at theloop@ageuk.org.uk.

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