Last year our Elders team were commissioned by Wandsworth Council to run a new Battersea Age Well service for older people. The overarching objective for the service is to support the creation of a Battersea neighbourhood in which older adults can live full lives as dynamic and contributing members of the community.
To do this the Age Well project has to reach previously unconnected older people within a limited financial budget. The Age Well Project (AWP) is therefore being constructed through co-produced activities and delivered by identifying and utilising community assets in a range of locations. It supports a wider drive within the borough to reduce the health inequalities prevalent within the neighbourhood and a corresponding reduction in the need for statutory Social Care provision in later life.
The contract awarded by WBC does not specify the means of delivering the service or specific KPI’s; but instead takes an innovative approach of requiring the provider, KLS, to undertake a Participatory Needs Assessment (PNA) to co-produce the delivery model with older people and valued partners in the Latchmere, St Mary’s Park and Queenstown wards.
Download and read the Participatory Needs Assessment report here: Battersea Age Well project – Participatory Needs Assessment report April21
The objectives of the PNA were three-fold to:
- Build a picture of community assets and existing services.
- Build a picture of the needs and interests of older people.
- Build relationships and networks with local elders and stakeholders.
The PNA began in spring of 2020 just before the first Covid-19 lockdown and, out of necessity, the methodology and project has evolved over the ensuing 12 months as a result of the impact of the pandemic. Throughout these adaptations the methodology adopted has been robust. It has included the following:
- A review of existing data and pertinent research material,
- a mapping exercise of community resources in 2020 and again in 2021,
- a focus group with older people pre pandemic and again in the hiatus during the summer of 2020,
- a focused discussion at Older Persons Provider Forum,
- Interviews with Enable Social Prescribers working in Battersea.
- Telephone and focus group interviews with 69 older residents in 2020,
- and a further 25 older people and 6 community stakeholders/partners in March 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic has not only influenced the methodology of the PNA but is also shaping the results that have emerged.
The effect of the pandemic and subsequent two lockdowns has impacted on peoples mental and physical health. With many older people, particularly within BAME communities in London, having lost friends and relatives or experienced the fear of loss and the fear for their own health; combined with the changes that the pandemic has made to how life is lived, new and sometimes urgent needs have appeared. Exacerbating the situation, many services and activities have been suspended and/or closed.
These new needs, our growing understanding of the complexity of leaving this pandemic, the likelihood of some requirement for continued social distancing in our immediate future and the potential for a third and fourth wave, combined with our current inability to accurately predict the end of the pandemic means that the project will need to continue to be informed by the pandemic response and adapt to the emergent needs and the constraints within which it can meet them.
It is also possible that the cost of the pandemic will impact adversely on funding as future opportunities will be shaped by the availability of funding pots to allow ideas and projects to be implemented.
Download and read the Participatory Needs Assessment report
It includes lots of data, insights, case studies and recommendations.
To find out more about the Age Well project please contact Kerry Hagger on [email protected] and 020 7223 2845.