Later Life is for Living: Final Evaluation Report
Transform Ageing, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, was a pioneering programme taking a community and design-led approach to improve people’s experience of ageing.
Key to the ethos of Transform Ageing was sharing our learning, and today we launch our final evaluation report from the programme. Our abridged report brings together learning shared throughout the programme - with new data from our final evaluation delivered by the Institute for Social Innovation and Impact, University of Northampton - on what worked and what we could do differently in the future.
As a result of the programme, social entrepreneurs:
- Reached 89,500 people in later life in the South West
- Generated £3.74 million in income each year
- Created 197 new jobs in the South West – 34 full time and 163 part time
- Engaged 818 volunteers in the delivery of their work.
- Furthermore, by using a design process which engaged people in later life, 46% of the social entrepreneurs we supported were people aged over 50.
Transform Ageing brought together people in later life, social entrepreneurs, and health and social care leaders to define, develop and deliver new solutions that better support the needs and aspirations of our ageing communities.
COVID-19 has shown how valuable and needed this approach is:
- People in later life have been particularly disadvantaged by COVID-19, including by being required to shield for extended periods of time. There is a need to consider new ways to combat potential social isolation – a key outcome of Transform Ageing.
- Likewise, people in later life need to be involved in decision-making about services and products that they will use – we learnt about how to meaningfully do this through the course of the programmme.
- Finally, given the localised nature of the pandemic, there is a need to develop place-based partnership with local decision makers.
This makes the learnings from Transform Ageing’s final evaluation even more relevant now to those considering undertaking or commissioning similar programmes.
The programme has been delivered through a partnership of Design Council, UnLtd, South West Academic Health Science Network and the Centre for Ageing Better. They brought together their specialisms on Transform Ageing, and their ongoing individual work builds on what we learnt from the programme.
“Design Council’s research on design for health and well-being has shown that community engagement is essential, not just finding out what communities want or need, but also supporting them to create change themselves. Transform Ageing has demonstrated that people can do things differently and improve their communities. The work we achieved in the south-west has led to Design Council receiving funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to develop and test the emergent concept of a Community Design Network programme, involving 20 diverse community groups or individuals across the UK”. -Cat Drew, Acting Joint Chief Executive, Design Council
“UnLtd continues to work in the healthy ageing sector and to support social entrepreneurs to make a positive difference to the experience of later life. We are taking the lessons from Transform Ageing and applying them in how and who we work with. We continue to offer support, funding and investment packages for ventures specifically developing products and services to improve quality of life for older adults, and reduce health inequalities. Thrive: Solutions for an Ageing Society, our social accelerator for helping ambitious social ventures to scale, offers support for established ventures. If you are a social entrepreneur with an idea to start or grow a business, you can also apply for our early stage funding and support.” -Roland Singer-Kingsmith, Impact Lead, UnLtd
“Transform Ageing is a great example of a cross-partnership initiative focused on achieving a common goal - improving the lives of older people in the South West. Tackling health inequalities is one of our three core COVID-19 programmes, and a focus of our Institute for Social Prescribing. We know that people in later life have been amongst the most disadvantaged by the pandemic. We’re therefore proud to have supported a project which aimed to improve people’s experience of ageing as this work became more relevant than ever, as the needs of this community increased, at the outset of COVID-19. I feel personally connected to the project, having seen this programme through from commissioning when I joined the SW AHSN/ first time around in 20XX through to now launching the Evaluation Report, which serves as a fine example of spreading innovative practice across the region through evaluation and learning.” -Jon Siddall, Chief Executive Officer, South West Academic Health Science Network
You can find out more about Transform Ageing, as well as learning and assets from the programme, here.
Charities & social enterprises: Transform Ageing
Social entrepreneurs are being challenged to ‘Transform Ageing’ in the South West
Transform Ageing is taking a design-led approach to enhancing people’s experience of ageing in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. It aims to give people in later life more choice and better services to improve their quality of life.
Following four launch events across the South West in April 2018, around 100 people attended in a series of four in-depth workshops at each location over the summer to ‘explore the challenge’. The groups included people in later life, social entrepreneurs and staff from local health organisations and councils.
The findings from the workshops were collated with further community research and ethnographic insight, and shaped into six ‘innovation briefs’. Innovators are being invited to come forward with solutions to meet the six challenges.
Their creative expertise will help people to remain independent, develop and maintain social connections, be better informed, build confidence and resilience to deal with life transitions, and offer better support for carers.
You can find out more about the programme on the Design Council website. To find out more about the innovation briefs and to apply, take a look at UnLtd's blog on the five things social entrepreneurs need to know about Transform Ageing.
Transform Ageing was awarded £3.65m from the Big Lottery Fund and is being delivered through a partnership led by Design Council, together with UnLtd - the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, the South West Academic Health Science Network, and the Centre for Ageing Better. It is also being supported locally on the ground by Volunteer Cornwall, Devon Communities Together, Community Council for Somerset and Torbay Community Development Trust.
Here are some of the comments from people who took part in the design workshops:
‘An excellent programme, thought-provoking and fast-paced.’
‘I think it was very useful to have a mix of older people and carers with professionals. It was good to hear each other’s views and thoughts.’
‘It has been very interesting being part of the design process.’