Best sustainable travel initiative - Community

Living Streets - Ageing Better

The Ageing Better project seeks to reduce social isolation and test new approaches to improve services for older people. There are 10.8m people aged 65 or over in the UK. Of those, 3.8m live alone, and 1m say they feel lonely. These projections are due to increase with our ever ageing population. Living Streets has been testing how walking initiatives can reduce isolation; in two areas. Leicester Ageing Together is focused on five wards: Belgrave, Evington, Thurncourt, Spinney Hills and Wycliffe. Living Streets’ Age Better in Sheffield is focused on two wards; Beauchief and Greenhill and Burngreave. They were identified by older people through the prevalence of risk factors associated with social isolation. Living Streets carried out Community Street Audits to understand and communicate barriers to walking for older people and engage them in decisions affecting their environment. Living Streets is also delivering regular walks and encouraging older people to walk together.

Local Authority contact details

East Midlands and Yorkshire Julia Crear - Regional Director South Jenny Wiles – Regional Director North Living Streets 4th Floor Universal House 88-94 Wentworth Street London E1 7SA

Who was involved & what was their role?

Living Streets is the key delivery partner for walking interventions and Community Street Audits (CSAs) in both projects. In Leicester, Project Coordinator Sallie Butt delivers weekly led walks, litter picks and CSAs in the 5 ward areas. In Sheffield, Project Coordinator Annie Russell delivers regular local walks, CSAs and workshops in the 2 ward areas.

Details of cost budget, sources of funding

Big Lottery Age Better in Sheffield – the Living Streets project = £37.5k (including staff costs) which has been funded via the lead delivery organisation, South Yorkshire Housing Association. Big Lottery Ageing Better Together Consortium, Leicester. The Living Streets project was awarded £201,000 in 2015 including £20k for street improvements. The final project year to December 2017 = £49,767

How was it developed?

Both projects were developed as ‘test and learn’ initiatives, based on previous Living Streets’ experience of delivering a Big Lottery funded project called Streets Apart, which engaged older people in South Yorkshire. That project found that, of 150 participants questioned, as a result of increased walking: • 80% felt less stressed or anxious • 79% felt fitter or healthier • 71% felt less lonely and isolated • 55% felt more connected and involved with their communities The two projects took this earlier work as a starting point and developed tailored programmes of activity, based on tried and tested approaches, but ensuring that the exact nature of the work was developed with, and in response to, the needs of older people in the local areas. For example, in Sheffield a Focus Group was set up, which enabled older people to work with the coordinator to develop and steer the project from the start.

What was the outcome, including information on future plans - one-off, on-going, develop further?

We’ve helped older people feel less isolated and more actively involved in their communities through walking. In Leicester we identified barriers to older people walking and through a CSA installed a footpath that leads from a retirement home to a local park. We encouraged older people to walk together which, in cases, has reduced blood pressure levels, increased fitness and enabled one man with Alzheimer’s to get out and walking. The project continues to December 2017. In Sheffield, participant John has become fitter and discovered local places to go and socialise, which he says is really important. Sheffield City Council has started to make improvements recommended in our CSA, such as fallen down walls being re-built and handrails being smoothed and repainted. Residents feel like they have finally been listened to and say the results feel like ‘a pat on the back’. The project is funded until October 2017 and is seeking further funding to develop the work that has taken place so far.

How does this initiative or project meet the criteria?

• Innovative or creative – these projects took tried and tested Living Streets approaches and applied them to a new target group of older people, in new locations, adapting with their feedback. • Shows engagement and involvement with target group – both projects have actively involved older people in ensuring the approaches are tailored to meet the needs of older people. Volunteers and partner organisation have also been actively involved. • Involves a joined up approach – both projects are part of larger programmes, where a range of projects work closely to create a big impact. This includes older people being actively ‘referred’ between projects so that they can access the support that works best for them. • Identifies barriers and provides solutions to allow target audience to travel more sustainably – both projects use the proven CSA tool to identify and overcome barriers to walking.

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