Silver Comedy is a social enterprise that seeks to enrich the lives of older people through actively engaging them in comedy workshops and performances.
Silver Comedy workshops range from interactive sessions with games and improvisation, to sketch writing courses that often lead to live performances. They work throughout the UK, with partners like day centres, supported housing and care homes to encourage residents to have a laugh and feel more involved, which reduces isolation.
Silver Comedy also run a Stand Up Of The Year Competition for over 55s.
For more information see http://silvercomedy.co.uk/
Southwark Circle is a membership organisation that mobilises public, private and voluntary resources to meet the everyday needs of older people in the area and build up stronger local networks.
Locals can join the Circle as a Member (older person) or as a Neighbourhood Helper. Members get to be part of a growing social network, to take part in events and to access a free phone number to get recommendations for anything from a trustworthy, local builder to the best mobile phone plan, and to buy tokens that can be exchanged for slots of time from Neighbourhood Helpers. Neighbourhood Helpers sign up to the Circle to contribute as much or as little time as they want, either voluntarily or at London Living wage.
Southwark Circle was launched in 2009, after being co-designed and tested by 250 older people and their families, alongside Participle, Southwark Council, Sky and the Department for Work and Pensions.
The Circle model has now been replicated in Nottingham, Hammersmith and Fulham and Suffolk, as separate CICs and supported by a local authority partner. It is now being scaled across the country with approximately twenty others in the pipelines at different stages of business planning.
For more information see: http://www.southwarkcircle.org.uk
The Rushey Green Practice has been using social prescribing for the last 10 years. It ‘prescribes’ patients with symptoms of depression and isolation, an opportunity to volunteer through its own timebank. Patients who join and volunteer by gardening, cooking, painting or doing other community work are rewarded with credits in the timebank system as well as forming new social connections.
Evidence suggests this reduces isolation and increases a sense of purpose (as patients become assets to others), as well as improving mental and physical health.
With more than 200 participants, mostly over 50, the time bank also reaches beyond the practice – 45% of participants are referred. Participants reach out and recruit new members in the community, help to organise and run events. There are also paid staff, particularly to match people to tasks, work with people with mental health needs, and monitor safeguarding issues.
Now a charity, the time-bank is now partly funded by Lewisham Primary Care Trust amongst others.
For more information: http://www.rgtb.org.uk/ and other examples of social prescribing in Bradford and Newcastle
Magic Lantern Film Club is a mobile cinema unit with its own screening equipment and licensing to show films. They show cult, classic and sometimes forgotten films to different audiences in places like parks, theatres, bars and historic buildings.
Cinema triggers memories that can reaffirm identity and encourage social connections and so their latest idea is a Silver Screen Programme, showing films in care homes for residents who are not able to get out often. The films would be chosen by older people themselves. And the screenings would be attended by film students from Sheffield Hallam University and retired volunteers, making this a truly intergenerational project.
The Magic Lantern Film Club are currently seeking backing for their idea.
The Second Half Centre, is a community and wellbeing centre for the over 50s based on the idea that later life is better thought of as “the second half of your life”.
Founded by Jill Shaw Ruddock, the centre follows the principles outlined in The Second Half of Your Life, her book about making the most of the second 50 years of your life after bringing up children or establishing a career have become less dominant forces.
The centre draws in over 50s from across the borough and includes a café, a library, and 45 hours of classes a week covering exercise, arts and crafts, drama, gardening, cooking and IT, amongst others. 40 volunteers give their time to making this happen.
The centre has innovative roots: it is the first of its type to be located on NHS premises – in this case on NHS St Charles Centre for Health and Wellbeing in North Kensington, London. And 90% of the funds for the centre were raised from private sector backers.
For more information: www.thesecondhalfcentre.com.
Shared Lives Plus is the UK network for family-based and small-scale ways of supporting adults.
Shared Lives is a way of unlocking the resources of thousands of families who do not currently provide family care. It takes ‘family care’ as a model and creates a structure within which individuals, couples and families who do not currently care for a relative can provide support, housing and most importantly a sense of belonging for adults not related to them.
There are 10,000 Shared Lives carers in the UK. They share their family and community life with someone who needs some support to live independently. This might be as simple as an individual offering a day out for an older person with dementia, rather than them visiting a day centre. Or it might be a longer term arrangement where a family offer a room and some support to an adult with a learning disability, mental health problem or a care leaver, rather than them rely on state care.
Shared Lives is 20 years old and now has 152 local schemes to recruit, train and support around 10,000 registered Shared Lives carers (individuals, couples and their families). These people have been matched with nearly 15,000 adults who need support and/or accommodation.
Shared Lives Plus is also backing a number of innovations in the caring market including Tyze, an online platform to activate caring networks, and scores of tiny ‘micro-enterprises’, in which small groups of workers and people who need support get together to design highly tailored services and innovations. Its sister organisation, a social enterprise called Community Catalysts helps micro-entrepreneurs to start-up or develop and councils to avoid stifling their creativity by inadvertent over-regulation or heavy-handed commissioning practices.
For more information see: http://www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk/
Streetbank gives neighbours the opportunity to offer their time and skills – or lend and give away consumer products – to anyone living within one mile of their home.
Streetbank’s vision is that sharing with your neighbours becomes normal. It hopes to bring neighbours together – to foster community and generosity by encouraging people to share their things, skills and time.
When a person joins Streetbank, they have their own unique 1 mile catchment area and receive a weekly newsletter showing new members, new offers and wants and local announcements.
Since they started a year ago, the Streetbank team have seen small acts of generosity like neighbours giving away strawberry plants and tomato cuttings through to witnessing big acts like sorting out an elderly neighbours back garden or giving away an unused piano. They have seen people lend ladders, power hoses, guide books and fancy dress outfits. They have also seen people baking bread, making pies and giving away some old bottles of champagne that were unwanted after their owner went teetotal!
Streetbank now has over 20,000 members sharing 25,000 items and is growing by nearly 10% a month.
For more information see: www.streetbank.com