Growing Support

Growing SupportGrowing Support turns underused care home gardens into bustling hubs of community activity and thriving growing spaces.

There are 400,000 older people living in care, most of whom have dementia. Studies show residents of care homes spend most of their time doing nothing and are twice as likely to feel lonely as people living in the community.  And yet working in care homes, particularly with people with dementia, is one of the least popular forms of volunteering.

Growing Support delivers volunteer led, social and therapeutic gardening activities. This means we run weekly gardening clubs, mostly in care home gardens, where people with dementia are enabled to grow their own food, exercise vital muscle groups, enjoy sensory stimulation, socialise and develop a renewed sense of purpose and achievement.

Our work increases the involvement of the community in care and provides a sustainable solution to loneliness, social isolation and inactivity experienced by people with dementia.

Find out more –


Life Reimagined


Life Reimagined is a web platform that helps people to re-evaluate their skills and pursue new ambitions. It brings together a whole range of experts in personal development, ageing and transitions to guide positive life changes from new employment opportunities to improving one’s health.

It does this through a personalised guidance system that involves six practices that help to guide personal change;

  1. Reflecting on the stage that you are currently at in your life and your feelings about it
  2. Connecting with others to share your ideas of change and learn their perspectives and experiences
  3. Exploring thinking honestly about the road you could take in life
  4. Choosing the direction you wish to take
  5. Repacking ones priorities in order to take the steps necessary to achieve this new direction
  6. Acting on the steps needed for action

For more information see:

For a video on their work see;

Vintage communities

Vintage communities bring people together to find local solutions to local problems.


Staff at Vintage Communities work intensively in small areas (usually a ward or smaller) for 6-9 months. They gather enthusiasts, older people, local representatives of clubs and societies together, and act as a facilitator to help the group map their local assets and problems. Older people in the group then take the lead on designing and delivering new initiatives to improve their community.

The first Vintage Community was set up in Balham in 2011 where the group has hosted a street party and an event where neighbours show what they have to offer to others for example cooking, dog walking and teaching a foreign language.

The ultimate goal is for the community group itself to function independently, and so in time staff at Vintage Communities move on to support another community to get started.

For more information see:

For a video detailing their work in Balham;

Knit for peace

Knit for peace supports and creates knitting groups in a variety of locations within areas of deprivation that can benefit from bringing communities together (e.g. community groups, prisons, schools).

Knit_for _peace_logo

On top of being an enjoyable and therapeutic activity, knitting has previously been linked with a number of positive outcomes such as lowered blood pressure, improved chronic pain, decreasing depression and offsetting social isolation (see Stitchlinks and Dr Benson of the Harvard Medical School).

As well as bringing people and communities together Knit for Peace also gives group members the opportunity to help others in need by linking them with charities that work directly with those benefitting from kitted items (e.g. at risk older adults,  refugee camps in Africa, hospitals, homeless shelters, animal homes) and keeping the knitters updated on where their items go.

Knit_for _peace

For more information see:

Wisdom Bank

The wisdom bank provides a platform for people approaching retirement to share their skills and insights with those that need their advice.

The site has three main feature:

  • Find-allows people to find others who may be able to help through their personal experiences you can search based on; wisdom that the person wishes to share, profession, skills and interests even personality traits.
  • Share-offers a platform to share the transferable skills an individual has to offer such as how to care for an older relative as you age.
  • Connect- to link with others to capitalise on the ‘wealth of unused wisdom out there’ such as Doris who asked for interviewing hints and tips and received a wealth of comments in return from experienced professionals.

Results from a large collaborative pilot involving 90 people from 10 countries illustrate the importance and appeal of wisdom bank. Details of these results can be found here

For more information see:

A video describing the Wisdom bank and how it can benefit you can be found here


Spring Online

SpringOnlineLogoSpring Online is Digital Unite’s national digital literacy campaign for older people. The award winning campaign is held every April – in 2013, 22-26th April.
Local people and organisations as diverse as schools, businesses, housing providers, Age UK groups, UK Online centres, libraries, shops, businesses and community organisations open their doors to older people and run hands-on digital taster sessions.
Spring Online is now in its 12th year – it started as ‘Silver surfer day’ in 2002, and became a week-long event in 2011. In 2012, 2,000 events all around the UK helped 30,000 people get online, many for the first time. Grants are available towards running events, with guides and training materials online.
Digital Unite also trains organisations and individuals through their Digital Champion programme, for which bursaries are available from Digital Unite Trust.
Home visit tuition is also available through a network of local Tutors who Digital Unite recruit, train and support.

Age of Creativity

AgeofCreativityLogoAge of Creativity is an online platform to share, celebrate and inspire work in the field of arts and older people.

Launched in December 2012, Age of Creativity aims to foster collaboration and discussion between practitioners, facilitators, artists and organisations through showcasing pioneering work and providing a shared space to exchange ideas, opportunities and resources.

The site has been created by a team working in collaboration with Age UK Oxfordshire and with the support of the Baring Foundation who recognised that involvement and participation in the arts can improve wellbeing and reduce social isolation (report).

The site is simple to use so that the community of users can co-curate and collaborate on what Age of Creativity looks like.

For more info see or their blog of projects for arts in older age

Baking with friends

Uk onlineBaking with Friends is a new idea to pair older people who are alone or who experience loneliness but have a love for baking with younger people who want to learn to bake things from scratch.

In return, the younger people who are keen to try volunteering – some, for the first time – will inspire older people about the transforming effect of technology and the internet. Through sharing, meeting (and eating!) the project aims to reduce isolation in older people and bridge both the generational and digital divides.

The project is the brainchild of UK Online who run more than 3800 community-based UK Online Centres around the country helping people get started with computers and the internet. It is backed by Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) via the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

For more information:

Engage Entrepreneurs

UnltdLogoBetween 2009 and 2011 UnLtd ran a two year programme, funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, to support 30 people starting social ventures that positively address issues of an ageing society in England and Wales. Awards were open to people of all ages, but the over 50s made up the majority of the cohort.
The Engage Entrepreneurs set up ventures which mainly provided people-and time-intensive services to improve older people’s health and wellbeing. Four ventures received additional support after initial success including ThinkLife, reminiscence workshops for people with dementia in care homes; Project Pigeon, workshops based around a pigeon-fancier’s loft; Menopause Self Care, training and resources to help women through the menopause; and, a grandparents’ website. Two were run by people over 50, two by younger people.
The findings from the project and Age Unlimited programme to back older entrepreneurs have been captured in a toolkit ROOTED.
For more information: