Project comes to an end
03 May 2011
The O4O Project has now come to an end.
O4O succeeded in making a positive difference to the lives of older people and to the resilience of rural communities. As an antidote to the doom and gloom scenarios which are often presented with projected demographic changes, the project has challenged percetions of older people as being a burden on society and presented them, instead, as a rich resource and the lifeblood of rural communities. The project was successful in engendering life-long learning in older people, helping them to flourish as assets within their local communities. It empowered older people to identify their needs and supported them to develop a variety of social organisations to meet those needs in order that they, and other older people, might continue to live healthily and happily in their own homes and communities for longer. Learning from the project was used to shape a future agenda for older people's service provision through social enterprise and formulate practical recommendations on that needs to change in local, national and international policy to develop community co-production. Details of policy recommendations can be seen here.
Enormous thanks are due to everyone involved - project staff, volunteers, all the various organisations that contributed and, not least, the funding bodies who made the whole project possible. Your input has been invaluable. And for those with whom the project came into contact with, we hope that our actions were both useful and successful.
Although the project is finished, the services developed by older people in the rural communites involved continue. The experiences and learning established during the project have been captured and presented in the O4O Toolkit - a 'manual' which, we hope, will enable the start-up of O4O-type services in further communities throughout the Northern Periphery and beyond.
"This has been one of the most exciting projects that I have been involved in. The learning has been tremendous as are the implications for national and European policy around ageing." Dr Carol Hill - Project Lead, O4O Dumfries & Galloway
"O4O has changed the lives of older people. The project brought together senior policy makers and practitioners who enabled the voices of older people to be heard as services are developed by and with them." Dr Katy Radford - Project Manager, O4O Northern Ireland
"O4O presents a successful example of how older people might contribute to the development of remote and rural communities. The project proved that older citizens are a capable and valued part of our society. Moreover, it identified new possibilities as well as challenges in remote and rural service delivery." Artur Steinerowksi - Researcher, O4O Highland