The aim of implementing O4O in rural communities was to engage older people in the co-production of services. Communities were supported to develop organisations that they felt met their needs; this was an organic process with communites opting for different organisational and service types.
The range of O4Os that resulted reflect the varied needs of the older people in each of the remote and rural communities:
• Transport scheme
• Village 'handyman' scheme
• Intergenerational support
• Community services 'hub'
• IT training
• Heritage Project
• Information Drop-in Centre
• Lunch Club
• Traditional Crafts
• Community Radio
The T4T dial-a-ride scheme is a car scheme in which volunteer drivers use their own car to give others a lift. The passenger pays T4T for the journey and the volunteer driver can claim a mileage allowance.
The service is co-ordinated locally. Access to the service is through telephone booking (the telephone is manned for 2 hours per weekday and there is an answering machine which allows messages to be left about booking outwith these hours).
Although people can use the car scheme for social visits and shopping, the main use of the scheme is to access health and dental services. The scheme has enabled many elderly and housebound individuals to keep appointments that they would otherwise have had to cancel. The result is that there is increased access to health and dental services in the area which will have a beneficial effect on the health of citizens.
In the past, these lifts would have been offered spontaneously as a result of the level of communication and local knowledge of and between citizens in the area. However, the nature of the community has changed over time and there can be higher levels of isolation and reluctance on the part of older people to be seen to be a burden by asking for a lift.
Although web-based services exist which allow lift sharing to be co-ordinated, many of the individuals in the area who would use the service do not have access to a home computer. The T4T scheme helps individuals, who otherwise would not have become linked, to share transport. This is especially useful for regular journeys and for long trips, such as to the hospital (100 miles away).
The reduced number of journeys from shared transport reduces CO2 emissions and fossil fuel use.
This project is centred on the spirit of three older people who are very well known in their village (Jamton, Sweden). One of them has become the project manager and ‘owns’ the project and helped to set up the initiative in liaison with the local citizens. The village had a desire for a café and a meeting place. The local grocery store owner got on board with this idea and agreed to take this forward in the shop space. A café with internet facilities has been set up – it is a meeting place for older people in the village. It was also agreed that the initiative should provide employment for local people with disabilities. Someone from the local community applied for this job and was hired by the store – with state subsidies for the salary. The employee has started delivering groceries to older people, collecting medicines from the pharmacy and taking recycling to collection points.
A 'handyman' has also been recruited and is being used as a resource to help the elderly in the village. The service is delivered through personal contact by the handyman at the homes of elderly people. He has helped older people to collect medicine from the pharmacy, transport waste for recycling, cut grass, drive home goods from the village shop and so on. He has also been responsible for a meeting place with a café where, during weekdays, there have been opportunities for older people to get together for conversation, coffee and to read the daily paper.
Since the service has been established, volunteers have been recruited. The volunteers help meet the demand for the service. The additional support given by the volunteers helps to make the service more sustainable and robust. The handyman team supports each other and this ensures that the volunteers benefit from their experience of volunteering.
The service delivered to older people has been funded by the County Administrative Board and is offered free of charge.
This is running in the village of Niemsel with initial funding for a three year period. It has set up a private initiative school and a restaurant in the village. The three stages of the project are to develop elderly helping services, develop entrepreneurial activities that provide services for older people and to create housing for the elderly.
A meeting place for seniors was launched in the existing school restaurant. Older people can eat lunch and take part in various activities such as cultural events, lectures and social gatherings. A ‘nostalgia corner’ has been established with the use of antique furniture to create a cosy and homely environment. The emphasis has been on organising meetings and activities for the elderly and cooperation with the school. A podiatry clinic session has been set-up with the opportunity to make an appointment; artisans have the opportunity to display their products in the school restaurant and older people have the opportunity to participate in more sports during the day.
Through this project, interaction between generations gives happiness to the elderly and knowledge to pupils. The school’s curriculum dictates that the pupils should undergo a period of practical work experience. In this project the school has located this practical work experience to be a day’s work at an older person’s home. The pupil will help the elderly with simple services such as transporting waste for recycling, cleaning, and baking.
The elderly have also been volunteering in the school, for instance, helping with homework, talking about history and participating in crafts or baking together. Older people and pupils have also become pen-pals. This creates personal contacts, but also develops students' reading and writing skills. Pre-school children also visit the elderly and may, for example, sing or dance for them or give them a drawing. In this way, the personal relationships are created in a natural way between generations.
The older and younger have a great opportunity to get to know each other – this gives mutual exchange where the young can take part in the local history and ‘old skills’ are passed to the next generation. The elderly also have much to learn from the young. If people get to know each other across the generations it will help to create a safe and pleasant climate in the village.
Community Care Assynt is a response by the community to the needs of their local population at a time when the public sector is cutting back on the services they provide. The new service does not attempt to replicate the service provided in the past by the local authority nor does it face the same organisational constraints.
On a very limited budget, CCA provide a ‘lunch club’ 4 days per week (this will be increased to 5 days in Spring 2011). A two course meal is available, providing a balanced diet. The centre, known as the ‘Assynt Centre’, is open between 10am and 4pm every weekday and is available as a drop-in for older people and adults with need in the area. A wide range of information about local services is provided and staff and volunteers are available to support older people to get the information they need and to access services.
CCA also provides transport services for users of the centre. CCA plans to develop the transport provision to a community transport service to improve the sustainability of the service and allow more people to access it.
Activities are provided by staff, volunteers and various visitors or agencies. New activities are piloted to see if they are popular. There are plans to continually develop the range of activities at the centre which will provide a range of social and health benefits and will help to keep older people physically active and socially well connected.
There is a lot of support from the wider community for the work of CCA. The support is expressed in tangible donations (venison from the local community-owned estate) and by many hours of volunteer work.
In the future, CCA is looking to expand the range of services they provide to the community. They would like to safeguard the provision of high quality home care and respite in the area.
For further information, visit the CCA website
This service is running in the village of Sundom and has provided training to several groups of older residents. The older people have learnt computer and internet skills but also enjoy the social contact that resuts from participating in the training.
Taking an interest in the unique local history of Ardersier, community members are using the O4O project to help in the interviewing of older members of the community. The interviews will be filmed and archived on DVD, forming an exciting local history resource for future generations.
The project is running under the auspices of the community council, and equipment has been purchased with the help of a Ward Discretionary Grant. The project aims to capture the stories of older peoples' lives in a way that can be shared with future generations. The interviews will form a new oral history of Ardersier which can be used to produce a DVD about the village, which it is hoped can be sold to locals and visitors. An additional aim of the project is to contact older people in the village who may be frail or housebound, to find out their views on the level of support they receive and if there might be a demand for more community based activities for older people.
It is hoped the Heritage DVD project will enhance a sense of place and pride in the Ardersier community, including school children and older people. The project is up and running, and interviewing has already begun. The community is working with the University of the Highlands and Islands (formerly UHI Millennium Institute) History Centre to learn oral history techniques and with BBC Alba to learn filming and editing techniques. Hugo Manson, oral history expert from the UHI Centre for History, is advising the group of interviewers.
The group have also produced an information and guidance booklet to help groups in other areas set up similar projects. The easy-to-use booklet contains advice on interview techniques, camera skills knowledge of best practice and can been viewed HERE.
O4O Cookstown provides a drop-in information centre five days a week with a focus on the rights and entitlements of older people in Northern Ireland and within European legislation.
The centre is housed on the main road of a small market town in a newly converted and dedicated space. It services people from both the town and outlying rural areas. A volunteer-run minibus is available to those who would otherwise be unable to access the services.
Free to its users, O4O Cookstown hosts weekly surgeries which are facilitated by a variety of invited organisations dealing with benefits, health and wellbeing of older people, and community and residential safety. Organisations are chosen either in direct response to specific enquiries raised by the older people who are service users, or opportunistically in reaction to other organisations’ operational outreach strategies.
O4O Cookstown regularly facilitates talks by representatives from local government departments, social services agencies and utility providers with a focus on reducing the financial and energy outputs of older people and increasing their access to services and, more generally, a standard of living and enrichment of their holistic environment.
O4O Cookstown’s Lunch Club provides a home-cooked two course lunchtime meal using locally sourced produce. Some of the produce comes from the garden of an older person who no longer manages to maintain it but wanted it to be used for the benefit of other older people.
The Lunch Club is housed in a converted public house and provides its service users with the option to take part in a number of social activities on-site, including craft classes and discussions/talks.
The Lunch Club forms a hub and central space for older people from rural areas visiting the town.
Unemployed young people volunteer, as part of a scheme, to grow vegetables in a garden which belongs to a local older woman who no longer manages to maintain the garden herself.
They gain skills, experience and confidence. A wide variety of vegetables are grown including potatoes, onions, broccoli, beetroot, lettuce, peas and Brussels sprouts. The vegetables are harvested and taken straight away to the luncheon club which means that the older people get fresh, nutritious food.
This is a good example of intergenerational working where one group benefits by helping another. It is a good example of sustainable practice where a liability is turned into an asset. It helps to reduce CO2 emissions by reducing food miles at the luncheon club. It also provides exercise and constructive work experience to young people who may go on to apply what they have learned to grow their own vegetables or to gain employment.
The East of Greenland is isolated from the rest of Greenland and the rest of the world. It is difficult to travel there and some communities are very fragile. There is a small tourist market which is made up of individuals who want to purchase locally made mementos of their visit. But the communities are so small there is no organised marketing of tourist products and no marketing of the products currently produced.
As in other areas in the Northern Periphery, many young people leave the area for the city in Nuuk, for Denmark, or further afield. When they leave, they rarely return to live in their home community. This creates an imbalance in the population with a larger number of older people and a disproportionate number of younger people. In the past, traditional skills and crafts would have been passed from generation to generation within extended families that lived in the same house or near each other. Now, there are very few young people left to benefit from the knowledge of their elders and the traditional skills and crafts can be lost.
This O4O service helped to recognise the value of traditional craftwork and to encourage older people to take up the practice. By bringing older people together for activities, they encouraged each other and shared knowledge and skills. Additionally, this regular activity gave purpose, routine, opportunities for social interaction and a sense of community to older people. There were few or no alternative meeting places for older people to gather.
By creating beautiful craftwork, older people got a sense of achievement. When these pieces were made available for sale to the tourist market, this sense of achievement and value was further increased.
The groups helped to change older people from feeling like a burden on their community to valued contributors.
Needlework and traditional craft groups were developed in Arsuk, Paamiut, Kuummiut, Kulusuk and Ittoqqortoormiit.
The radio station provided free community information about local public services and voluntary sector services in the area, local events, and current issues. The slots were also used for discussions as people phoned in to the programmes.
The radio station was the culmination of a vast amount of community effort and involvement. It helped to bring together people of different ages, religious backgrounds, and socio-economic status. It allowed pubic sector and voluntary sector professionals to work alongside local people and community activists.
The radio station was for the whole community and not just older people. However, older people were targeted specifically for the community slots and were a key grouping within the target audience. Some programmes involved local older people coming in to the station to discuss their hobbies or for reminiscing about the past.
As a result of the radio station, older people had increased access to information (both local and national) and had an increased connection with the wider community.