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Celebrating the Success of Ageing Better’s Co-Production Festival

July 8, 2021

Co-production has been at the heart of Ageing Better’s work across all programme areas, through the setting up, dissemination, design, delivery and evaluation, of services for people aged 50 and over. In this guest blog, Vicky tells us more about the work of Ageing Better and the success of their recent co-production festival.

Three elderly people, arm in arm, walking on the street, wearing bright colours, and smiling.
Ageing Better is a seven year, £87 million investment to improve the lives of people aged over 50 by addressing social isolation and loneliness within local communities. Photo credit: Phillippe Leone

Our recent Festival of Co-Production Learning, featuring over 50 workshops from Ageing Better partners with a range of themes, was a great success and we were delighted to welcome almost 500 participants who signed up to the event, from across the UK. The aim of the festival was to engage with a range of audiences, including those new to the concept and organisational representatives looking to fly their own co-production flag, through to strategic partners and community leaders wishing to embed the values of co-production in their local areas.

Ageing Better partners hosted workshops, discussions & presentations, looking to inform, inspire and influence. Audiences were keen to better understand and develop core co-production principles and practice. The Ageing Better Programme, now in its 7th and final year is focusing on legacy and learning, with each of the 14 programme areas across England having embedded its own unique co-production test and learn approach during that time.

Part of our legacy has been the development of an interactive Toolkit housing stories, tools and resources around 12 distinct themes:

·       Creating a co-production culture

·       Community development through micro-funding

·       Tackling ageism through co-production & age friendly communities

·       Co-production within coastal & rural communities

·       Tackling loneliness through co-commissioning

·       Empowering communities through partnership working & social prescribing

·       Co-researching within the community

·       Growing sustainable groups

·       Diversity& inclusion

·       Creativity in co-production

·       Asset based community development

·       And Co-production in a crisis

After several demonstration sessions the national Toolkit was a star attraction of the festival. It took a year to co-design & develop, giving you a gist of the length & breadth of the resource. We are excited to be launching this free resource publicly during Co-Production Week, w/c 5th July 21!  If you’d like to have the link to the Toolkit emailed directly to you, then drop us an email (see below, at the end of this blog).

You can access Stronger Together: a Co-production Toolkit here.

Working “with” the people at the heart of our communities, and certainly not “doing to” or “deciding for”, has been at the heart of Ageing Better’s work. Our co-created e-booklet Co-Production from the Heart illustrates just what co-production means to us.

A pink heart diagram featured in the Co-production from the Heart e-booklet. In the middle is Recognising people as assets. Surrounding the heart are additional items: Focusing on what's strong and not what's wrong. Combining people's knowledge and expertise. Drawing out skills and strenghts. Nurturing people's wisdom and listening to their stories. o read more about this booklet, please visit the link in the body of the blog.
A heart diagram featured in the Co-production from the Heart booklet which is available to download here.

Our festival wouldn’t have been the same without our amazing guest facilitators; we were delighted that Co-production Collective agreed to take part. Niccola, together with Hearing Birdsong delivered a workshop on “Co-producing Change Together”. A number of attendees said it was one of their favourite workshops, which explored  Co-production Collective’s core values; Human, Inclusive, Transparent and Challenging.  At the end of the session participants shared what they now believed co-production to be, compared to at the beginning. It was great to see people’s insight expand with “Together” and “Collaboration ”taking centre stage, and “Distributed Leadership” and “Diversity” playing a central role.

On behalf of our 14 Ageing Better partners, a big thank you for joining us if you were able to attend our 3 week festival. If not, I’m sure you will find our Toolkit both beneficial and inspiring.  We hope that it will support the evolving practice of co-production for many years to come.

Get in touch

Vicky O’Donoghue

Ageing Better Co-Production Project Lead

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