LinkAge were asked to host a visit for the Körber Foundation and the Berlin Institue that would showcase our asset based community development model; our way of engaging local people over 55 in their communities, community activities and in volunteering. We also focused on the intergenerational work and projects that we deliver to help to facilitate a two way knowledge exchange and learning and development between younger and older people.
We had a packed schedule for our visitors and after a brief introduction to LinkAge we handed over most of the day to the people who are the heart and soul of LinkAge and who are really driving forward local developments and generating positive change……. our volunteers!
Time was spent with members of three different Advisory Groups. These groups have been brought together in each of the communities where LinkAge is active, to make decisions on which new activities are set up locally. They help to organise the activities, promote them and actively encourage new people and lonely people to join in.
If we see someone while we’re out on a walk or out and about we’ll tell them about LinkAge and all the different activities that you can do if you get involved. We’ve developed so many new activities all based on what local people want. There is so much that you can do but some people just need a little bit of encouragement. – Local Advisory Group member.
The day’s interactive format continued with conversations with:
• Local volunteers for LinkAge including a walk leader and two of our advocates
• key funders and trustees of LinkAge
• the Intergenerational Advisory Group ‘Bristol Together’. This group is currently planning the Intergenerational Summer of Age.
• One of our intergenerational delivery partners from The Princes Trust
• LinkAge’s volunteer officer and a representative from Bath University who are the developers of the ACE project (Active Connected Engaged Communities) which LinkAge is proud to be running in local communities. The ACE project is an evaluated and proven peer volunteering scheme that encourages greater levels of activity in older people and tackles loneliness.
The visit was very productive – it didn’t just give our German visitors the opportunity to learn about us but also gave us the opportunity to learn about the projects, challenges and opportunities that currently exist within Germany. We see this visit as the start of a positive two way relationship in which we can learn from European best practice and projects and use this to improve LinkAge.
“Lisa, Betina and me, we are truly impressed with the great work you do in Bristol, and the day with you has been really inspiring for us. Let me also emphasize once more how much we've appreciated the warm welcome and all the organisational efforts you went through. Please extend our thanks to everyone we met on our visit – it was wonderful to see so many perspectives united in one and the same goal. We hope to continue the fruitful exchange with you in the future.” Betina, Lisa and Tanja