PRESS RELEASE: Ageless Thanet ‘Active Citizenship’ project changing

PRESS RELEASE: 2nd May 2017

Ageless Thanet is a community project funded by the Big Lottery Fund through its Ageing Better programme to reduce social isolation for older people. Social Enterprise Kent is the lead partner on Ageless Thanet. The project includes a number of different work streams which are being delivered by local partners in the community.

Active Citizenship is one work stream focusing on older volunteers and community capacity building, which has been delivered by Age UK Thanet since April 2016. The contract was up for review in April 2017. A decision has been made by the Ageless Thanet governance panel not to renew the contract.

This decision only impacts on the Active Citizenship work stream. All other work streams are unaffected. The Ageless Thanet governance panel made this decision based on a review of the activities and outcomes being delivered. Age UK Thanet has informed its volunteers that the contract has come to end.

Social Enterprise Kent will be developing a new programme for volunteers and staff on Active Citizenship from 1st May. The governance panel has decided that the future direction of the work stream will focus on:

  • empowering volunteers of all ages to help reduce social isolation for older people
  • helping older people feel more engaged in their communities
  • providing a community fund to enable older people to organise events and activities in their own communities.

A key part of the Ageing Better programme is to gather information about what really makes a difference in reducing social isolation. This information will then help to inform how funding is spent in the future.

This is all part of the “test and learn” approach, which is also being used to support physical health and wellbeing in the Ageless Thanet Feelgood Factory, which opened on 20th April.

Evaluation data is being gathered on all Ageless Thanet activities and work streams to build up an evidence base for what helps older people. We would encourage people to try Ageless Thanet activities for themselves.

We have been made aware of allegations about the running of Ageless Thanet and we can confirm that there are no grounds for accusations of fraud. We have robust governance procedures in place to ensure our activity meets its objectives.