Who are Age Better in Sheffield?

Age Better in Sheffield was set up in 2015 with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund with a remit to reduce loneliness and social isolation amongst people aged over 50 in Sheffield. In the 7th year of the programme, we are taking the learning, resources, partnerships and projects forward with a renewed focus and passion towards building an Age-friendly Sheffield.

What is Age Better in Sheffield?

Partnerships and Projects

Age Better in Sheffield (ABiS) began in 2015 as a partnership of organisations working to reduce loneliness and social isolation amongst people over 50 and to help them to live fulfilling lives. It is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and is one of 14 Ageing Better programmes in England working to explore what works in reducing loneliness and isolation through a test and learn approach.  

To date over 2,000 people across the city have been involved in our projects which have included a diverse range of interventions and delivery including professional counselling, art therapy, supporting active travel, developing age-friendly transport strategies, social cafes, promoting financial inclusion, innovative start-up groups that allowed people to build communities of interest, improving the wellbeing of older people through participation in the creative arts and addressing the issue of how we talk about bereavement and support bereaved older people.

Our ‘test and learn’ approach

In the spirit of test and learn these delivery partners sought ways of engaging older people in the co-production and co-design of age-friendly approaches. They formed working groups and a steering group to capture the voices and opinions of people who are rarely heard and initiated discussions about what an Age-friendly Sheffield would look like.   

In the final year of delivery all our delivery partners revisited the work they had been doing and viewed it through the lens of the WHO eight age-friendly domains to better understand their own role in an Age-friendly Sheffield (the findings of which can be found here). We began to see what a rich contribution ABiS was making towards supporting the development of a city where all of us can enjoy active ageing, where not only are we adding years to the lives of our citizens, but we are adding life to those years.

Co-production: putting the people of Sheffield at the heart of decisions

Co-production is at the heart of Age Better in Sheffield as the programme has been co-designed, co-delivered, co-governed and co-evaluated throughout. By including participants in the direction of services they are involved with and the communities they live in, we have seen the value and success that co-production offers. As leaders on the national Ageing Better co-production toolkit we were given the opportunity to demonstrate our knowledge of co-production.

Age Better in Sheffield to Age-friendly Sheffield: Our Journey Towards an Age Friendly Sheffield

As the WHO’s Age-friendly Cities and Communities focusses on strategies, policies and initiatives aimed at ensuring good quality of life for all citizens as they age, Age Better in Sheffield saw the opportunity to take a lead on paving the way to an Age-friendly Sheffield. Since our work has always focused on those aged 50 years and above it was a natural progression for us and our delivery partners to consider how we could impact the development of an Age-friendly Sheffield, expanding our focus from just over 50s to look at ageing across the life course. 

Like many Age Better programmes across the country, as we entered the final years of our funding term, we shifted our focus to concentrate on the work needed to understand better what an age-friendly city might look like for its citizens.

The story so far...

There has always been an appetite in Sheffield to build a city we can all thrive in as we grow older.

2012 -The 'A City for All Ages' framework was drawn up

In 2012, Sheffield City Council signed off on the City for All Ages Framework which was authored by Julia Thompson, Strategic Commissioning Officer, after work by the research team at the Council, under James Henderson. City for All Ages was championed by a city level partnership board chaired by Professor Alan Walker, an international lead in the study of ageing, social policy and social gerontology at the University of Sheffield

2014 - Sheffield secures £6m investment from The National Lottery Community Fund

In 2014 Sheffield secured a £6m investment from The National Lottery Community Fund to deliver a programme to reduce loneliness and isolation. South Yorkshire Housing Association was successful in their bid to lead on the new Age Better in Sheffield programme.

2019 - Sheffield becomes a member of the WHO Age-friendly Cities network

In 2019 Sheffield City Council, in partnership with Age Better in Sheffield, was successful in their application to the join the World Health Organisation's Age-friendly network.

2019 - ABiS commissioned Age-friendly Sheffield projects

Members of our Core Partnership who form our governing body for ABiS were prime movers in this application and when it came to commissioning a second round of ABiS projects in 2019, the Core Partnership demonstrated their commitment to an Age-friendly Sheffield by allocating funding to specific age-friendly development work through our delivery partners Age UK Sheffield and Lai Yin.

2020 - Age Better in Sheffield secures additional year of funding

in 2020, South Yorkshire Housing Association was successfully secured additional investment to work in partnership with Sheffield City Council to build an Age-friendly Sheffield.

“We’re proud to be flying the flag for the development of Sheffield to as an Age-Friendly City and to be playing a leading role in this important movement which  prioritises the health and wellbeing of Sheffield citizens as we all age.”

Edyta Bancer, Programme Delivery Manager