Co-production Week – Introducing Age Proud Leeds

Time to Shine, our Leeds based Ageing Better partner, tell us about co-producing their Age Proud Leeds campaign

Age Proud Leeds is a campaign to raise awareness of ageism and change negative attitudes about ageing and older people. Time to Shine tell us what they have learnt whilst co-producing the project and the benefits co-production has brought.

In the lead up to the launch event of the Age Proud Leeds campaign, we worked co-productively with older people from the Age Friendly Leeds Steering Group, to create and deliver a public presentation. We worked with the whole group (10-12 older people) to gather ideas for the presentation, and then worked closely with three members to plan, create, practice and deliver it.

The process of planning and creating the presentation involved face to face meetings, phone calls, letters and emails between all of those involved. There were different opinions around what should be included and how it should be delivered. We wanted to give people autonomy to speak from the heart, bring their own experiences in and also to do their own research around the subject, whilst ensuring the presentation connected to the wider campaign.

Time and capacity were our biggest challenge as we had a very public deadline to meet, and this wasn’t the only piece of work on the go in the run up to the launch. Members needed extra time to revisit previous discussions and opportunities to practise together so that they felt confident in what they were saying, and in the people and technology that would be supporting them to deliver on the day.

Learning points for us were:

  • Co-production adds value and authenticity to a project, but to do it well takes time and resources.
  • Allow 3 or 4 times the amount of time usually needed for a task when using co-production methodology with members of the community, building in extra lead in time when there is a fixed deadline for completion.
  • Use multiple ways that people can contribute their views – during meetings, over the phone, email, letters – and be flexible in the time people can commit to – ad hoc, structured one-offs, regular events.
  • Facilitate with patience and tact so that you can stay on track with consistent messages, incorporating and adapting everyone’s ideas whilst maintaining quality content.

The benefits of using co-production in this project were:

  • Benefits to the campaign – utilising the skills, ideas and experience of community members
  • Sharing ownership of the campaign with local older people – those it is seeking to represent
  • Developing trust, co-operation and relationships within the Age Friendly Steering Group as we work together to achieve a practical task
  • Benefits to individuals – they have a voice, are contributing, making a difference, developing skills.

At the launch event, the presentations delivered by the steering group were one of the highlights of the day. They were of high quality, delivered confidently and clearly, containing key information, laughs and lived experiences, and they received great feedback. The members who delivered the presentation enjoyed contributing, sharing their own experiences and the important work of the Age Friendly Steering Group with the audience.

Thank you Time to Shine for sharing your insights and tips on co-production!