Rural communities in the 2Seas area are at risk of dying out: their populations are ageing and poor public transport, lack of local support and facilities, out-migration of young people, reduced services, isolation and fragmented health and social care systems all negatively impact the health and wellbeing of older people. The numbers of elderly (aged 60+) will double in the next 30 years in the 2Seas area. The common societal challenge for the 2Seas area is managing the needs of the ageing population whilst encouraging healthy ageing and realising the potential of older people, which has been overlooked. The benefits of healthy ageing are felt by individuals, communities and service providers. However, little has been done to empower and enable older people to define the support they need, participate in the design and delivery of services, and develop solutions for themselves with the support of the voluntary, public and private sectors.
A team of fifteen Project Partners from across the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Netherlands, supported by twenty Observer Partners and the Joint Secretariat from Interreg, will collaborate to develop and test systems that empower and enable older people (aged 60+ and no longer employed) in rural areas to:
- define what support they need;
- participate in the design & delivery of services;
- develop solutions for themselves to reduce loneliness & improve quality of life, health & wellbeing, based on their own interests, capabilities & preferences & supported by the voluntary, private & public sectors.
A novel HAIRE Toolkit will be deployed across 8 pilot sites with the expectation that it will help to:
- reduce isolation & loneliness & improve wellbeing in the 60+ age group;
- increase collaboration between participating agencies and Voluntary & Community Sector Organisations (VCSOs);
- improve rural community vitality;
- increase active participation of older people & voluntary sector in service design & delivery;
- create of new models of service delivery;
- achieve widespread change to models of delivery across the 2Seas area and beyond.