13 December, 2022

Age Friendly Social Housing Programme launches to co-ordinate localised action to improve the lives of older people.

HACT launched their latest community investment initiative targeted to connecting social housing and communities that are committed to building better places and services for our ageing populations.

HACT have worked with partners in the social housing sector developed in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund, Fusion21, Clarion Futures and South Yorkshire Housing, along with funding and commitment from a growing partnership of 13 UK social landlords to build an Age Friendly Social Housing Programme. It will run for two years to build local partnerships in three areas across the UK with aspirations to deliver in an additional three areas in the second year of the programme), connecting social housing to local networks, partners and communities who are committed to building better places and services for our ageing populations.

The programme is facilitated by on-the-ground project coordinators in each place who will work closely with and between housing associations and partners in the following three areas to support them to understand and embed the principles of Age Friendly Communities in this work and places, and to support local people to access, and potentially deliver, a wide range of services for over 55s:

A major aspiration of the programme is to engage in this work collaboratively, with each other and with local people and partners. Encouraging the joining up of strategic priorities, resources, and networks to maximise the impact of this work in each place.

HACT Head of Communities, Dr. Robert Sugden, says, “We believe that this programme will lead to significant changes in the way that social housing providers develop and support Age Friendly communities across the UK. With 44%  of social housing residents over the age of 55, there is the opportunity to improve the lives of  thousands of older people through this pilot and as a result of the learning and recommendations that will be shared across the sector, through HACTs Centre for Excellence in Community Investment Age Friendly Network.”

The programme so far

Over the past six weeks launch events have been held in all three places, bringing together housing colleagues from across 13 housing organisations, in person, to discuss opportunities for collaboration, resident involvement, and awareness raising around the theme of ageing better.

Understandably, cost of living for older residents was high on the agenda and joined-up responses to this were discussed and plans continue to develop. Groups also discussed ways in which they can work more closely with local authority VCSE partners around these challenges and the development of shared directories of services and referral routes between partners. How we design age friendly homes fit for the future and increasing the take up of assistive technologies were also discussed.

What’s next?

Involving residents and service users in shaping this programme and the projects and services it inspires is at the heart of the approach, and this is aligned with the sector’s desire to embed resident voice and agency at the heart of all aspects of its work. Through our partnerships we hope to catalyse a wide range of programmes, activities and community improvements that will make each of our age friendly places a better place for those over 55 and living in or around social housing. What these projects look like will be decided and developed with local people but might include new social clubs and spaces, befriending programmes, improved community centres, tailored employment and wellbeing programmes for over 55s, intergenerational programmes, or finding new ways for people to connect in person and online.

HACT hopes this approach to joined-up working between housing associations to become a blueprint for collaborative community investment – demonstrating the incredible impact social landlords can have as local investors in people and places when they pool energies and resources.

By supporting the implementation of learning and initiatives that are localised and collaborative between housing associations and community projects, HACT and partners are confident in reducing the social isolation and loneliness of older people in those communities.

As the programme moves forward we’re keen to hear from potential partners in our three priority areas and to welcome more housing associations into our partnerships. HACT are also keen to explore opportunities to roll this programme into more places later in 2023.

Learn more: Age Friendly Social Housing Programme | HACT | Communities.

Get in touch

If you would like to learn more about the programme or how to be involved, contact Programme Manager, Paramjot Kaur

get in touch