FIFTH MEETING – BELGRADE THEATRE FRIDAY 26th JULY 2013
The fifth meeting of the Garden Project Group met in the Belgrade Theatre on Friday 26th July 2013 and agreed that they will now morph into a new group which we have decided to call The Belgrade Group which will work on taking the project to the next stage.
Since the last meeting, John Archer from the Styvechale Grange Residents’ Association, had begun to make progress on how we might set up a CAFE Group in his area. He has made contact with a local councillor and between them they would hope to approach the primary school to act as a host for CAFE events. This is unlikely to be resolved before September but in the meantime John will continue to see what more he can find out about older peoples’ needs in his area. Frances Fielding had made similar approaches in the Cheylesmore area and identified two possible locations for meetings – The Community Centre and the Baptist Church Hall. She had also identified that there are approximately 4,000 people in Cheylesmore aged between 60 and 90. So again this is a possible area for a CAFE pilot group. Sherril Donaldson who attended the meeting for the first time and said there may be a possibility of forming an African Caribbean group in the Hillfields area of Coventry.
For the rest of the meeting John Graham outlined the aims and approach of the project beyond this point subject to being able to raise sufficient charitable funds to support our ambitions. Our overall aim is to reduce loneliness and social isolation among older people in Coventry. Our target is to be in touch with 5,000 older people within three years and to facilitate this process by the use of touch screen computer technology. We do not intend to launch a major digital inclusion programme, rather we aim to find and train some “proxy champions” of computer technology in each CAFE Group. We have identified around 10 potential CAFE Groups so far who we would hope in the longer term to each be in touch with around 500 older people.
The first step in our project has already been completed by the publication on the GrumbleSmiles Blog of the survey results of the initial group. Whilst not representative of all older people in Coventry, the group gave us some clear pointers where more information and greater contact might address some of the unfulfilled needs which lead to isolation and loneliness. The second step during the autumn will be to gather together a Digital Champion Research Team who will be attached to the Age Resource Centre and operate from a base in the University. Their initial research will be to trawl the internet and find Applications and Information, particularly on YouTube videos which can provide a menu for support to the CAFE Group Members. It is hoped that the Digital Champion Research Team will be assisted by students from the University. GrumbleSmiles Trust will launch a competition within the University to find innovative projects which enhance the menu of Touch Screen Computer Apps that we intend to introduce as part of our CAFE group facilitation process. Some of these Apps are likely to already be available on the internet, others may be created with the support of older people in Coventry. We want our approach to be innovative, unique and fun to add “pixie dust” to our proposals.
We hope to identify the CAFE Groups during the autumn and launch in early 2014 with a set up grant from the GrumbleSmiles Trust. The grant will be designed to fund venues, new computers and survey / video technology where necessary. Key people from each of the CAFE Groups will meet with the project team every month to share experience and monitor progress.
The GrumbleSmiles Project Team will comprise a part-time Research Director and Assistant Researcher from the University as well as a part-time Executive Director of the GrumbleSmiles project. It is hoped that they can be funded from a charitable appeal which will be launched during the autumn, this will be managed by the University Fundraising Team.
THE NEXT MEETING WILL BE AT COVENTRY UNIVERSITY AT THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER AND FINAL DETAILS WILL BE EMAILED TO PEOPLE NEARER THE TIME. THEY HAVE WI-FI AND IT WOULD BE USEFUL IF YOU CAN BRING YOUR OWN LAPTOP OR TABLET.
Any progress that the participants can make in identifying useful applications during the summer, would give us a flying start to our autumn research. Some examples of YouTube videos which are of interest are noted below. You can find them by searching YouTube under the heading of “Happiness and Older People”:-
- Laura Carstenson – “Older People are Happier” (11 minutes, 39 seconds)
- Michael Norton – “How to buy Happiness” (10 minutes, 59 seconds)
- A J Jacobs – “How Healthy living nearly killed me” (8 minutes, 43 seconds)
- Jane Fonda – “Life’s Third Act” (11 minutes, 21 seconds)
ALL THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE PROJECT ARE INVITED TO POST THEIR COMMENTS AND IDEAS BELOW. OTHER READERS ARE WELCOME TO ADD THEIR VIEWS.