The first meetings of this newly formed group of older people in Coventry took place at the end of January 2014. They were held in the Cheylesmore Community Centre and later in the Queens Road Baptist Church. To invite the attendees we had earlier sent out an invitation which was delivered by a flyer to all 6,000 households in Cheylesmore. About 60 people attended one or other of the events which is a 1% response rate to our flyer.
The survey was a shortened version of the previous research we had done with the Age Research Centre but questions focused more directly on the help and assistance people might need living independently in the community.
My thanks to Laura Cole at the University and Yvonne Robinson of the Cheylesmore Steering Group for collating the results of the survey. We have a more detailed analysis of the survey results, but I have just listed below a broad summary of what our two initial groups of older people had to say:-
- Coffee Mornings – three quarters of the people agreed they might use this service and just under a quarter were prepared to help.
- Social Events – the response to this was similar to Coffee Mornings.
- Talks – More than three quarters might attend, although this could depend on the subject and a few people offered to help.
- Home Visits – Around a half of the people were interested in home visits and a quarter could help, but rather fewer specifically put forward their names.
- Befriending – Just over half were prepared to be involved in befriending phone calls.
- Escorting – Just over half might use this service and a quarter could help.
- Newsletter – Nearly three quarters liked the idea of a newsletter and a few were prepared to help.
- Handyman – Nearly three quarters might use this service and a few could help.
- Home Safety – Around half might make use of this service, only a few could help.
- Home Monitoring – Just over a quarter might use this service with a few offering to help.
- Household Admin – Around a half might use the service and a quarter could also help.
- Gadget Assistance – Around half might use this service and a few could help.
- Computer – Slightly less than half might use this service and again only a few could help.
- Transport – Just over half might use the service and very few could help.
This is a very small sample group and is quite probably not representative of the most isolated and possibly older and frailer residents in the community. Nonetheless, it represents a significant interest in making use of a range of self-help services and to a lesser degree there is clearly some capacity to provide help for others.
Our first step was to look for some easy wins by providing an event in the form of an afternoon social gathering. Between 20 and 30 people have been attending these events so far.
Our next step will be to explore in more detail with this group exactly what sort of individual services and help they could benefit from or provide for others. Later posts will expand on our experiences with the first few meetings.