In 2015, we reviewed the borough’s extra care schemes to find out how well they were working for residents. Although we found the level of care and amenities at schemes were generally good, many residents told us they felt lonely and cut off from their local community.
In response to our findings, in spring 2016, Lambeth Council had provided a grant to each extra care scheme for activities. We wanted to know what difference the grants may have begun to have.
Participants at our tea and chat event told us about a range of activities they already enjoy and also had plenty of ideas about what else they would like to see, showing real appetite for more socialising and opportunities to play an active part in the community.
Our guests told us that in their experience family, friends and neighbours were key to generating a feeling of being connected. People talked about the value of sharing meals, going out with others and having visits. Using the phone and computers to stay in touch was important to them too.
wide range of activities were mentioned, from coffee mornings and lunch clubs to gardening, going to the pub, volunteering, playing bingo and pottery classes. But some participants said they don’t do much and don’t often have fun.
None of the extra care residents mentioned that they had noticed more activities happening in recent months and the Council’s commissioner informed us that only one scheme had begun to make use of its grant so far.
Our brief programme of activities to revisit extra care provision in Lambeth a year after our review confirmed there is a real appetite amongst extra care residents for opportunities to socialise and play an active part in the community.
A film about being connected
In the lead up to the event, we also asked a songwriter and residents from one of the schemes to write a song on the theme of ‘being connected’ which they performed on the day. We filmed the making of the song and produced a short update report, calling on commissioners to track activity programmes at the schemes to make sure they deliver for residents and build links with the neighbourhood.