We’re recruiting!

300317-StPancrasLivingCentre-226-small - CopyIt’s with a heavy heart that we’ll be saying goodbye to the wonderful Sarah Hoyle in a little over a months time. Sarah has done an incredible job of steering the project through it’s first 18 months, and we’ll all miss her.

But, whilst we prepare for the leaving party, the search is also on for a replacement!

We’re looking for a motivated self-starter to join the team and lead delivery of We Are Ageing Better, an asset-based community development project in the St Pancras & Somers Town ward, in the heart of Camden. You’ll be comfortable working with older people, both helping them to think up and try out new ideas, and supporting them through the challenges of growing old. You’ll also be a strong networker, who understands the power of relationships to drive positive community change.

The job is 32 hours per week, with a (roughly) £25k salary. You’ve got until the 29th October to apply, and if you have any questions, please drop me a line on jon.foster@originhousing.org.uk

A role profile is available here, and you can view full details and apply online here.


Researching loneliness and isolation in Margate


Today marks one of the biggest milestones in the We Are Ageing Better project. We’re taking twenty older participants on a research trip to meet our colleagues at Ageless Thanet, another Ageing Better project.

This might sound like a bit of a jolly, but there’s a real purpose behind the trip. A core part of We Are Ageing Better is helping local older people to find out all about loneliness and isolation, and develop new ideas and changes that can tackle these. Obviously a huge part of this is about researching close to home, with our neighbours and friends in the area – St Pancras & Somers Town is truly a unique area, and projects like the Cream Tea in A Box are a great way of learning all about the immediate neighbourhood.

But it’s also really important we look a bit further afield, to get some inspiration and discover how other people and other areas experience loneliness and isolation, and what they’re doing about it. The participants coming with us today have been trained up as peer researchers, and will be gathering as much insight as they can to bring back and present to everyone else involved in the project.

The Ageless Thanet team have put an incredible programme together for us, with demonstrations of different projects, Q&A sessions and even a workshop at Dreamland.

We can’t wait to see what comes out of the trip, and will be sharing everything we learn right here once we’re back.

Follow us on Twitter at @we_ageingbetter to keep up to date with the trip.

Introducing our Cream Tea In A Box

For lots of us the Christmas season comes with a tradition of visiting family, friends and neighbours. My memories of Christmas growing up are full of people just ‘popping around’ to say hello and drop off a card or something horrendously unhealthy to eat – but as lovely as it sounds sometimes unexpected guests can be a bit of a pain; especially if they’re not bringing what they then expect to eat and drink!

Whilst that reflection probably says more about my personality (or more accurately my antisocial tendencies when I’m tired), when I saw an ad earlier in December advertising cheap booze so you could be “prepared for every unexpected guest”, it did get me thinking about how we might be able to high-jack that tradition – and turn it into something useful.


And that’s where our Cream Tea In A Box came from. For a start, cream tea’s are amazing (and clotted cream is definitely unhealthy enough to be acceptable Christmas food) – more importantly, they’re already a big part of what we do, with the Cream Tea Club really being the precursor for this whole project. A Cream Tea In A Box is quite literally that, tea for two, all packed up in a neat little cardboard box – all you need to add is hot water and a bit of loveliness.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be giving the boxes out to our members, and asking them to share their tea with another neighbour over sixty.

Partners Eashmota from the Living Centre and Mark from Keepmoat

Whether our members invite someone around, or pop over to their’s (perhaps even unannounced) one thing is for sure – with good tea, comes good conversation. And we’ll be encouraging our members to use this as an opportunity to talk about what it’s like to grow older in the area, contributing to our discovery and research. And of course all of this helps us try out new ideas to make St Pancras and Somers Town a better place be over sixty.

And finally – thanks to our lovely partners and sponsors who’ve kindly helped us pay for and put together these lovely boxes: The Francis Crick Institute, Keepmoat, and the Origin Housing staff volunteering programme.

If you’d like to take part in the project please contact my colleague Sarah Hoyle via email sarah@weareageingbetter.org.uk or call 0300 323 0325 or 07919 598 37

Our thanks to the team from The Crick who helped us pack the boxes.

Introducing We Are Ageing Better

There’s been a lot of excitement in the Community Development team over the past two months whilst we’ve been preparing to launch We Are Ageing Better, and so it’s fantastic to finally be able to share this with the world and get started!

We Are Ageing Better is bringing people together to share their skills and experience to create great projects and changes in our community. We’re open to everyone over 60 in St Pancras & Somers Town, a neighbourhood in the heart of Camden.

The project is delivered by Origin Housing, and is a part of the wider Ageing Better in Camden programme, itself one of more than ten Ageing Better projects in the UK and delivered by Age UK Camden. The whole programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, working with The Centre for Ageing Better – so we’ve already got some great partners on this, right from the start.

Over the next few months we’ll be out and about meeting as many older people in the ward as possible, and bringing together a core group of volunteers. We’ll then be supporting this group to talk with their neighbours and learn all about the issues of loneliness and isolation, so that together we can pilot projects and interventions that tackle this.

We’ll be talking lots more about our approach to the project on this blog, and hearing from different people involved in the project too. If you’d like to keep up to date, you can sign-up to our mailing list (roughly once a month at the moment), and follow us on Twitter at @we_ageingbetter.

And if you’re interested in talking to us more, we’re always up for a coffee – drop us a tweet or email hello@weareageingbetter.org.uk