Ageing Better

Ageing Better

Ageing Better

Ageing Better is a six-year, £78 million investment to improve the lives of people aged over 50 by addressing social isolation and loneliness within local communities.

Aims & approach

Ageing Better aims to support people aged over 50 who are experiencing or at risk of social isolation and loneliness, so that they can lead more fulfilling lives, better connected to their communities.

14 local partnerships will work to ensure that people aged 50 and over are:

  • less isolated and lonely
  • actively involved in their communities, with their views and participation valued more highly
  • more engaged in the design and delivery of services that improve their social connections
  • recognised for their positive contribution to society.

Ageing Better also supports:

  • services that improve social connections to be better planned, co-ordinated and delivered
  • the development of better evidence about how to reduce isolation and loneliness for people aged over 50, in order to improve the design of services in the future.

We have awarded a ten-year, £50 million endowment to The Centre for Ageing Better. Their aim is to support a good quality of life in older age and promote the benefits of an ageing society by bridging the gap between research, evidence and practice. The Centre is part of the What Works Network in England.

Many of our Ageing Better partnerships have been working on Community Connector and Social Prescribing type schemes, which were reviewed in our report from November 2018: Learning Report 2 – Community Connector schemes. The following video explores experiences of people aged over 50 involved in these schemes and the positive effects on their lives at two of our partnerships: Brightlife Cheshire and Ageless Thanet.

We will be following up on this work in 2019, so please check back here for more information later in the year.

People in the Lead

Each of the 14 local partnerships use the strengths and assets of people aged over 50 and the wider community to find what works best in their area. People aged over 50 are driving decision-making and governance, and play a key role in co-designing and delivering project activities.

As a result, services will be better planned, more coordinated and delivered in a way that works for the local community.


Ageing Better will gather evidence of what works to support people aged over 50 who are at risk of experiencing social isolation and loneliness, and use it to improve the design of future services across the UK.

Our recent programme briefing (PDF, 1.1MB) summarises what we have learnt about people aged over 50, social isolation and loneliness to date. It looks at the challenges that we and our partnerships have faced and what we are doing to address them in the second half of the programme.


We have appointed a partnership of evaluators to produce a series of thematic learning reports from across the 14 partnerships. Led by Ecorys UK, the partnership includes Bryson Purdon Social Research LLP and Professor Christina Victor, from the Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies at Brunel University.

We published a national evaluation report (PDF, 3.2MB) in July 2018 to share the early lessons collected from the 14 partnerships, including some key statistics about programme reach and engagement.

Some of our key achievements to date are:

  • engaging over 60,000 older people from diverse backgrounds
  • broadening the scale and scope of services for older people and increasing local capacity and knowledge to address social isolation
  • strengthening the capacity of the voluntary sector to design, deliver and commission services
  • creating thousands of volunteering opportunities.

There are also two thematic briefings:

  • Ageing Better in Birmingham

    Ageing Better in Birmingham

    Ageing Better in Birmingham supports citizens and communities to work together with the voluntary sector to address loneliness and isolation and its underlying causes. As well as working across the city, they focus on supporting carers and the LGBT community. Visit website
  • Bristol Ageing Better

    Bristol Ageing Better

    Bristol Ageing Better (BAB) is working to make Bristol a brilliant place to grow old. By influencing city decision makers, wellbeing services and intergenerational activities, BAB is working together to make the city more age friendly. Visit website
  • Brightlife Cheshire

    Brightlife Cheshire

    Working in Cheshire West and Chester, Brightlife inspires and enable individuals and communities to understand and act to reduce social isolation whilst capturing unique insights. Key activities include social prescribing, engagement and volunteering, positive communications and marketing. Visit website
  • Ageing Better in Camden

    Ageing Better in Camden

    Ageing Better in Camden is a partnership of older people and Camden organizations, drawing on existing skills and resources to create meaningful connections and stronger communities. Visit website
  • Connect Hackney

    Connect Hackney

    Connect Hackney is working with the diverse communities of Hackney to help over 50s stay connected and active. Their work includes a Media Group, and Community Connectors service offering one-to-one sessions to help build confidence, motivation and access to social activities. Visit website
  • Manchester: Ambition for Ageing

    Manchester: Ambition for Ageing

    Ambition for Ageing is supporting the development of 25 age friendly neighbourhoods across eight local authority districts in Greater Manchester. From this work, they have developed a series of larger programmes that test approaches to building connection and reducing isolation at scale. Visit website
  • Isle of Wight: Age Friendly Island

    Isle of Wight: Age Friendly Island

    Led by Age UK IW and working with WHO’s Age Friendly Cities, Age Friendly Island is made up of organisations committed to building a community that values, respects, engages and actively supports older people, with the voice of older residents at the heart. Visit website
  • Time to Shine Leeds

    Time to Shine Leeds

    Established by Leeds Older People's Forum, Time to Shine fund a wide range of projects, with a specific focus on the most marginalised such as BAME, men, LGBT and older people with a disability, aiming to make Leeds a great place to grow old. Visit website
  • Leicester Ageing Together

    Leicester Ageing Together

    A community and voluntary sector partnership with older people at its heart, Leicester Ageing Together is bringing people together and building flourishing communities in some of the most diverse and deprived areas of Leicester. Visit website
  • Ageing Better Middlesbrough

    Ageing Better Middlesbrough

    Ageing Better Middlesbrough works alongside older people to create welcoming community groups, provide accessible information on activities and opportunities and offer personalised support to those who are the most lonely and isolated. Visit website
  • Age Better Sheffield

    Age Better Sheffield

    Age Better in Sheffield is helping to make Sheffield a city that everyone can all be proud to grow older in. Their mission is to support individuals to develop positive and meaningful connections with others. Visit website
  • Talk, Eat, Drink in East Lindsey

    Talk, Eat, Drink in East Lindsey

    Talk, Eat, Drink (T.E.D.) in East Lindsey works to identify the good provision that is happening through existing groups and facilities and helps to develop and promote them through the involvement of older people and local organisations. Visit website
  • Ageless Thanet

    Ageless Thanet

    Ageless Thanet use older people’s experiences to deliver activities, a community hub for older people in Margate and access to support during moments of crisis in later life. Their Age Friendly Business programme challenges how older people are seen within our community. Visit website
  • Ageing Well Torbay

    Ageing Well Torbay

    Ageing Well Torbay is developing a social ecosystem to reduce social isolation and loneliness. It comprises of asset based community development in neighbourhoods, strengthening relationships and connectivity through social prescribing, mental wellbeing peer support, financial resilience and digital inclusion. The programme is increasingly led, designed and co-produced by people over 50. Visit website


Ageing Better is collecting the learning happening locally from within the 14 partnerships.

Learning from Community Connector projects

In March 2018, 8 Ageing Better programmes came together to share learning from their Community Connector projects. We defined a Community Connector as any mechanism that identifies isolated people over 50 and works with them to help them transition to less isolated through person-centred structured support.

Read the report

Learning around Community Connectors – Time Limited interventions

In August 2018 a group of Ageing Better programmes came together to share their learning around Community Connectors – Time Limited Interventions.

Read the report

Read the summary document of key messages

Social Prescribing Health Referrals – Learning report

In January 2019 we brought together Ageing Better projects to share learning and insight from across the programme about Social Prescribing where a health referral was involved.

Read the report

Role of food in building connections and relationships

This learning paper (March 19) focuses on the role food plays in building connections and relationships.

Read the report

Key messages summary

Reducing social isolation in LGBT+ communities aged over 50

This paper focuses on our learning on reducing social isolation in the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. It brings together information from a learning session we held with Ageing Better practitioners, evidence received following a call out to Ageing Better projects delivering to this client group and results from a qualitative questionnaire sent to all Ageing Better areas.

Economy and personal resources

This paper focuses on our learning from within Ageing Better on the role of the economy and people’s personal resources in relation to social isolation and loneliness in people aged 50+. It is based on the insights of Ageing Better areas brought together for a specific workshop around this topic.

Ageing Better Conference – November 2018

Please find below summaries of the wide range of sessions held at the Ageing Better 2018 conference in Margate November 2018.

Making Connections conference summary

Artful Ageing

How does participating in creative and cultural activities support healthy ageing?

Can the arts really impact on loneliness and social isolation?

Session write up

Longer write up

Becoming Age Friendly – what’s the value?

Session write up

Longer write up

Connecting through Digital Technology

Session write up

Longer write up

Community Connectors and Social Prescribing beyond 2020

Session write up

Good Connections and Inequality

Session write up

Shorter write up

Wellbeing & health

Session write up

Legacy and Sustainability

Session write up

Shorter write up

Impact of loneliness and social isolation on older people

Session write up