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August 5, 2021

SELF project: not old enough for group activities, not interested in lunch clubs…

“I don’t feel old enough for group activities, I’m really not interested in lunch clubs…”

Paraphrasing, that was the response of the adults involved in the SELF project (South and East Leeds Friends). Members were generally recruited from the younger older age group (50-65) via referrals from GPs, social prescribers and other professionals. The project was based within Leeds Mind. Project workers set out to offer support to people who were very socially isolated, and who needed support with problems around their mental health.

Read the SELF end of project report.

The project workers hoped they could use the Mind model of peer support to encourage people to give them the confidence take part in community-based activities at the Neighbourhood Networks local to where they lived. People did want support, and the chance to make friends, but they weren’t that interested in group activities, and certainly didn’t see themselves as old.

This meant that SELF headed down a slightly different track, with a lot of one-to-one befriending from staff and volunteers, and eventually the instigation of SELF social groups, which proved very popular as people felt comfortable to come together with other people who they knew had similar problems.

Read the SELF end of project report to find out more about how the project worked and the support they were able to offer people across the city, as the Covid-19 pandemic closed services down.

Time to Shine has produced a range of toolkits, learning briefings and reports on supporting older people with one-to-one support and person-centred activities.

Jessica Duffy
Time to Shine Learning Facilitator