Brightlife was formed in 2015 by a group of organisations from across the public and third sectors in the Cheshire West and Chester and led by Age UK Cheshire, as the regional delivery partner for the National Lottery Community Fund’s Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better programme.
The aim of the Ageing Better programme was to reduce loneliness and social isolation for people aged over 50, by enabling them to improve their social connections, to be more engaged in the design of services for their communities, and to be recognised for their positive contribution to society.
Funding was distributed to 14 regional partnerships across the UK – including Brightlife – to plan, coordinate and deliver services in each area using a range of approaches, including contracting local providers, delivering services directly, and funding grassroots activity.
Over the course of five years, Brightlife commissioned, delivered and evaluated a huge range of innovative initiatives to support more than 3000 older people. Using a ‘test and learn’ approach, it gathered valuable evidence about what works (and what doesn’t) to tackle loneliness and social isolation amongst older people within the specific geographic and social context of the Cheshire West and Chester region.
That evidence is presented here as a series of recommendations about how best to plan, deliver and evaluate successful interventions. It is hoped that these recommendations will inform and influence future projects, policies and services in the region, improving the lives and communities of people aged over 50 for many years to come.