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"Earlier this year Encounters successfully designed and co-led with Torbay Community Development Trust, a creative process in Brixham, Torquay, Paignton – Aging Well. The project engaged people across Torbay, collecting experiences and ideas about how Ageing Better in our communities could reduce isolation and lead to more fulfilled lives."

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Ageing Well is a creative participatory consultation process that we delivered  in Brixham, Paignton and Torquay (Torbay) throughout February and March 2014.

The creative process designed and delivered by Encounters Creative Director Ruth Ben-Tovim, engaged people of all ages living or working in Torbay to collect experiences and share ideas about how Ageing Better in our communities could reduce isolation and lead to more fulfilled lives. Our focus was to engage individual older people in identifying priorities and suggestions for;

• Addressing social isolation
• Valuing older people more in Torbay
• Changes needed to service delivery
• Ongoing involvement of older people

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Volunteers and organisations were provided with a ‘tool kit’ designed by Encounters Associate Jo Salter to enable the consultation to reach  as many residents as possible. Out- Reach street based creative engagement sought to reach the most isolated residents and a Town centre Ageing Sofa offered passers-by of all ages the chance to feed into the process. Encounters then captured these ideas, memories, stories and experiences using a range of different tried and tested creative tools and techniques. These snap-shots were shared back at community visioning gatherings where we worked with residents and service providers  to share experiences and explore ideas for change. The events offered people the space to reflect on the joys and challenges of everyday life as well share positive ideas for change that could lead to more fulfilled and interconnected lives.

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Working in partnership with the newly established and Independent Torbay Community Development Trust (CDT), and Torbay Older Citizens Forum Encounters worked creatively to aid the development of a bid for the Fulfilling Lives Ageing Better a Big Lottery Fund. Torbay is one of 32 national areas that were selected from over 100 to apply for this funding and is now seeking to be one of the 15 – 20 areas that will benefit from between £2-6 million to run projects that will last for 2-6 years. The information shared at the three community visioning events and the street-based creative outreach work will provide vital ideas and information to feed into a programme of activities that will form the next stage of the bid to be submitted in April.

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