New Age UK Suffolk campaign helps older generation say There’s More to Me
A Suffolk charity has launched a new campaign to bridge the gap between generations as it continues to tackle loneliness amongst older people in the county.
Age UK Suffolk yesterday went public with its There’s More to Me initiative which is collecting the stories of people who use its services.
With concerns the over 65 age group can be seen as a vague group it is setting out to show the 153,000 older people living in Suffolk have a wealth of experience and knowledge which sets them apart as individuals.
At the campaign launch at the Suffolk Food Hall the charity, working with creative agency Spring, presented a moving video highlighting how everyone they work with has a story to tell.
We want people to think about the older generation in a different way and find out about the lives and characters of those members of our community,” said Hannah Bloom, Age UK Suffolk’s director of fundraising of communications.
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“What we’re now doing is going round to schools to say would they like to become involved with us.
“It all fits in with their PHSE lessons about valuing older people and the individual.
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“It’s all about learning for them but on the back of that we’re asking the schools if they’d like to fundraise for us.”
Mrs Bloom added there were opportunities for businesses to get involved with fundraising for the charity while some schools were going to be linking up with Age UK Suffolk’s day services.
“Our clients and our day services get so much out of it, they really loved it on Thursday when we were there with Clare primary,” she said.
“There’s a lot of information where, if we don’t capture it now, we might never get another chance to.
“We all hope to be old one day and enjoy the luxury of ageing so we’d hate to think now, sitting here in our 30s, 40s and 50s, that when we’re in our 70s, 80s and 90s nobody’s interested in us. That’s a really scary thought.”
Mrs Bloom hoped the video was a medium which would be able to reach supporters and clients across the generations.
“We’ve never had a video before so what we wanted to do was try and put something together that looked professional that makes people stop and think.
“It’s about us trying to reach as many people as we can. I’m hoping the video will be something which has more power than reading it in written form.”
The campaign highlights the statistic of there being an average of 10 lonely older people for each square mile of Suffolk, with more than a fifth of the county’s population aged over 65.
It also hopes to encourage fundraising for Age UK Suffolk’s core services, such as befriending schemes, lunch clubs and dementia clubs, which happen year-round and aren’t supported by flagship projects like Surviving Winter.
Speaking at the launch was Spring co-founder Erika Clegg, whose company has provided the campaign material for free.
“A loss of connection between generations and everyone’s increasingly busy, bustling digital lives can mean we ignore those around us, never mind their age,” she said.
“It’s a great pity because if we all took the trouble to look up and find out more we’d find our own quality of life very much improved.
“It’s about breaking down barriers between generations. We want to equip everyone with the tools they need to launch great conversations; conversations that reveal the rich detail of people’s lives and that create an emotional connection between them.”
Ms Clegg said Age UK Suffolk’s work was vital in an age where we have “increasingly disparate communities”, adding the film was a starting point for the conversations which could help bring people of all ages closer together.