What an amazing day we had yesterday bringing together all seven delivery partners Age UK Trafford, 2014-08-06 13.27.26Age UK South Tyneside, Age UK South Lakeland, Age UK Oxfordshire, Age UK Lancashire,  Age UK Hillingdon and Age UK East London. The event was led by our evaluators TwoCan and we were delighted to be joined by two of our strategic partners – Jewish Care and International Longevity Centre.2014-08-06 13.46.36

We had a great day getting to know each other, sharing learning and planning ahead. So many of us have had the conversation.  The venue was also lovely and we definitely recommend it – National Council for Voluntary Organisations on All Saints Street.

Yesterday’s visioning workshop was the first of what will be many partnership events. What made yesterday’s extra special at least for me was that it was also the first time the whole of the new national team had met. They will be, I’m sure, introducing themselves properly via this blog in due course (two have yet to formally start! ) but thought it be nice to tell you who they all are today:

2014-08-06 13.31.12– Esther Norman,  Programme Manager
– Esther Nimmo,  Training Lead North
– Verena Hewat, Training Lead South
– Frances Bennett,  Development Support Officer

It is over a year ago we learnt we had been shortlisted to apply for Big Lottery Silver Dreams Flagship status and so yesterday was quite emotional for me to see all our plans come to fruition.  It is SO EXCITING!

2014-08-06 13.46.40There is of course still lots to organise before the core service of 1:1 support for older people and the accredited training programme start. Over the next three months our delivery partners will be recruiting and training their volunteers, putting in place the monitoring arrangements and undertaking baseline mapping & local intelligence gathering. The new team will be supporting our partners to do all of this as well as working with TwoCan to develop the evaluation programme.  There will also be indepth training events including a two day residential at the University of Warwick. Our partners and the team are aiming to post weekly updates, and so I like you will be reading this regularly to keep abreast of all the developments. Yup I’ve done my work by getting us to this amazing moment and now it is almost time for me to move on.

A big thank you to everyone who’s helped us get here and also a thank you in advance to everyone who is going to be involved in the implementation. Together you are going to make such a difference to the lives of older people.

PS and a special thanks to Catherine Blaxhall, Head of Carers Support & OxBEL, Action for Carers (Oxfordshire) for that brilliant title!