The ‘Health and Wellbeing Vintage Tea Parties’ model supported older people establish and connect to the strengths and positive assets within each community; by bringing together community partners and groups within the different localities to showcase their service, it enabled people to see the wide range of support available to them.
A key link was with the GP practices; they also joined the ‘party’ and highlighted the range of information and services available within the practice.
The engagement/consultation with older people within communities was twofold as it provided older people the opportunity to visit multiple information stands offering bespoke information and advice to enable them to stay well, healthy, independent and connected to their community whist enjoying a “cuppa”.
Volunteer Community Champions were recruited and supported to deliver informative presentations about the importance of keeping well in later years and showcase local activities that they and their friends participate in.
During the “cuppa” a ‘friendly face’ supported the facilitated conversations about what is available in the community to keep people well and connected and what might support and enable them to connect with support available.
Locality reports from each of the Tea Parties were produced; which highlighted gaps and recommendations; the evaluation of the Vintage Tea Parties was extremely positive.
To share the learning; a Vintage Tea Party toolkit was developed; the toolkit provides a simple step by step of how to run a Tea Party and includes; practical check lists; risk assessments etc. A real asset in the process was the Community champions, the tool kit highlights how they were identified and recruited (public participation forums). The champions then went onto recruit others; they were all supported (but not led) by an Area Public Health Co-ordinator. The Community Champion model proved very successful as the key messages on how to stay healthy and connected were delivered by peers and not from health and social care services.
Links were made with the local supermarket community champions. They supported each event and provided coffee, cakes etc. For example, in one locality the RAF base came along and served tea.
The model for vintage tea parties was adapted to engage with other demographic groups including school children. One particular school had experienced a number of changes so the engagement event focused on the positives and what could support parents/carers. The children created invites for their parents/carers and put on a show highlighting; why it is important to go to school and who helps them learn. During the ‘cuppa’ facilitated conversations with parents/carers took place. Previous consultation events did not yield a big turnout; on this occasion 80 people came along to enjoy the ‘Vintage Tea’.
To build on the success of tea party model to engage older people other models have been developed, which include; a day time disco (alcohol free) afternoon event in the local nightclub for older adults. This model tackles social isolation by connecting communities and increases physical activity. Approximately 250 over 60’s attend these events which have been evaluated as very successful.
Local community groups such as the Men’s Sheds supported these day time events; to re-invest in the community the entry fee was distributed amongst the supporting groups. The demographic of those attending the day time disco were predominately women initially, but as word has spread the number of men attending is increasing. The discos have also raised the profile of Men’s Sheds – where men come together to build community projects and meet new people.