Innovation Exchange

Community involvement through Vintage Tea Party Model


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Moray’s population is aging, consistent with national trends.  Increasing life expectancy is to be celebrated.  Population projections shows a 45% increase in the over 65 population and a reduction of 15% in the under 65’s in the next twenty years.  With increasing age there is also a rise in the number of people living with long term conditions. The delivery of Vintage Tea Parties in local communities enabled the promotion of tier 1 activities in order to promote self help and self management, to sustain good health and wellbeing; reducing the need for tier 2 and 3 health and social care services for older people in Moray.  An element of the Vintage Tea Parties was to engage with older people to identify any gaps in community opportunities, any barriers to access existing activities and identify any existing community groups which may require extra support or funding. The overarching aim was to encourage older people to connect to community activity to reduce social isolation.

Theme: Community Planning and Empowerment

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.

What helped us to improve community participation?


The Vintage Tea Party model itself in the fact it was inclusive, engaging, fun and informative, with the key messages being delivered by Community Champions and not from services.  The success of the model enabled the consultation to gain momentum as people were interested and wanted to participate.


Awareness and access to support services has increased, they include: peer befriending, volunteering opportunities, transport, dementia coffee, lunch group, strength and balance groups.


The new contacts with the older population have facilitated collaboration and engagement with older people to shape future needs and has reduced the need for social services. By bringing people together to network the model has facilitated new connections between community groups as well as individuals in the communities. Through the facilitated collaboration and engagement with older people; the range of locality based assets have been mapped out in some cases has supported the development of new groups such as Men’s Sheds.


Evaluation reports include; VOICE and Situation, Background Assessment and Recommendation (SBAR) reports for each vintage tea.


The community champions engaged in the recent HMIe CLD inspection; this proved to be very successful.


Quote from older person: ‘I learned about lots of activities and groups. It was good to get out to socialise and know where to go for support’.


Quote from project officer: ‘A lovely way to get older people together and network. The messages were positive. Allowed face to face conversations’.


The model of engagement has been recognised at a National level, winning The NHS Scotland People’s choice and The Health of the Population awards in 2017.


What were the barriers to improving community participation?


The main barrier was finding venues large enough to meet the demands of the popularity of these events with older people.  It was also necessary to cap the amount of local pop up providers as more wanted to attend than we had space to accommodate.


The Tea Parties were very different in different localities.  The need to adapt the model to suit the needs of each locality and each target group was key.  This flexible, inclusive model was easily interchangeable. This required a partnership approach to sharing resources and expertise.  The national standards self evaluation through VOiCE evaluated the process as very good.   Working in partnership with businesses like Tesco community champions provides many opportunities for sharing resources and has a positive impact on our events.

Case study added to site: December 2018

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