Social network for older people in Lewes receives a financial boost

A resident-led project to develop a social network of older people has been awarded a £10,000 bursary to get going.

Join Us is a joint venture between Lewes District Council and AmicusHorizon, a London and South East housing association, for older people in sheltered housing and elsewhere to link up, unlock their skills and organise events and activities. It was the only older people’s project among six schemes that received bursaries from East Sussex Supporting People last week.

The bursary will enable the Join-Us Network to employ an IT-skilled person to develop a website and co-ordinate the scheme.

Social and digital media will back up more traditional methods of networking, to help residents work with housing staff to devise and organise activities such as social and cultural trips, sports and tournaments, inter-generational activities and to develop links between housing schemes in the district and beyond.

The aims of the Join-Us Network include expanding the range of activities and events in sheltered housing schemes, enabling older residents to have more choice and control over activities, to support each other, to learn about IT and to unlock their skills or learn new ones. By pooling resources and opening the scheme to older residents outside sheltered schemes, the project also aims to enable people to do more than they could within their own scheme and to reduce isolation and inequality and improve health.

Diane Coote, Chair of Lewes Sheltered Forum, said: “I think Join Us is an absolutely brilliant idea.”