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Neighbourhoods of the future

Betty Davies once said that the third act is no place for sissys! It’s true that getting older comes with some challenges and a big one is how to stay in your home for life and keep your independence. This is a challenge that the Agile Ageing Alliance is absolutely determined to address with their ‘Neighbourhoods of the Future’ project (see https://www.agileageing.org/ for more information).

The objective of Neighbourhoods of the Future is to design better homes for older adults – improving health, care, design and technology – and make no mistake they’re aiming to start a revolution. This is an ambitious large-scale project, sponsored by Tata (who have committed £20m) and the Nat West. The project is seeking funding from the Governments £300m ‘Ageing Society Grand Challenge’ initiative, part of the UK’s new industrial strategy. The Agile Ageing Alliance is a campaigning social business which has brought together a diverse group of collaborators to reimagine ‘homes for our future selves’.

Ian Spero, the founder of the Agile Ageing Alliance, is extremely keen to involve the U3A in this revolution. U3A CEO Sam Mauger spoke at their recent conference and has been invited to sit on a panel and I have been asked to set up a ‘cohort’ or working group of U3A members.

The role of the U3A cohort will develop over time but is likely to include informing the project at an early enough stage to influence design, giving feedback on project proposals or design ideas, providing insight (potentially testing products and assistive technology) and contributing ideas – even potentially co-creating where cohort members expertise permits. We are looking for a group of 8 to 10 people in the cohort. This is a really great opportunity to get involved in something that could be very significant… after all we are the ‘target market’!

So, what are we looking for in cohort members? Firstly, a real enthusiasm for the project, secondly a cross section of members of different ages with different life experiences (for example carers, people with a disability, people who have/are moving to meet their later life needs, geographical spread, etc) and finally it would be great to have members with relevant specialist skills or expertise (e.g. experts in the built environment, construction, IT, technology, social care or health sector, etc) which would enable us to have more impact on the Neighbourhoods of the Future project.

If you’re inspired by the project and interested in joining the revolution then please do get in touch with me as soon as possible at suecoles222@gmail.com