Headlines: December 8th, 2006



Ten local authorities are to get a share of 18.5 million pounds of Government money for projects designed to help older people to lead more independent lives and to stay in their own homes. The announcement by the Care Services Minister, Ivan Lewis, marked the beginning of the next stage in piloting the Partnerships for Older People Projects.

The programme is designed to provide support services closer to older people and to deal with needs ranging from low level through to being complex, with the aim of helping them to stay independent for longer and avoid the need for higher intensity or institutional care in the future. The money will go to the ten authorities which successfully bid for a share of it. The new schemes will be established from the beginning of May and will be supported by the Care Services Improvement Partnership. The successful new authorities will join the first round of pilot sites with the result that POPPS projects will now cover 9 regions around the country.

The winning local authority partnerships announced by Mr. Lewis are Rochdale, Tameside, Calderdale, Leicestershire, Croydon, West Sussex, Kent, North Somerset, Devon and Gloucestershire. POPPS was launched in 2005 and projects in the first phase included mental health cafes for older people, telephone advice services and befriending schemes. In the second stage councils were asked to work with older people to develop proposals to help people in their areas live healthy active lives.

The Minister told a conference that brought together professionals to share their experiences of the first round of projects, that older people were clear they wanted to be cared for in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. These projects, he said, would encourage a shift in emphasis in care towards prevention and bringing that care closer to older people’s homes. “Research shows that early intervention when people’s needs are low can improve well-being, help them stay independent and maintain their quality of life,” he said and added, “The pilots are testing new ways to improve the lives of older people, giving them greater personal control over their physical and emotional health, and helping them to remain independent wherever possible.”