Sheffield Mind's Age Better Wellbeing Practitioner service offers free counselling to people aged 50+ - delivered in people's homes, community venues or at our office.
We support older people to develop:
The project is part of a £6m investment programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund and led by South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) to reduce isolation in people aged 50+.
The programme is governed by the 'Age Better in Sheffield Core Partnership', which includes older people, representatives from Sheffield City Council, Sheffield 50+, NHS Sheffield CCG, Sheffield Hallam University, the VCF Sector and SYHA.
Sheffield Mind has a strong record in service user involvement. This model of community engagement - offering encouragement, training and support to people, who go on to support other community members to get involved - was a dynamic and positive contributor to the principle of getting services and citizens to work together.
Our positive local reputation enabled us to target and recruit volunteers and staff who reflect the communities we're serving; for example 50+ counsellors.
Success was enabled by the following:
The main, and most powerful data shows that people generally really engaged with the 5 Ways to Wellbeing. Attending therapy reduced how often they saw a GP for their mental health difficulties.
"As a wellbeing practitioner on the Age Better project, I have vastly improved my skills as a counsellor by working with an age group which has not traditionally accessed counselling. This group of clients have a vast history which sadly for many has never been heard or appreciated… The ability to see clients in their home has also meant that many people, who would not traditionally been able to access support have been helped." Wellbeing Practitioner, male, over 50.
"Wholeheartedly recommend this service…I can't tell you what a lifeline it has been - as a carer it is easy to become isolated and the service has re-connected me to the world as well as myself." Former client, female, age 76.
"I strongly believe that without this service I wouldn't be where I am now. All I did was cry, felt cut off - but from the time that I took part in the scheme I've learnt so much about depression and how to cope with it. I also already recommended a couple of friends to the service." Former client, male, age 82.