About this blog

This blog is part of an online engagement to assist the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK) in identifying ways of supporting people through ‘Transitions in Later Life’.

This will include preparing for retirement and beyond, as well as support for people’s emotional and psychological wellbeing in later life transitions.

We also hope that this site will become a place for discussion and sharing of resources and practice.

We are interested in learning about:

  • existing range of activity in supporting people through ‘Transitions in Later Life’
  • evidence for the effectiveness of different approaches/models
  • gaps that needs to be addressed
  • opportunities and barriers to achieving change.

This initiative will build on previous work supported by the Foundation related to Ageing and Fulfilling Potential. For more details visit the Foundation’s website.

This engagement and research exercise is being conducted by BP Research Consultancy Ltd (BPRC). For more information contact us at: transitionsinlaterlife@gmail.com


3 thoughts on “About this blog

  1. The Atkinson, an Arts-Based Approach to Positive Ageing

    The Atkinson in Southport is a new multi art-form venue owned and operated by the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, a borough whose demographics on ageing are amongst the most challenging in the country. Sefton has the highest proportion of people over 65 and over 75 in England with 22% in the borough currently aged over 65.

    At The Atkinson we have a duty to develop an offer that is more ambitious than usual cultural provision by bringing together a combination of resources to support older people’s independence and engagement, improving their health and helping them in the transition from work into retirement and beyond.
    The resources we have to do this include:

    • Art Galleries with permanent collections of fine and decorative art
    • Museum with collections of local social history and Egyptology
    • Theatre
    • Studio theatre
    • Library
    • Tourist information
    • Cafe
    • Craft shop
    • Community workshop and education programme
    • Creative Alternatives arts on prescription programme

    We’ve been operating Creative Alternatives, a highly successful arts on prescription service for adults with mild to moderate stress or anxiety, for some years on behalf of Public Health and also run a confidence building course, Think Differently Cope Differently, founded on the principles of the five ways to wellbeing and mindfulness. We’re exploring how these services can grow in ways that benefit the wider public, supporting older people to function better as part of a coordinated package that also includes creativity, volunteering and targeted signposting to complimentary services offered by partner organisations from the health or social care sectors.

    Our current programmes targeting older people include a hugely popular Tea Dance, dance classes, tai chi, painting, pottery and a ‘Companions’ befriending group run by Age Concern. Our geographical position on a magnificent stretch of North West coastline also means that we are programming active walks that end at our museum or gallery and which add cultural value to physical benefits. Volunteering in our museum and gallery in various capacities has been particularly popular with older people who receive a number of training and skills development opportunities.

    The effect on the mental wellbeing of members of Creative Alternatives is captured using both WEMWBS (Warwick & Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale) and a lifestyle questionnaire at pre and post entry. We’ve found a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of those who are culturally engaged and these evaluation tools will be use over the coming months to measure the effectiveness of our wider programmes specifically on the functioning of older people. All evaluation is routinely shared with Public Health and the Adult Services Directorate in order to inform the direction and restructuring of strategies and services. As a local authority cultural venue, we have a duty to support active ageing by helping people to cope better with the shrinking of more expensive traditional support services.



  2. Hi, I wanted to let you know about a project we ran called Touchstones which supported bereaved older people in rural areas. We provided skills training and peer mentoring to allow people to learn skills that they lost when their partner died e.g. DIY, car maintenance, cooking, even how to wrap presents. There is a full report on our website here:

    It has been held up as an example of good practice in several publications and was unique at the time in it’s focus on skills rather than counselling. It also developed local support networks for the beneficiaries which continue today.




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