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Wellbeing, health and occupation research

Activity Buddies:
Promoting Quality of Life for Older People 2008-2010

The Activity Buddies: Promoting Quality of Life for Older People project has been awarded £86,172 by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) South East Coastal Communities (SECC) university-wide bid. The Activity Buddies: Promoting Quality of Life for Older People project is an extension of the successful work carried out by members of the wellbeing, health and occupation for older people (WHOOP) group hosted by the Clinical Research Centre for Health Professions. The project was funded by Brighton and Sussex Community Knowledge Exchange (BSCKE).

The WHOOP research group have carried out a number of projects which have explored and identified ways that partnerships can be developed between the community and the University of Brighton. The original Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP) funded project which explored 'Older people's perceptions of a partnership between the University of Brighton and the local older people's community' (pdf 2.68Mb) and the Brighton and Sussex Community Knowledge Exchange (BSCKE) ‘Activity Buddies for quality of life for older people' highlighted how older people and the university's academic and student community can successfully and mutually access one another's expertise and experiences.

The first activity buddies project enabled members of different faculties across the university and community organisations to work together with students, local community voluntary organisations and older participants to share knowledge, skills, expertise and experiences.

The continuation of the activity buddies project built on this and supported and provided an opportunity for students and older people to engage together in intergenerational activities related to the student's subject area. This buddy relationship involved engaging mental abilities and skills as well as health-related, physical or information-sharing activities which ultimately had purpose and meaning to the individuals or group (Punwar: 2000).

Activity Buddies promoting quality of life for older people final report (pdf 399Kb)

The project team

The project team includes academics from University of Brighton, University of Sussex and local voluntary organisations.

  • Professor Ann Moore, (Project Manager), Clinical Research Centre for Health Professions
  • Ms Lisa Hodgson, (Project Co-ordinator), Clinical Research Centre for Health Professions
  • Dr Raija Kuisma, (Strand Lead), School of Health Professions (Physiotherapy Division)
  • Mr Mike Ellis-Martin, (Strand Lead), School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
  • Dr Linda Lovelock, (Strand Lead), School of Health Professions (Occupational Therapy Division)
  • Dr Marion Martin, (Activity Buddies REAP Evaluator), School of Health Professions (Occupational Therapy Division)
  • Dr Elizabeth Harrison,(Strand Lead), School of Anthropology, University of Sussex
  • Professor Marian Barnes, (Strand Lead), Social Science Policy and Research Centre
  • Mr David Harley, (Strand Lead), School of Applied Social Science
  • Mrs Paula Riley, (Strand Lead), School of Health Professions(Podiatry Division)
  • Ms Juliet Millican, (Strand Lead), School of Applied Social Sciences
  • Ms Finola Brophy, (Strand Lead), Project Manager, Age Concern Brighton, Hove and Portslade
  • Ms Kirsty Henshall, (Community Partner), Project Manager, WRVS
  • Ms Helen Kennet, (Community Partner), Active Age Manager, Age Concern
  • Ms Beth Thomas-Hancock, (Community Partner), Active Student, University of Brighton
  • Mr Simon Northmore, (Development Manager – South East Coastal Communities Project)

The project brought together university students of the School of Health Professions (physiotherapy students, occupational therapy students and podiatry students), School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences (pharmacy students), University of Sussex (sociology students) and School of Applied Social Science (social science students). Each project ran a themed buddy strand:

Strand 1: Fitness and Mobility for Health
Dr Raija Kuisma (School of Health Professions - physiotherapy division)

Strand 2: Dispensing with the Mystery
Mr Mike Ellis-Martin (School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences)

Strand 3: Together in learning
Dr Linda Lovelock (School of Health Professions - occupational therapy division)

Strand 4: Reduced Horizons
Dr Elizabeth Harrison (anthropology department, University of Sussex)
Mr David Harley (School of Applied Social Sciences)
Professor Marian Barnes (Social Science Policy and Research Centre, University of Brighton)

Strand 5: Foot Health Education Programme
Mrs Paula Riley (School of Health Professions - podiatry division)

These activities contributed towards improving older people's health and wellbeing by enhancing their general fitness, knowledge of medications, creative activities, confidence in their abilities and skills, self-esteem and also address the need for individuals to remain active mentally and physically in post retirement years. The project also demonstrated positive approaches to ageing through the different activities and more specifically through the narratives of older people themselves, through one-to-one and focus group interviews. In addition, the project continued to develop a transferable model which demonstrates best practices of promoting health and wellbeing of older people through a community and university partnership, to be used in other faculties in the University of Brighton and University of Sussex.

 

Working together, sharing ideas, making a difference