An older man seated in front of historic wood paneling which he is restoring.
A Volunteer working at Morecambe Winter Gardens, Lancashire. © Historic England Archive. Photographer credit Alun Bull. Image reference number DP234039
A Volunteer working at Morecambe Winter Gardens, Lancashire. © Historic England Archive. Photographer credit Alun Bull. Image reference number DP234039

Wellbeing and Older People

Projects that aim to improve older people’s wellbeing through interaction with heritage.

Worcester Life Stories

'Worcester Life Stories' was a developing, collaborative project between Worcester City Historic Environment Record and Worcestershire Health and Care Trust’s Older Adult Inpatient Services working together with a number of partners, funded by Historic England and the NLHF.

The project launched in June 2020 (awarded £79,400 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund) which enabled the development of two online platforms that combine digital technology and heritage with the aim of promoting inclusion and connecting community networks through reminiscence and life stories.

'Know Your Place Worcester'- hosted by Worcester City Council a free online historic map and photograph resource, giving people access to material from the city’s Historic Environment Record allowing people to overlay and compare different maps of Worcester and see how areas have evolved over the years
'Worcester Life Stories' – a free on-line platform, hosted by the Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, where people will be able to produce a free Life Story booklet of memories from their own lives, for reminiscence, general interest and especially for those living with dementia, as a link to the past with therapeutic benefits.

As well as enabling people to share their stories to help others understand and appreciate them as individuals, life stories help provide a collective view of wider society. They offer the ability to see different views of everyday life and share informal experiences that would otherwise be lost or overlooked by official records, making them important from both a social and cultural perspective. It can enable carers or family members to get ideas of how to engage with someone by finding out about their hobbies, interests or background, or learn about what is important to them such as past events or routines.

The Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester, undertook an evaluation (funded by Historic England) of the two platforms. You can find the full report below.

Read the report on the Worcester platforms

Working with Age UK

'Heritage Project**' is the working title for a new partnership between Historic England and Age UK Oxfordshire, exploring how marginalised communities can lead delivery in their own historic places to support wellbeing. Working in one place, we will co-design one Heritage Project** that provides Historic England, and wider heritage and age sectors, with a blueprint for national scalability.

Age UK’s Index of Wellbeing in Later Life research shows that older people themselves believe ‘creative and cultural participation’ is the number one positive influence on their own sense of wellbeing when ranked against other determinants such as ‘physical activity’, ‘access to healthcare’ and ‘social participation’. This project fits into Age UKs aim to enable older people across England to have agency and equity of access to culture by 2025 and Historic England’s Wellbeing and Heritage Strategy priority of working with older people experiencing disadvantage.

The Banbury-based project will run from March 2023 to December 2024 and focus on co-creation to develop shifts in agency and power and development of equality; it will include independent evaluation in partnership with Supersum, the Wicked Problems Agency.

Linda Monckton

Head of Wellbeing and Inclusion Strategy