Age UK London started work on this project, supported by London Councils as part of its 2013-15 funding programme. The funding has been extended for 2015-16. It is being delivered in partnership with Opening Doors London.
Fit 4 Purpose supports, informs, up-skills and networks at least 400 voluntary and community organisations working with older people, across all London boroughs. It helps them effectively manage income reductions by providing them with the knowledge and skills to broker partnerships, 'stay afloat' and most effectively serve their users.
It helps organisations reduce costs, smaller organisations to become funding free, and others to attract funding through relationship brokerage with local sources of financial and in-kind support. Social media training workshops promote these tools to improve communication and outreach and reduce costs. A range of practical support workshops help organisations identify and pitch for funding.
An online Knowledge Hub provides information, spreads best practice, supports user consultation and provides equality and benchmarking tools to help organisations demonstrate impact. There is an online Opinion Exchange, featuring opinion pieces and discussion forums to trigger debate and ensure older people's organisations are able to respond to the changing needs of their users. A suite of briefings highlight challenges and opportunities to organisations working with London's diverse older population.
Specifically the project:
- Makes efficiency savings by brokering and supporting partnership working and resource sharing between organisations working with older people and local partners, where possible supporting organisations to become funding free.
- Produces and distributes London Funding News briefings, outlining funding opportunities and provides practical bidding support workshops.
- Improves and develops organisational digital communication and increases outreach by promoting social media resources including Facebook, Twitter and blogs.
- Circulates e-briefings to reduce costs (recognising there will always be a requirement for some paper-based communication).
- Helps organisations evidence impact via a toolkit and one to one support to develop data capture, monitoring and evaluation protocols.
- Undertakes research and regular consultations on key issues affecting older people's organisations and users, to ensure views and priorities are reflected to service providers and the statutory sector.
- Provides an Opinion Exchange website resource to engage with organisations (and older individuals) and develop thinking around issues including housing, income, social inclusion, digital exclusion, transport, health and social care.
- Improves current knowledge of sector-wide changes and activity e.g. related to housing, personal income, health and social care by distributing age-related briefings across the sector, including to councillors, local authorities and the NHS.
- Establishes a Project Reference Group to guide and oversee the project.