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The Citizen Research Project ended on 31st December 2021. This is an update to the project and what we achieved.

WE WANTED TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

Usually we ask older people and their carers to share their life experience OR comment on services we are thinking of providing.  This is often called consultation. 

With the Citizen Research project we wanted you to come together and set your own agenda.

We wanted your ideas on what will make Southwark more Age Friendly.

The Citizen Research Community (CRC) was open to any older person or carer who is aged 60 and over, or  aring for an older person living in Southwark. It really did not matter if you had never done anything like this before. We agreed to support, and learn from, each other. We also offered free training.

Once we had agreed on the topics, we helped to carry out action research. A key stage was then getting our researcher's findings and evidence across to those who can make the changes and improvements- to really make a difference. 

We asked for anyone who has an interest in other people and how things work, and was willing to give their time to join others in Southwark to carry out this participative research.

Download our leaflet here.

The first step to doing something different was to fill out our  Expression of Interest/Membership Form.

How did this work with COVID-19?

Of course, starting a new project whilst dealing with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on all of our lives was challenging for many reasons, especially as we needed to keep safe and socially distanced. We understood that not everyone has access to computers or smart phones, but we encouraged people not to let this put them off joining in as we would try to help with this. 

Community Southwark and Healthwatch delivered our training in participatory research methods in May 2021, so we were then able to carry out our fieldwork.

Two CRC members asked the question “How do Older People feel about using computers?” starting from their own experiences.

We know that there is lot of pressure on everyone to be more connected online and using the internet but of course not everyone has the equipment or the connectivity, the confidence or skills to use the devices or even the interest.

There is an issue with some services only being accessed via apps or online  - you hear terms like Digital First, Digital by Default and Digital Only. We know that some older people rely on others, often family or friends, to book appointments, services, or order items for them. This was very true last year during the various lockdowns when even GP surgeries were closed.

Other CRC members wanted to explore what it means to be an (unpaid) carer and how has the pandemic impacted on everyone’s mental and physical wellbeing. Is there more loneliness?

Our Showcase

We shared our learning at a ZOOM Showcase Event on the 14th December 2021. We identified KEY THEMES and considered ways to improve things. Please click here to view our presentations.

The project ended on the 31st December 2021. We are pleased to say that Healthwatch will provide support for Citizen Research in 2022. 

If you have any questions please email Jeff.Porter@ageuklands.org.uk.

We need to say a special thank you to Social–Life (www.social-life.co) who have given us support and encouragement throughout.