Skip to main content


The March Essex Assembly enabled more than 130 leaders to get together to share their experiences of delivering services for older people in Essex. 

A programme of eight workshops delivered as part of the event enabled leaders to participate in some future needs planning to address our partnership priorities to tackle avoidable physical and mental illnesses, promote independence through innovation, support carers, design healthy places, prevent isolation, increase employment opportunities, encourage learning and adopt a whole system leadership approach to effecting sustainable change.

We asked our workshop hosts to share some of the highlights from their discussions. The impact of our collaboration was expressed in the recommendations made, which will now be taken forward through our governance structure to Essex Strategic Coordination Group and Essex Partners.

Social Isolation

  • We'd like to invite everyone to get involved in Social Isolation and Loneliness Forum
  • It's important that generational barriers are removed. Everyone should be able to help each other, that we are always working towards giving older people choices and listening to their opinions
  • Peer to peer support should be encouraged.


  • We need to dispel the myth that older people aren’t using technology, improve access for all to digital technology and champion our ambition to achieve the most tech savvy communities in the world
  • There's a need to evaluate and share the impact that technology is having on older people's lives and deliver an impactful behaviour change campaign
  • Service providers and professionals need support from us to believe in innovative solutions and trust tech again, having previously been disappointed with results. A Workforce survey is currently being carried out across the county to see what service providers and professionals think of digital opportunities available to support older people.

Whole System Leadership

We covered our understanding of what’s working well, enablers and barriers, what needs to change and how we might change:

  • To make it practical we need to understand our common purpose, our alignment; and be interested in hearing differences, be prepared to change our views, be open and curious.
  • How might we keep connecting each other, to amplify our influence for system change?  How might we change the rules that inhibit working on system issues?
  • We committed to have a conversation about something that inspired/intrigued/motivated us, with someone who wasn’t in the room

And a final quote from the room in thinking about power and inclusion and difference “We need to always consider ‘what’s the consequence of the order I impose?’ ”

Let us know if you would like a copy of the ‘rich picture’ we’re building on the back of the two workshops:

Lifelong Learning & Earning

  • Older people and younger people can both benefit from working and learning together.  We need to support intergenerational projects in our own organisations as well as supporting their development in both big and small businesses.
  • Learning isn’t always about joining an academically focused course, it can be by finding out about something new or trying out a new craft/hobby, leading to a building of self-confidence and wider employability skills.  We need to find a way of promoting casual learning opportunities in places people already go such as shops and cafes and making sure people know about what is going on in their local area.
  • There is a shortage of tutors linked to key growth sectors, due to both demand and pay. We need to work with high-demand industries to find ways of supporting joint initiatives with the FE sector to encourage recruitment and retention via exchange CPD programmes.

Healthy Places

  • Green places were identified by both groups as the most important feature within healthy places, with the issues being primarily about type, quality and management of spaces appropriate to local need
  • We should explore different models of stewardship to help address concerns around the cost and long term maintenance of common/green spaces. For this to include consideration of the role of residents’ associations
  • The role of the HWBB could be maximised to contribute to the discussion and debate on planning.


  • More recognition of the carers agenda is required as it's pivotal to supporting older people to live well and to the sustainability of the health and social system
  • Systems, partners and communities need to recognise, understand and engage with the challenges carers face in being able to care and collectively respond to these challenges
  • Prioritise, support and come together to improve the lives of people who provide unpaid care.


  • Economy and employment type is changing – need to understand this and create something that is fit for now and future proofed esp. as people in workforce now (30s / 40s) may have got mortgages later in life, not moved out of parents home etc (bubble of pressure on the horizon)
  • Recommendation to look at what we can learn from Disability Confident and consider the potential for an Essex Charter Mark for employers supporting / recruiting older workers
  • Research and sharing of best practice required, such as job carving, phased retirement, Mid-Life MOTs and consider potential joint offer from Essex Partners to supporting local business to implement these approaches.

Physical Activity

  •  Listen to us, if you seek the older people's voice invest in co-design properly - where are the older peoples role models, Who represents us on your groups?
  • Locally owned solutions are most powerful - distribute leadership, give us control, empower us and we will take responsibility
  • To ‘intentionally promote’ and ‘actively encourage’ groups like ‘Let’s Keep Moving’ across Essex, we could recruit paid Older Persons Ambassadors who would do this by engaging with, and listening to, older Essex residents, facilitating and coordinating activity groups in Essex villages, towns and communities.
  • Engage Clinical Commissioning Groups to promote Life Into Old Age Groups such as Let’s Keep Moving and consider using Medical Facility buildings for activity groups to meet in.

If you would like to know more about any of the workshops, or make contact with the hosts please contact us at

page updated 15/03/19