COPE (Cambridgeshire Older People’s Enterprise) is a registered charity providing information/advocacy, social groups, outings and a bi-monthly newsletter to more than 2,300 registered members living in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. The organization was established by volunteers to ensure that older adults have a voice in their community and to highlight quality of life issues for this segment of the population. It remains volunteer driven with all programmes developed and supervised by volunteers.
Following a needs assessment distributed to members in 2018, COPE created TALKING TOGETHER, a free, weekly telephone-based series of discussion groups enabling registered participants to come
together from the comfort and security of their homes to share ideas experiences and a love for life-long learning. The programme’s importance was underscored during the Covid – 19 pandemic when all face to
face groups stopped, and many COPE members started shielding. It will remain a valuable source of support as the pandemic plays out, and as restrictions on meeting in groups continue. COPE initially required a consultation to ensure it took all necessary steps in creating a new programme and in gaining insight into the network of collateral service providers in the area. Once TALKING TOGETHER was successfully established, information about appropriate funding sources was needed.
What was done
Cope found CCVS extremely helpful in the early planning stages, examining the aims of the programme, service design and plans for outreach to the older adult community. We were able to act as a critical friend and ask questions that helped COPE clarify the projects aims and how it might operate. Once the project plan had been agreed, further discussions focused on identifying funding sources and suggestions on how to best position the organisation to be successful with its grant applications.
CCVS staff acted as a “sounding board”, always asked the right questions, and made very useful suggestions, assisting the organization in the challenging process of taking an idea from conception to realisation.
The outcome is a funded project that is now delivering an increasingly important service to COPE members, including a successful series of events over the summer of 2020.
“CCVS staff provided the essential information and helpful critique which contributed to the development of TALKING TOGETHER. They were, and remain, available to test ideas, consider alternatives and continue moving the programme forward. Always generous with their time, CCVS’s input has been a key factor in ensuring the creation and growth of our unique service for older adults.” Deborah Katznelson, COPE trustee
This case study can also be downloaded here