Connect Hackney has a new Programme Director
Tony joined the Connect Hackney team as Programme Director in November 2018. We asked Tony about current activities for Hackney’s older residents and about plans for an ageing better future.
What attracted you to Connect Hackney?
Being isolated and feeling lonely can have a massive impact on someone’s quality of life.
Although we know some of the factors that put someone at risk of becoming isolated, such as bereavement or retirement, we are less sure what activities help older people develop new friendships and networks.
Connect Hackney provides an opportunity to increase our understanding and transform the lives of older people, now and in the future – that attracted me to the programme.
What are you currently working on?
Hackney is a diverse borough, with large Black African, Black Caribbean and Turkish and Kurdish communities. Hackney has the largest group of Charedi Jewish people in Europe and also has other significant communities including Chinese and Vietnamese.
However, we haven’t been able to reach some of these communities, e.g. Asian, (Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Vietnamese), Turkish and Kurdish, and some Black African communities. We are now looking at ways to increase our reach, to ensure that the evidence we gather through Connect Hackney, which will be used to influence future services, will take into account the full range and needs of older people in Hackney.
How does Connect Hackney help older people to age better?
Staying mobile, maintaining friendships and learning new things all help people age better. Through the activities we fund, we help older people to develop new skills, such as sending texts, making video calls with friends and family, and using mindfulness to alleviate stress.
We know from older people that there are a lack of activities in the borough that allow them to have fun! Our next round of activities will be about people coming together to enjoy a fun activity.