Norwich students forge links with older people

Students in Norwich have helped spearhead a campaign to promote the work of one of the city's leading charities, while also helping to forge ties between young and old.

This week saw the launch of 'Celebrate Age: the campaign for longer life' by Age UK Norwich and Age UK Norfolk, with design work by second year students at Norwich University College of the Arts (NUCA).

The idea behind the campaign is to break through some of the stereotypes that we can all have around living longer and highlight some of the positive things which are happening, both out in the community, and within Age UK itself.

Based on a design by graphic design students Rebecca Turner, and Jessica Duncan, the campaign theme was centred on candles to promote the idea that living longer was something to celebrate.

Jessica, 21, said: 'We wanted to have a positive outlook of age as something to celebrate, rather than looking at it in a negative way. Candles were nice because they stand out, but also everyone has a birthday and celebrates.'

Rebecca, 20, said other students also interviewed older people to get their perspective on living longer.

'It's opened our eyes to older age and challenged the stereotypes,' she said.

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Phil Wells, chief executive of Age UK Norwich, said that with more and more of us living longer, and government funding being reduced, the charity was to tap into the potential of people in and around the city.

The chances are if you live in the city, you are close to a pub, a church, a school, or a community centre. And Mr Wells said places such as these have formed the perfect setting for a whole host of community activities. As part of its out-reach work the charity was focusing on a host of projects involving schools, pubs, and community groups in Heartsease, Bowthorpe and Mile Cross.

This can range from lunches for older people at local schools, to helping organise shopping trips, and even activities such as carpet bowls.

'The thing that makes later life more particularly difficult is social isolation,' Mr Wells said. 'We see our role as helping to get people more active. But it's not so much about what we do, but about how we can help. What we are seeking to do is work with individuals, local organisations, and even commercial organisations, to help develop social networks and activities for older people in their locality.

'Our part of that is providing the back-up, so if someone needs advice and can provide that, we can help provide activities older people find valuable and helpful, otherwise everything becomes bingo.

'We are working with people wherever they are, whatever their environment is. If anybody comes to us with an idea, we will help.'

Prof John Last, NUCA principal, said: 'NUCA is delighted to be helping Age UK Norfolk raise awareness of their Campaign for Later Life. Projects with external clients like this are part of all our courses at NUCA, helping our students improve their skills and enhance their CVs. All of this aids their chances of securing the best jobs after they graduate.'

Throughout the week you can pop along to the Waitrose store in Eaton and find out more about what it is going on, and how to get involved with Age UK Norfolk and Age UK Norwich, or how to access help and advice.

And you can even nominate yourself, or someone you know as one of the campaign's 'celebrities' which will feature in the campaign.

Keep reading the Evening News this week to find out more about the work of Age UK Norwich and Age UK Norfolk, how people are getting involved, and what you can do to help.

Are you enjoying later life and have a story to tell? We want to hear from you. Contact Shaun Lowthorpe on 01603 772471 or email