Key learning: co-production
The idea of ‘Co-production’ can feel like an unattainable gold standard of involvement. Although there is no formally adopted definition, our local evaluators have used:
“Co-production is not just a word, it’s not just a concept, it is a meeting of minds coming together to find a shared solution. In practice, it involves people who use services being consulted, included and working together from the start to the end of any project that affects them.”
(Making it real: Marking progress towards personalised, community based support - Think Local Act Personal, 2011.)
We have tried to adopt this approach in every aspect of the Time to Shine programme, seeing involving older people as one of the main principles of our work.
We have found that authentic and genuine co-production results in effective and successful projects and activities. Through co-production older people have felt a true sense of ownership of the project, and then gone on to promote the project and advocate on their behalf. In many cases this has led to a ripple effect of people reaching out to others to connect them with their community.
We have sought to involve older people since the beginning of Time to Shine, within the programme team and throughout our funded projects. Examples include:
- Contributing to and writing the funding bid
- Overall governance of the programme through the Core Partnership
- Commissioning new projects
- Recruiting staff
- Ensuring that all projects have involved older people in the development of the funding application
- Evaluating the project through peer researchers and volunteer listeners.
By using a test and learn approach we have been clear that genuine co-production can be challenging for staff and older people alike. It also requires skill and resources. We have worked with the University of Sheffield to explore this further and have supported a student, Louise Whitehead, to complete a PhD exploring Co-production, using Time To Shine as a case study.
Time to Shine reports
- A summary of delivery partners’ learning, July-September 2021 (Time to Shine, November 2021)
- An ABCD approach to setting up a community group in your local area (Time To Shine, 2020)
- Co-production toolkit (Time To Shine, January 2021)
- Volunteer Listeners (Time To Shine, 2019)
- BME Network - final report (Time to Shine, 2018)
- Community Connect (Time to Shine, 2017)
- Greater than the sum of its parts: creating a cohesive programme (Time To Shine, October 2021) - toolkit to follow!
- Helping community groups to become self-led and sustainable (Time To Shine, September 2020)
- Life, loss, learning and legacy: learning from men's experiences of bereavement (Time to Shine, July 2020)
- Sage: a project for older LGBT+ people in Leeds - end of project report (Time to Shine, August 2021)
- Shine Magazine: lifestyle, learning and laughter during lockdown in Leeds (Time to Shine, November 2020)
- Street Links (Time to Shine, 2017)
- The Role of Co-Production in Combating Loneliness and Social Isolation in Later Life: a Case Study of the Time to Shine Programme (Louise Whitehead PhD thesis, University of Sheffield, December 2020)
Reports from other Ageing Better programmes
- Age Friendly Fund Report (Ageing Better Middlesbrough, October2020)
- Care Homes in the Community - Evaluation report (Bristol Ageing Better, March 2021)
- Carers' Voice (Unsung Heroes): Executive Summary (Ageing Better in Birmingham, October 2020)
- Involving older people in creating services and activities (Ageing Better in Birmingham, February 2020)
- Lessons learnt from running group activities - video (Ageless Thanet, October 2020)
- People in the lead: Pam’s story - video (Ageless Thanet, October 2020)
- Planning for later life (Ageless Thanet)
- Wellbeing activities to reduce loneliness and social isolation (Ageless Thanet, October 2020)