Enterprising people set to Transform Ageing in the south-west

The Transform Ageing programme is providing funding awards to 16 social ventures in the south-west of England, which aim to provide solutions to many of the issues faced by people in later life in the region.

A garage for people to learn how to restore classic cars, a community bookshop staffed by people in later life, a programme of dance to help prevent falls, and exercise classes that take place in the sea are just some of the ventures to receive funding and support as part of Transform Ageing.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Transform Ageing aims to revolutionise the approach to health, wellbeing and social care for people in later life, starting in the south-west of England. Bringing together people in later life, social entrepreneurs and commissioners of health and care services, it supports new solutions that better support the needs and aspirations of older people.

Social entrepreneurs to receive funding include:

Rusty road 2 recovery

Based in Highbridge, Somerset, Vince Davis is an experienced mechanic who wants to help tackle social isolation by providing a garage for people in later life to learn how to restore classic cars and motorbikes. Vince has experienced social isolation himself and wants to create a social venture that serves as an opportunity to learn together, to tackle the issues of loneliness often experienced by people in later life. Initial funding will enable him to set up Rusty road 2 recovery. He also plans to run another garage where people in receipt of disability benefits can learn basic mechanic skills.

Crediton Community Bookshop

Crediton Community Bookshop is a social enterprise set up in 2013 by a group of volunteers. Staffed by employees and volunteers, the bookshop has gone from strength to strength and in 2016 moved to larger premises. Volunteering is a key aspect of the enterprise, enabling people to learn new skills, become more integrated in the community and contribute to the development of the organisation. Many volunteers are over 50 and some are recently retired, bringing a lifetime of skills and experience. Its schools outreach programme won the prestigious Prince of Wales Award in 2017 for outstanding contribution to improving lives in the community and reaches over 3,000 children every year, transforming many reluctant readers into avid bookworms. Funding from Transform Ageing will enable manager, Dee Lalljee, to recruit a coordinator to grow the team of volunteers.

Step in Time

Clare Parker is an experienced dancer, dance teacher and movement practitioner. Her social venture is a programme of dance which includes strength and balance exercises, specifically for people in later life who are at risk of falls and have decreased mobility. New funding will enable Clare to expand her programme of community classes, performances and social dance events. It will also enable her to work with people who are most isolated in their homes, to help more people gain confidence, mobility and re-engage with their communities.

Longe Cote UK

Jo Curd runs exercise classes in the sea for people in later life at Gyllynvase beach in Falmouth. Longe Cote (meaning along the coast) is an exercise routine that builds strength and flexibility. It originated in France where Jo learned the technique, but she is the only registered teacher in the UK. She has been running classes several times a week and Transform Ageing funding will enable her to expand her business to run more classes and cope with growing demand.

The Filo Project

The Filo project has been operating successfully in Exeter and across Devon for four years. It provides small group day care service for people with early to moderate dementia. Clients spend a day, or more, with other members and a host carer in the host’s home, enjoying quality and meaningful social time. The funding award will enable the co-founders, Dr Liz Dennis and Libby Price, to expand their business across the south-west to benefit more people and have a greater positive impact.


Camilla de Bernhardt Lane’s social enterprise is dedicated to reconnecting and nurturing people with the natural environment. They have a particular focus on vulnerable and hard to reach groups including people with caring responsibilities, people with dementia, and those over 55 who are inactive. Aquafolium run indoor and outdoor sessions characterised by making sensory connections with the natural environment and drawing on the practice of mindfulness. Under this broad umbrella they run forest bathing as well as foraging for wellbeing and even ‘remember the forest’ projects with memory cafes across Devon. Funding will enable Aquafolium to continue to grow to become one of the country’s leading providers of nature-based therapeutic interventions for the health and care sector. 

Transform Ageing is delivered by UnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs, alongside Design Council, Centre for Ageing Better and the South West Academic Health Science Network. It is supported locally by Community Council for Somerset, Devon Communities Together, Torbay Community Development Trust, and Volunteer Cornwall.

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Transform Ageing

Transform Ageing is a pioneering programme taking a community and design led approach to improve people’s experience of ageing. It brings together people in later life, their friends, family and carers, social entrepreneurs and public sector leaders to define, develop and deliver new solutions that better support the needs and aspirations of our ageing communities.

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