BAB - Communities of Interest

In 2017 Alive were chosen alongside Growing Support (who have now merged with us) to deliver the Communities of Interest in Care Homes project, funded by Bristol Ageing Better.  

Community development is increasingly recognised by the care sector and social care commissioners as vital in tackling issues of social isolation in our older populations living in care homes. This project connects care homes to groups in their local community, such as schools, colleges, local charities, clubs or creative, and outdoor groups so that older people can take part in fun, meaningful and dynamic activities.  By building on the existing strengths of the care homes and their communities we develop relationships that will endure and become self-sustaining after the completion of the project.




The Communities of Interest in Care Homes project works in the following ways:

Empowering: We work with residents to learn about the activities they enjoy, and how they would like to engage with their local community. Activity sessions with community groups are then designed around the interests of the residents, as well as the assets and strengths of the care home staff. 

Building links: Steering groups made up of residents and care home staff, help care homes to plan activities collaboratively. Through building lasting relationships with community groups, older people in care feel more connected to, and better able to contribute to community life.  

Support & partnership: We provide coaching programmes to care home staff to help embed steering groups, activities and community links that will be sustainable in the long term.

Evidence-based: We provide care homes with information on the measurable difference that the steering group, community activities and staff coaching has had on life at the care home.


Project news 

The Communities of Interest project has been busier than ever, with the activities, trips, gardening and community links we set up thriving in all four participating homes.

Some of the activities have included:

  • A talk at Katherine House by David Dewar, a PHD student at Bristol University about classical music.
  • Katherine House and Granville Lodge visited Windmill Hill City Farm and enjoyed seeing the gardens, animals and tasting the seasonal produce.
  • Granville Lodge visited Bristol Botanical Gardens.
  • Folk musicians visited each home and put on a concert. 

Community groups have been working with all four homes, with Muddy Boots nursery visiting Stokeleigh home on a weekly basis, and the Co-op Nursery visiting Bamfield Lodge. The Avon Wildlife Trust have been into Katherine House, Stokeleigh and Bamfield Lodge to talk about their work and local wildlife.

Our Growing Support Project officer Abi has been busy running Social and Therapeutic Horticulture workshops, developing co-produced activity plans with residents, and designing local walks in green spaces around the home. To ensure the longevity of the project, she has also been coaching home staff to run their own gardening sessions and buying them kit so that they have their own resources.