Alive has been connecting care homes with their local communities through a series of groundbreaking projects for over seven years.

Working with over 80 care homes, our community engagement work aims to deliver resident-led activity that opens care homes up to the world around them.

Tech to Connect

Alive Activities, in partnership with the West Of England Rural Network (WERN), run a number of drop-in sessions for older people across North Somerset. In a relaxed social setting, often a village hall, people can drop in and ask questions about their smartphones, tablets or laptops and receive advice and support from local volunteers and, usually, a paid advisor. This enables them to stay in touch, stay in control and stay independent.

We also have teaching and support materials available. You can download a digital version of these from the resources section here.

If you want to know where and when these sessions are then drop an e-mail to or look out for details on your local village noticeboard. Contact us if you might be interested in having a session like this in your community.

At present this scheme is limited to the North Somerset Council area. However Alive Activities would be very interested in developing similar schemes elsewhere in partnership with local organisations.

For more details, contact the Community technology Advisor on

Intergenerational work

Alive has been running successful intergenerational initiatives for over seven-year with younger people of all ages, our most notable successes have been;

Access All Ages

Alive are pleased to share the evaluation report from our Access All Ages project, which completed in July 2021. Funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, this intergenerational project started in 2019, and continued through the challenges of the pandemic. This report available here includes the key learnings we have taken from this experience, and are now able to feed into our other intergenerational projects.

Our Access All Ages project pairs school-age children with care homes for a whole school term. The nature of the group activities are decided on by the residents and younger people at the beginning of the term. Currently, we are running 17 partnerships over 7 counties. Read about the positive impact our intergenerational work had on Alan.

Intergenerational Gardening

This work uses gardening to bring the generations together while passing on skills and knowledge to younger generations. Taking place in four counties and from nursery age, right through to teenagers, this work has included support from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Young Bristol and Alive

Over the last two years, Alive has been working closely on an award-winning partnership that partners Young Bristol youth groups with care homes. The partnership has seen younger people aged 9-18 build long-lasting relationships with older people, learn leadership skills and enter into care work as a career. Read more about Marcus and Millie’s friendship here.

Coproducing Activity

Through two projects Alive has led the way in developing methods to embed co-production at the heart of the care home, enabling residents of all abilities to shape their care and activity.

Understanding what residents want from activities

The Making Pals project has worked with 10 care homes and over 100 care home residents to develop workshop techniques that allow even those living with the most advanced dementia to communicate who they are and what they want from their care. This learning has been developed into a training course that was a finalist in the 2019 Dementia Care Awards ‘Best Training’ category. Head to our resource library to download our ‘How to Guide’ for free.

Helping residents deliver care home activity

The Bristol Ageing Better ‘Communities of Interest’ project worked with four care homes to develop an active residents association within the homes that could influence and deliver care home activities.

This led to a number of examples of residents taking the lead on a number of ongoing activities such as travel clubs and gardening groups.

Getting out and about

Supporting day trips

Through extensive coproduction work, Alive was repeatedly told that residents would like to get out and about more often. Residents also asked to do more activity that is more specific to their hobbies.

After talking to care homes we found that getting residents out and about was costly and time-consuming and especially if only one or two residents wished to go out on that activity.

Alive partnered with Green Community Travel and South Gloucestershire Council to deliver a series of cross care home day trips. Allowing homes to share the cost and workload of the trips, take residents on more specific activities such as fishing, as well as the residents being able to meet new people.

Cycling Without Age

Set up as part of out Making Pals project, Cycling Without Age Bristol aims to reach and improve the lives of elderly people making nursing homes a place of joy and continued mobility.

We take elderly people living in care homes out for a bicycle ride – through the city, to the water and the countryside. We break them free from social isolation. Make them smile. Bring back their memories. And let them be part of society again and thereby renew their appetite for life itself. We give them the right to wind in their hair.

Supporting volunteering

From training care homes to run more traditional volunteering placements to finding new and innovative ways people can volunteer their time more flexibly, our projects have helped encourage hundreds of volunteers in care homes.

The Bristol Wishing Washing Line

Originally an initiative of FaNs Essex, the Wishing Washing Line was brought to Bristol through the Making Pals project. The project sees older people’s wishes collected, displayed in supermarkets and online and then granted by members of the community.

The project took off in Bristol with residents being arrested and flying planes! Many smaller wishes for chats, treats and company have also been granted.

Head to the project’s Facebook page to see if there are any wishes you can grant!

Bake a Smile

As part of our Sunlife charity of the year corporate partnership, corporate volunteer Sarah Byfeld set up the incredibly successful ‘Bake a Smile‘ initiative with support form Alive’s Making Pals project.

The charity sees local bakers baking a cake for an older person on their birthday and popping to see them for a chat on their special day.

Supporting Care Homes to use Volunteers

Through many conversations with care home staff and current care home volunteers, Alive produced a series of training courses and how-to guides to support both volunteers and care homes to work together to support activity.

Find out more about our training here and head to our resource library to download our free how to guides.

Accessing local attractions

Through partnership working across the south-west, Alive has been opening-up local visitor attractions to care home residents in innovative ways.

Improving accessibility

Alive has worked with many attractions across the city to help them improve their offering to care homes. This includes running trips in order to help them understand the difficulties care staff may face in bringing many residents on a trip as well as advising them on activities that may be suitable for people living with a range of cognitive and sensory impairments.

Outreach work

As well as working to improve on site facilities for residents Alive has been working to improve outreach work delivered in care homes. This has been through sharing information around what residents want to see from activity as well as providing attractions with contacts of homes looking for cultural and learning activities.

Contact our Community Engagement Manager on to get involved in any of our community engagement work.