Ageless Thanet is a charity funded by the National Lottery Community Fund to prevent loneliness in older people, like Bristol Ageing Better, it is 1 of 14 projects being hosted across England. Local shops and businesses play a huge part in any community; many become mini hubs for the local community, frequently providing the only point of human contact for lonely or isolated people, therefore, as a part of their work, Ageless Thanet created the Age-friendly Business Scheme.
Businesses interested in registering as an Age-friendly Business will receive a visit from the Age-friendly Business adviser who will explain the aims of the project and check their suitability to join the scheme. The registration form allows the applicant business to score themselves on a scale of 1-5 on various points around how they and their staff engage with the 50+ consumer as well as access to the physical or virtual business premises. They also ask the business to offer a special deal or discount for the 50+ consumer who shows an Ageless Thanet Reward card. Once the adviser is satisfied they are suitable the business will be listed on the Ageless Thanet App, Website and printed directory free of charge.
The business also receives a variety of point of sale marketing material and have access to other free marketing opportunities and training/network sessions.
So far 372 businesses have signe dup to the scheme and there are 5,500 reward card holders as the scheme goes from strength to strength.
Harris and Hoole - Coffee shop
Have you seen a difference in custom and /or income since becoming part of the Age Friendly Business scheme?
Over the past 12 months we have seen in the region of 3000 uses of the card, an average of 250 – 300 every month. Our average spend is £6.30 per head that equates to more than £18,000 per annum.
We serve an average of 50,000 customers a year, so the Ageless Thanet card is being used by 7.5% of our customer base.
Have you noticed that you and your staff have become more age aware with regards to the way you deliver your service, has it resulted in adaptations or created a change in the way you do things?
We have moved tables around to make it easier for people with mobility issues to move around the store. We always offer to carry purchases to the table.
We take time to talk to people, to find out a little about them. A few months ago, Colin, one of our team members discovered that one of our customers (an elderly chap) hadn’t spoken to anybody for three days. Whenever this chap comes in now Colin will take time out and go and sit with him and have a chat.
We have all the contact details for Ageless Thanet and leaflets we can give out and we would always promote it to somebody of we felt the circumstances were right and they would benefit from the project.
Would you recommend the Age Friendly Business scheme to other businesses?
Without any question, it is such an important part of the overall project. Businesses are a big part of every community and the more businesses that get involved the more places people will have to get out in to their community where they feel safe and welcomed. It is also great way to market to this sector of society.