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Social Participation

Older people in Bristol can access available activities when and where they want them

Social participation is strongly connected to a person’s good health and wellbeing throughout life. Participating in leisure, social, cultural and spiritual activities in the community, as well as with the family, allows older people to continue to exercise their competence and maintain or establish supportive and caring relationships. A lack of such social networks can have a negative impact in terms of health and wellbeing and can result in social isolation.  

Bristol has a rich and diverse cultural and leisure landscape. As well as being home to the UK’s oldest working theatre, it has live art, festivals and community events, location filming, dynamic community arts activity and an innovative approach to the use of empty space.


Factors affecting Social Participation 


There are a reducing number of free activities in Bristol and cost can be a barrier for those on fixed incomes. Activities in Bristol must remain affordable to encourage as much participation from older people as possible.  

Feedback from older people has identified a number of common barriers to participation, which include caring responsibilities and language barriers as well as transport and lack of confidence. Despite the range of cultural and leisure activities, these activities can be unevenly spread out across the city, which can make them less accessible for residents of certain areas. It is important to consider these common issues when developing Age-friendly activities. 


Key actions 

  • Strengthen social prescribing and the community navigators programme

  • Increase visibility of small local opportunities, including those led and coproduced by older people themselves

  • Active Ageing Bristol to work with providers and older people to create and promote ‘Age-friendly’ community activity hubs

  • Age-friendly toolkit delivered for community groups.

  • Work with physical activity providers and public sector commissioners to develop a sustainable active ageing strategy

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Age-friendly Bristol

An age-friendly city is a city that encourages active ageing by optimising opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance the quality of life as people age - World Health Organisation

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The Partnership

Age-friendly Bristol is a partnership made up of Bristol Ageing Better, Age UK Bristol and Bristol City Council.

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The World Health Organisation have developed a framework for tackling such wide ranging issues in a way which is designed to improve the quality of life of older people – the Age-friendly City network.

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