Working amongst the local community and alongside a multitude of diverse and experienced professionals and partners over the last 27 years, we've gained knowledge and insights that have not only shaped the way we work but also the way others deliver services.

We believe that sharing knowledge, experience and expertise is vital to the ongoing improvement of mental health and wellbeing support across Teesside. So, we're sharing some of the learnings here for you to access.

Ageing Better Middlesbrough

Our programme was one of fourteen local projects supported by The National Lottery Community Foundation. Receiving £7m over a period of seven years we aimed to “support people aged over 50 who are experiencing or at risk of social isolation and loneliness, so that they can lead more fulfilling lives, better connection to their communities.” 

It was built around three main elements: information/communication; community; and individual support. Premised on person-centred, co-ordinated support, we aimed to: alleviate social isolation; improve mental health and wellbeing; and build confidence.

Over the life of the programme we worked with older people living in Middlesbrough to co-produce an offer to meet people’s needs. Co-design and co-production were central tenets of our vision which sought to embed these principles at all stages and in all spheres of the programme. End users were not simply consulted but actively led and directed the programme as part of an intended transfer of power. The programme embraced these principles fully and has consistently demonstrated an ‘asset-based’ approach.

Ageing Better Middlesbrough Learnings

Middlesbrough: An Age Friendly Town?

In September 2021, in partnership with Public Health South Tees, we launched a Middlesbrough-wide age-friendly survey based on WHO’s 8 domains. Launched during our Festival of Ageing Better, the survey aimed to gather as many views of older people as possible to help build a picture of what is happening within the local community and find out what residents’ think can be done to make Middlesbrough a better place to live and age.

The findings of the survey have informed development of this baseline report ‘Middlesbrough: An Age-friendly Town? Where we are now: March 2022’. The report identifies the current state of play according to residents and puts forward some key recommendations for the future of an age-friendly Middlesbrough.

Download the report
Learning About Loneliness

We strived to get beneath the usual processes, of measuring outcomes and outputs, to capture the true voices and experiences of local older people who are lonely or isolated. We knew that counting bums on seats, using evidenced based scales and analysing data was only going to give us half the picture. To ensure that the programme was genuinely responding to local older people, we needed to try as hard as we could to get a full picture.

This report tells the story of what we had learned three years into the six year programme.

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Chronic Loneliness

This report is based on a review of published material, and research carried out by Teesside University that specifically relates to Ageing Better Middlesbrough. 

The primary research encompassed survey responses, ‘stories of change’, indepth interviews with beneficiaries, and focus group discussions with front-line staff.

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Digital Inclusivity For Those Aged 50+

This report shares our learning around supporting people over 50 to use digital devices and get online, both pre and during the COVID-19 crisis.

Our learning strongly indicates that there needs to be more flexible and relevant ways for people over 50 to learn digital skills. It is also crucial that the people who are at most risk of remaining digitally excluded have affordable access to devices and an internet connection, otherwise the ‘new normal’ risks further isolating people not digitally included.

Ageing Better Middlesbrough’s digital inclusion offer was delivered by one of our trusted partners, The Hope Foundation.

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Age Friendly Social Prescribing

We've been working to improve the mental health of people in Middlesbrough and Stockton for nearly 25 years. We know our community and our outcomes show that we are improving mental health. Over time, we've learned that mental health and people’s ability to connect with community activity and services are inextricably linked. 

This is why this report is so important. We believe our learning shows what needs to be done to deliver social prescribing in our area for the people who need it most.

Here's our report into the need for social prescribing focusing on our ageing community. 

We're now proud to say that we deliver social prescribing services across 24 GP surgeries supporting over 3,000 local people each year.

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Why Weight For It?

People’s mental health problems can often impact their weight and their weight can impact their mental health. Current services that provide weight management support have set inclusion criteria and people who do not meet the criteria can't find support. When people do get support around their weight issues, it's often short-term and doesn't address underlying factors such as initial triggers for changes in weight. When the support comes to an end, people often struggle to maintain their progress leading them to eventually return to old habits which can further impact their mental health.

As we know that weight is a prominent issue in the North East of England, Teesside Mind decided to design a service to support the people in our community to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

We want to create an accessible and effective service that supports people’s mental health and physical health. We want a service that provides accurate information that is relevant and understandable to the individual. We want to support people to make long-term sustainable changes which will have a ripple effect in other areas of their lives and overall help to improve their quality of life.

Why Weight For It?

Why Weight For It Research Findings

We know that weight can have a significant impact on peoples lives both physically and mentally. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified that the burden of diseases associated with unhealthy diets is a worldwide concern, particularly health issues caused by co-existing undernutrition, being overweight and obesity. As we know that weight is a prominent issue in the North East of England, Teesside Mind decided to design a service to support the people in our community to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

An external consultant, four members of staff from Teesside Mind and two Peer Designers formed the service design team working on this project. The aims of the service design team were to:

  • Identify the unmet needs of the people in our community around weight management
  • Translate this into a service offer

Here's the research report which helped to shape our new Off The Scales service.

Download the report