LinkAge Plus was set up in 2006 as a two-year pilot programme developed by the Department of Work and Pensions. Tower Hamlets was one of five pilot programmes that was set up along with Devon, Gateshead, Gloucestershire, Lancaster, Leeds, Nottingham and Salford.
The aim of LinkAge Plus was to create strategic working links between local government and the voluntary and community sector to improve outcomes for older people to improve their quality of life and wellbeing.
There was a clear focus on joining up services and developing a single point of access for older people to receive help and advice. The programme involved local older people’s groups and forums to help shape, design and deliver provision.
The principles on which the LinkAge Plus approach was based were :
- Involve older people in the design, development, evaluation of services and delivery.
- Provide a preventative approach that offers help to enable older people to remain independent for longer.
- A shift in the perception of ageing from one of dependency and decline to one of active citizenship, participation and independence.
- Provide the service in partnership with voluntary sector organisations to bring together a range of experience and facilities.
- Avoid duplication in services by using efficient and single access channels where possible to make it easier for people to access relevant services.
- Provide access and develop services that meet the individual needs and aspirations of older people.
Following the completion of a successful pilot in 2008, LinkAge Plus was given mainstream funding by the Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (Formerly known as the Primary Care Trust) and Tower Hamlets council.