Aspire began in Birkby, a densely populated area of Huddersfield that includes a large ageing population. Following a Community Consultation, and successful grant funding, the Aspire project was launched in 2015 to tackle isolation amongst older people; aiming to bring people together for social and supportive sessions.
The project co-ordinator, Susanna has built an engaging programme of activities where beneficiaries learn a new skill, use their imagination and creativity, share life stories and access opportunities to support them in their daily lives. Local artists, historians and entertainers are used to inspire and tutor on a weekly basis.
Relationships have been built with local primary schools and the Prince’s Trust to create intergenerational sessions which contribute to community cohesion. Beneficiaries reflect that ‘Aspire days’ are viewed with great anticipation for the new experiences and friendship they offer.
What was needed
As Aspire thrived in Birkby, it became clear that an appetite for similar groups existed across Huddersfield. To expand, the project would need to build capacity beyond its small origins. Futurekraft were chosen as a partner to develop sustainability that imagines and plans for growth.
What we achieved
Robust policies have been put in place; marketing and communication systems have been developed to create a social media presence for Aspire and promote the work; and monitoring and evaluation processes have been designed to measure impact at regular intervals. Development work has also focused on registering Aspire as a charity, to be known as Aspire Huddersfield.
“Futurekraft have enabled Aspire Huddersfield to go from strength to strength. They have supported me and my growing team through all the administrative and financial challenges that launching, establishing and developing a project brings. Their vision to use their business skills and huge experience to empower people like me to bring passion for community into real life action is phenomenal. They have given me confidence, trained me and utilised my strengths to bring Aspire to the point that it is at today.”Susanna, Co-ordinator, Aspire
Aspire is currently delivering sessions in four different locations every week. Home visits are available for those who cannot access sessions due to ill health or disability. The team has grown to three part-time workers. In 2018, the wider Aspire network connected over 150 people, including beneficiaries, volunteers and local community partners.
An evolving partnership with Kirklees Community Plus is helping to bring Aspire to the attention of older people across Huddersfield and indicates the need for further new groups.