Only the Lonely: Public Service Reform, the Individual and the State
Article to be published in the forthcoming issue of Soundings.
In 2008, Participle worked with a diverse group of over 200 older people and their families in Westminster and Southwark. We spent time in their homes, going shopping with them, helping with the odd job and introducing them to one another, gaining insight into how individuals and families see themselves, their aspirations, their dreams.
The aim of our work was to ensure a rich third age, one that every citizen, regardless of income level or assets might live: a life less ordinary. Specifically, in Southwark our goal was the design of a new universal service that might be replicated nationally – supporting older people to live in a way of their choosing as they age. In Westminster our work has been more closely focused, we have worked only with those who define themselves as lonely, the majority of whom are over 80 and housebound with the goal of facilitating rich social lives.
This article briefly tells the story of this work, the affordable solutions we have designed and the nascent lessons for how we might re-think a welfare state, its relationship to individuals and most importantly of all to wider social bonds.
Video postcards from a town called Thriving
After an intensive 3 months of discovery and an even more intensive month of idea development Reach out is now entering the prototyping phase. Weâ€™ve developed a vision of a â€˜youth development serviceâ€™ based in a fictional town called Thriving. A town where young people and adults take part in loops of doing, sampling and reflective experiences.
(Very nice example of low-fi experience prototyping!)
Employability – the Bev 4.0 Way
It is time for a radical re-think that makes new vertical connections between the British people and a macro vision of our future economy. And new horizontal connections between skills, apprenticeships, learning and work.
Imagine a service that starts from where you are, visualises where you want to be and then supports you to plot a path â€“ bringing modern and personal techniques to bear.