Ageing Well: Living Better

POP has embarked on a major South West study into ‘ageing’ to try and find out what helps or hinders people to remain independent as they get older. The work which is being carried out with the Plymouth Social Enterprise Network as part of the Devon-based social investment project, SIMPL, will see hundreds of people in Plymouth, Exeter and Torbay take part in the hope that their experiences of ageing can help to improve it for others. The conversations, which will be carried out by a team of community researchers over the next six months, will help POP to understand how individuals can be better supported as they get older.

The CEO of POP, Matt Bell, believes the key is in trying to understand what makes each person’s experience unique:

“We hope to find out what factors might enable someone to be – or not be – ‘independent’, for example, the existence of family; friendships; their own approach to getting older; financial circumstances and whether or not they feel part of a ‘community’.

We will be talking with individuals (and recording their conversation) about their experiences and circumstances along with their concerns, and any fears they might have, about their future. Through talking and listening, we hope to learn how society can make ‘getting older’ a more-positive experience for people and, for some, a less-frightening one. “

POP is hoping to speak with people from as many different backgrounds as possible: men, women, LGBTQ+ people; people from all ethnic groups and people with disabilities, furthermore, we want to hear from anyone that is experiencing life through more than one of these lenses.

We are looking for people to be trained as ‘community researchers’ and for older people to participate in the project:

We are looking for people to ask the questions; hold the conversation and capture the information. You will take part in two training sessions and, after completion and committing to the project, you will be paid reasonable expenses (including for your time) for the training and the interviews. Age is not a barrier (!): we wish to see some young people holding the interviews and providing valuable research on communities in Plymouth.

We are looking for individuals to share their experiences and help us to establish what can help or hinder someone to be independent as they age. The conversations will last about half an hour and will be recorded. YOU are more important than the research, so, rest assured, you do not have to talk about anything you do not want to.

POP supports nearly 400 members from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in the city, a significant number of which are already working to support older people and help reduce loneliness and social isolation. As Matt says;

“We wish to help our members find new ways of supporting people and of benefitting from the financial opportunities that will come through the need for greater social investment around ‘ageing’. Ultimately, we want to make growing older better for everyone.” If you would like to be involved, please contact

“We don’t grow older, we grow riper.” – Pablo Picasso

Photo caption: Strangers who became friends through regularly attending Red Velvet Cinema

Register for the Community Conversations Training here: