Reaching Isolated Residents


We are witnessing enormous increases in health inequality; a result of differences in health across the population, and between different groups within society. These conditions influence an individual's opportunities for good health; their mental health, physical health and wellbeing. The impact on older residents, in particular those living alone, carries some of the most devastating diseases effecting our communities. However, one important aspect of health inequality is that these conditions are avoidable.

Communication systems need to change, to become more user-led and more targeted to help identify and support the most vulnerable members of our communities. Together with the London Borough of Hackney we have been delivering a radically different system to connect older residents, combatting isolation and exclusion.

The problem

With rapid regeneration of the local area and digitalisation of services the confidence of older residents in the borough to engage in participation activities and events has been declining. At the same time more older residents have become isolated and disconnected making them harder to reach with traditional communication and engagement methods. The result has been growing pressure on primary care with greater numbers of residents presenting multiple access and support needs, especially with declining mobility and social capability.

How do we communicate the local area offer in ways that engage older residents more effectively across a range of different media? How do we increase the reach and engagement of our local area offer whilst not making the workload associated with managing and maintaining this information unmanageable?

Our solution

We have collaborated with Hackney Council to co-create a place based initiative dedicated to reducing the incidence of isolation and exclusion amongst older residents in the borough. Hackney Circle is a culture and health intitiative increasing the capacity of over forty local community organisations in reaching isolated older residents whilst delivering key partnerships and outcomes as part of the council's health and cultural strategies.
Hackney Circle stand onboarding new members at St Mary's Secret Garden in Hackney Hackney Circle stand onboarding new members at St Mary's Secret Garden in Hackney

Hackney Cricle is both an intiative and a service built using our platform Hoop'd designed to reach more people more effectively with improved information formats, user journeys and communication touchpoints. Hackney Circle is a great example of how Hoop'd can be used to bring together local area networks of community and cultural organisations, filling a much needed gap in the process of effective signposting and referral.

How we worked with our partners

Hackney Circle was redesigned using our Hoop'd platform. A tailored version of Hoop'd was created for Hackney Circle that utilised our modules for community and membership management, service mapping and campaign creation. The digital service was designed to complement the physical and human methods of engagement needed to build the membership and grow the confidence of new and existing Hackney Circle members.

The service brings together specific activities and programmes of key strategic partners including the borough's lunch clubs, libraries and leisure centers alongside a network of community organisations to deliver information to older residents in uniform, accessible formats. These service cards are shared and made available to community navigators from the health service as well as housing estate managers and resident participation team officers.

Hackney Circle platform showing upcoming activities and events

The platform enables cultural and community partners to be able to promote their own activities and access the same community management tools, growing and increasing the reach and capacity of participating organisations. As a result the service as a whole is generating new referral pathways between users and cultural partners.

Improving accessibility to reach those most in need

Hoop'd brings new accessibility tools to those that need them most. Our uniform event cards are recognised by growing numbers in print and digital form, increasing the confidence of users and growing the reach of the service. The result has been a signposting service that adds value and capacity to the network of organisations that it promotes, building a better understanding of the target audience and developing a new data set to target outreach and engagement projects.

Improving existing systems for communication makes services significantly easier and less time-consuming to manage. As the quality, accuracy and relevance of imporves it is easier to build trust and confidence with a wider range of users. In Hackney this means front line service staff have more time to support those with higher access and support needs and greater capacity to identify and engage with residents most at risk of isolation and exclusion.

What is next

As the Hackney Circle service develops new referral pathways are being defined. Working with primary health partners and the community navigation team we are establishing the standards for a Cultural Referral Pathway to contribute to social prescribing ensuring that the service remains vital to decreasing the pressure of primary health and creating new health and wellbeing touchpoints within isolated communities and parts of the borough.

If you are interested in creating local area initiatives such as Hackney Circle, and need support in designing services to improve their accessibility and increase the capacity of your partner organisations, please get in touch to learn more.