Launched in May 2012, Independence Matters was a Design Challenge run in partnership with Innovate UK (formerly Technology Strategy Board) to develop services that promote independence in later life. One of seven inspiring start-ups funded through the challenge, Gusto is a cooperative for older adults in Shropshire.

The problem

The traditional model of social care looks at providing for a need. Recognising that the future of social care lies in building independence and resilience, Gusto focuses on enabling older people to lead more independent lives, in turn reducing pressure on the formal care structure.

The solution

Developed by Shropshire Council and People2People, Gusto is a self-help cooperative based in Shropshire that encourages members to do more of the things they love, try new experiences and meet new people – enabling more adults to thrive in later life.

Each member is linked with a Gusto Ambassador to be their key contact and an initial friendly face. The service also puts members in touch with others who they might get along with or who could give them a bit of support. Members are encouraged to share their skills through organised activities and events, and they're motivated to get involved with different activities going on in the area.

Where I live there is a community centre, so I hosted a Gusto Coffee Morning. It was a roaring success – over 25 people came.

John, 78, Gusto member

The impact

Gusto now has over 120 active members across Shrewsbury and offers over 25 activities a month. It has supported members to host some 356 activities and events – ranging from cosy lunch time meals, to days out to Blackpool – involving over 1,200 participants.

Visit shropshire-rcc.org.uk/services/individuals/gusto/
Follow @giveitsomegusto on Twitter

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