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Third sector partnerships for older people: insights from live at home schemes in the UK

Olumide Adisa (University of Suffolk, Ipswich, UK)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 6 September 2018

Issue publication date: 15 October 2018




While there is a rich literature on the role of partnerships between statutory agencies and third sector organisations for public service delivery in health and social care, the evidence base on, partnerships between community-based groups and charities for older people in the UK is lacking. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data, the purpose of this paper is to examines partnerships within 46 live at home (LAH) schemes. These schemes were specifically designed to tackle isolation and promote independence and wellbeing by providing a wide range of activities, based on the needs of its members.


This study is based on an online survey of 46 LAH schemes and face-to-face interviews with seven scheme managers to capture data on the various partnership initiatives within the LAH schemes.


Third sector partnerships for older people varied by type – formal, semi-formal and informal. In addition, third sector partnership working fosters the achievement of clear outcomes for older people who LAH and could be a mechanism for building social capital in communities. The study also identified barriers to developing third sector partnerships within this context. Mapping existing partnerships in LAH schemes were considered to be useful in engaging with partners. LAH scheme managers were better able to identify partnerships that could be deepened and broadened, depending on the desired outcomes.


To the author’s knowledge, there are few studies on third sector partnership working in LAH schemes for older people. According to Age UK, there are 1.2m chronically lonely older people in the UK. Over half of all people aged 75 and over live alone (ONS, 2015). Loneliness and social isolation in later life are considered to be two of the largest health concerns we face. Scaling up these third sector partnerships may offer a credible way to shore up support for older people who live alone or want to live at home.



The author owes a debt of gratitude to everyone that participated in the study. Thanks to Liz Jones and Jacqui Walker at the MHA Policy and Research Unit for their contributions at various points of the project. Author’s contribution: This study was conceived as part of a wider project during a research placement at MHA. OA collected all the data and performed all the analysis, and drafted the manuscript.


Adisa, O. (2018), "Third sector partnerships for older people: insights from live at home schemes in the UK", Working with Older People, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 148-153.



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