All across England, older people are devising and delivering solutions to the challenges they experience living in rural communities and each of the eight Case Studies featured here demonstrates innovative ways of doing this. Click here to see extracts from five of the films and to get a flavour of what’s on offer and watch the individual Films and read our Report for more information.

We're keen to share learning and experience about what works so if you know of other examples of good practice, please share it on our Good Ideas page.

Dorset Partnership for Older People Programme (POPP)

Funded jointly by Dorset County Council and NHS Dorset, this project takes as its central premise that the way to meet the needs of older people is by going directly to them and asking them what they would like.

In a county which has one of the highest proportions of older people in England, the ultimate aim is to 'build supportive communities to enable older people to remain living in their own homes for as long as they wish.'

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Esk Moors Caring, Yorkshire

Esk Moors Caring and Lodge are the result of a campaign to enable local older people to remain in the valley they love for all of their lives.

The Lodge is a development of 12 extra-care apartments and a local domiciliary care service. Available for rental only, residents must have a care need and strong local connections to the valley. The facilities also benefit the local community, with art classes, a fully equipped gym and a range of social events open to all.

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Waltham House, Derbyshire

The market town of Wirksworth in rural Derbyshire is the location for Waltham House; an extra care housing scheme comprising 39 flats, including approximately one third available for rent, plus two respite flats.

The development also incorporates a well-used domiciliary care service to the local area, together with a range of facilities and events open to the wider population. The restaurant is particularly popular with the locals and connections with the town's schools are strong.

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Housing Options, Derbyshire

Although typically very pretty, Derbyshire's housing is often inaccessible in at least two ways. Firstly, house prices are soaring as 'second homers' flood the market. Secondly, they commonly feature hairpin bend stairs and narrow passageways which may be difficult to navigate for those in their later years.

Funded by Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council, Age UK Derbyshire Housing Options provides a 'listening ear' and practical advice to those who are finding it difficult to stay in their own homes.

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Connecting Communities, Lincoln

Lincolnshire is one of England's largest and most sparsely populated counties. Yet, thanks to the foresight of its Council, it is fortunate to have a truly innovative, demand-responsive transport system that currently reaches 85% of its total population.

For the thousands of geographically isolated people in rural Lincolnshire, the fact that they can access a reliable, safe and reasonably priced transport system means that they are not disconnected from the services they need. What's more, it enables them to stay in their own homes for longer.

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Village Agents, Gloucestershire

The county-wide Village Agents scheme in Gloucestershire has won the praise of a previous Prime Minister and is regularly approached by other rural counties wishing to adopt a similar scheme.

The scheme works because Agents live close to the communities in which they work. Consequently, they know the villages and their people well. Agents provide an overview of services available in the county and offer help to access them, enabling older people to stay independent for longer.

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Wessex Home Improvement Loans

This project acts as an intermediary between local authorities and local people to offer low cost loans for home improvements, particularly to those who cannot access the traditional loan services offered by High Street banks.

A not-for-profit Community Development Finance Institution, Wessex home improvement loans often make the difference between older people being able to stay in their own homes - or being forced to move away.

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Money Matters, Norfolk

Operated through Age UK, 'Money Matters' acts as an agency of Norfolk County Council to support older people who are experiencing financial problems. The service has proved particularly valuable for recently widowed women who have had no prior experience of handling the household finances.

In an era when traditional banks and post offices are being replaced by internet and telephone banking and where plastic frequently takes the place of cash, it is imperative that older people are enabled to cope.

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