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LinkAge Plus

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made on the LinkAge Plus Programme; and if he will make a statement. (245737)

I've been asked to reply.

The LinkAge Plus pilots have been testing the principles of joined-up working. Going beyond the traditional benefits and care agendas, they also provide access to a wide range of services encompassing housing, transport and volunteering opportunities to form aspects of a seamless service for older people.

Each pilot focuses on local needs, and how best to integrate services within those locations, being driven by the needs and aspirations of older people themselves, while also developing existing links between central Government, local authorities and other organisations The pilots finished in September 2008. They are currently being evaluated and a final summary report is scheduled for publication by March 2009.

Early findings from the pilots suggest that LinkAge Plus is successful in enabling older people to access multiple services through a single contact and reaches those who are socially excluded.

In Gloucestershire, for example, they have set up a network of Village Agents who work directly with isolated older people in rural areas. Their presence within the community enables older people to get access to information and advice about the entitlements and services available to them—direct from a friendly, local contact.

We are also starting to disseminate the learning and core principles for LinkAge Plus across local authorities. To help do so, toolkit has been developed jointly with the Department of Health Partnership for Older People Projects. This seeks to help local authorities to put in place similar services.