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O4O: Older People for Older People

O4O: Older People for Older People was a research and development project funded by the European Union Northern Periphery Programme from January 2008 to December 2010. O4O sought to test whether communities wanted to develop social enterprises (not for profit social businesses) to provide basic services and what effects this work has on communities and individuals.


In Scotland the lead partner was Highland based at the UHI Millennium Institute’s Centre for Rural Health. A consultation exercise identified those remote and rural communities where older people’s needs might be unmet. The project manager then worked with community groups to identify specific needs and supporting organisational development. Of the four communities which received mentoring from the O4O initiative, two where in Sutherland:



To combat the poor provision of public transport O4O supported the development of a multi-faceted transport scheme, T4T: Transport for Tongue, Melness and Skerray. The scheme involved:

·         Informal organisation of lifts

·         Volunteer drivers using own cars in return for mileage allowance

·         Community car scheme: purchase of car and pay a driver

·         Maintenance and hire of donated minibus to other community groups



In Assynt O4O supported the community acquisition of the Assynt Centre from the Highland Council which provided day centre services, residential respite and a lunch club. O4O supported the development of Community Care Assynt (CCA) which was established as a community interest company to run services for older people in the community. CCA developed the Assynt Centre as a community care hub, offering a range of opportunities for social interaction peer support, and the development of social networks.


The final O4O report can be accessed here.