• Improving Liveability for Older People in small towns (ILOP) is an innovative program that involved seventeen regional councils working closely with seniors to deliver local projects to make their communities better places to age well.
  • Watch the video and read the case studies in the ILOP Good practice guide to gain an insight into the successful projects.

Press 'CC' on the video above to obtain captions.

Improving liveability for older people in small towns

Improving liveability for older people in small towns (ILOP) made a positive difference to the quality of life, social participation, health and connectedness of older people living in rural communities. The program’s legacy is captured in the enclosed promotional video and documented in a Good practice guide.

Please watch the video and read the case studies in the ILOP Good practice guide to gain an insight into the successful projects and experiences of participants.

This material has been produced by the Department of Health & Human Services and the Municipal Association of Victoria. It is designed for local councils, community organisations, senior clubs and older people to use as a tool to stimulate discussion and drive the creation of more age-friendly projects and communities across Victoria.

Download the ILOP Good Practice Guide (available on right-hand side of this page) for case studies and useful information.

Background program information

Improving liveability for older people in small towns (ILOP) is an innovative program that involved seventeen regional councils working closely with their older residents to plan and deliver local projects to make their communities better places to age well.

The Victorian Government and Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) provided grants, and allowed local councils and their residents to design the projects to meet their local needs and aspirations.

Over a period of 2 years more than 10,000 older people participated and 190 projects were designed to create and improve positive and sustainable age-friendly communities across regional and rural Victoria. These projects created opportunities for older people to participate in community, social, arts and lifelong learning activities, and to take on leadership roles in their communities.

Transcript for the Improving Liveability for Older People video

Jan Bruce:
ILOP was a State Government funded project that saw 17 rural councils in Victoria funded to create better places for older people to live in. We had over 3,200 older people involved in the initial consultation for the projects and over 11,000 older people involved in the project overall which was really an incredible number considering that many of the communities that the project rolled out in were really tiny rural towns and small rural communities.
One of the key influences of the success was the fact that the funding that was provided by the State Government was flexible and it enabled older people and local communities to decide what direction they wanted to go in and as a result of that there was a huge diversity in the programs and projects that were rolled out.
The Talbot Talkers Program was a really exciting meals-based program that brought together older people and younger people in the community to prepare food and share food and really revolved around the town's interest in food preparation and meals and it's been an ongoing project that's going from strength to strength.

Speaker 1:
The Talbot Talkers... well, I know it doesn't sound like a cooking group, but we do chatter a lot, talk a lot and we have a lot of fun doing it.

Speaker 2:
We get together every week, once a week, and we have such a good time and it's not just the cooking, it's the social life as well.

Speaker 1:
We wouldn't have started without the funding, I'm sure, but they help greatly by supplying all our utensils, the whole thing. So it's terrific. It's really great. We appreciate it.

Jan Bruce:
The Colac Ottoway Shire Positive Ageing Ambassadors Project saw 12 local older people trained and skilled to become representatives of their community back to council and also to be a conduit of information from older people in their small towns back to councils. It's been a fantastic program. It's had a lot of coverage state-wide because the older people have really enjoyed being given the responsibility of the role of ambassador and it's really assisted their communities and particularly assisted council in understanding more about growing old in small towns.

Speaker 3:
I was delighted to be involved in the Ambassador Program. I feel that the Ambassador Program is something that we can embrace as older people and incorporate a whole lot of visions that we might have that could improve the living of older people.

Speaker 4:
Being an ambassador makes me very, very proud that I can be part of a process that can actually hear the problems, report the problems and be part of a group that will actually get that information to the council so they can put it in their planning programs. That's what it is all about, communication.

Jan Bruce:
The Tech Tasters Project at South Gippsland Shire saw older people and secondary school students brought together around technology.

Speaker 5:
Tech Tasters has been going for about three years now. It came about because there was some funding that was being offered through the council looking for programs with some seniors.

Speaker 6:
This was an opportunity to update my knowledge and try and keep abreast of what is happening with technology.

We've been doing a lot on programs like Excel and Word and also what different things on the keyboard means and things with how to attach photos onto emails and such like that.

Speaker 7:
Technology's just the focus to build relationships between the students and the community members outside.

Jan Bruce:
It proved to be a fantastic program for both young and old.
The Art of Ageing Project in Pyrenees Shire brought arts to older people in their small communities. It was a fantastic project that really impacted on the lives of older people, particularly the Pyrenees Choral which saw a group of older people come together as a choral group, as a choir, and they have been under the instruction of a choir master and developing their choral skills and have had a wonderful time meeting new people singing and participating in community events and activities as the choral.

Speaker 8:
There are so many really creative older people about. You wouldn't ever hear of them if it weren't for things like this.

Speaker 9:
I think this is a wonderful program. I think it's lovely that so many people are getting involved that are older people and that there's plenty for older people to do and that they're not just shoved to one side and forgotten.

Speaker 10:
It's the activities that get us to communicate in such a really friendly way all the time. It's a real pleasure to come to all these things in a small town like this.

Speaker 9:
It's really enriched my life. It really has.

Jan Bruce:
We've seen the success of ILOP in the 17 councils that have been funded and it would be wonderful for older people and for other councils to learn from this experience and take the excitement and the interest and the knowledge that we've learnt from ILOP back to their local communities and see whether similar outcomes could be achieved in other places in Victoria.