Project Description


Healthy Ageing through Innovation in Rural Europe (HAIRE)


Healthy Ageing through Innovation in Rural Europe (HAIRE) is a community action and research project that uses the experiences of residents of Rye, Robertsbridge and the surrounding areas to help make it a great place to grow older!

The aim of the project is to empower older adults to say what support they need; take part in designing new services; reduce loneliness, improve health and wellbeing and help shape their community for the future.

To do this, a team of volunteers have been recruited and trained to hold Guided Conversations that will help local people and organisations find out about each other and their communities in new ways. Together they will explore different aspects of health and wellbeing, using personal experiences, to build a bigger picture of what rural life is like for older adults.

With this information, a range of people and organisations from the community will work together to help design innovative solutions that will genuinely build on the strengths and needs of local people.  HAIRE will continue to support these initiatives so that they can have impact in the future and demonstrate the value of involving older people in service design.

Funded by Interreg 2 Seas and the EU’s European Regional Development Fund, it is led by the Social Innovation Group at the University of Exeter and is currently scheduled to run until September 2022?

Rother Voluntary Action and East Sussex County Council are among a team of fifteen project partners from across the UK, France, Belgium and Netherlands, supported by twenty ‘observer partners’ and the Joint Secretariat from Interreg.

Get involved

The HAIRE project is an opportunity to have a confidential conversation about your life and experiences with one of our trained, friendly, and supportive volunteers to help us to understand the opportunities and challenges that you face and share the ways you stay happy, healthy and independent in your community.

This could be by phone or online – whatever is easier for you.  If you wish, the conversation can help you to explore ways to improve your health and wellbeing, and the HAIRE project will also use what you say to help improve local support and communities.  In any case, we hope you’ll benefit from the simple value of a warm chat with one of our friendly volunteers.

The HAIRE team are recruiting local people, over 60, not in employment who live in Robertsbridge and Rye and the surrounding villages to take part in a Guided Conversation.

If you would like to get involved please contact Annette Holmes at  or call on 07369 221256


As part of the Ageing Well Digital Festival 2020, the project ran a series of one-hour events around the themes of healthy ageing. See: HAIRE Ageing Well Festival events.

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