Healthy Ageing through Innovation in Rural Europe

Healthy Ageing through Innovation in Rural Europe (HAIRE)

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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 were recruited and trained to hold Guided Conversations to help local people and organisations find out about each other and their communities in new ways. They explored different aspects of health and wellbeing, using personal experiences, to build a bigger picture of what rural life is like for older adults.

In total we interviewed over 75 people and gathered over 150 hours-worth of valuable insights into life in Rural Rother.

With this information, a range of people and organisations from the community will now 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.


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.

We will shortly be promoting a series of events to design solutions and innovations for what we have discovered. We warmly invite you to get involved! We’ll be posting details here, on social media and in print shortly.

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


At A Glance

People Interviewed
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Ageing Well Digital Festival 2020