• Building self-confidence in isolated older people.

  • Partners include Big Lottery, Department of Health, local GPs, communities

Upstream was set up by local GPs and members of the community in 2002 with a 5-year grant from the Big Lottery Healthy Living Centre programme. Using specially trained community mentors, Upstream identifies older, more isolated people in rural mid Devon. The mentors encourage them to develop self-confidence, self-esteem and longer independence through stimulating, creative learning and social activities.

The Peninsula Medical School evaluated Upstream in 2005 working closely with the local authority, Primary Care Trust, GPs and other health professionals. They found clinically significant improvements in mental health as well as physical and social benefits.

In 2007, the local authority contracted a ‘Time for Life' consortium of third sector partners (including Upstream and Westbank) to disseminate the mentoring system throughout Devon based on Upstream's original work. It was funded through the Department of Health ‘Partnerships for Older People Projects'.

In 2008, Upstream won the NICE Award for Shared Learning in Public Health for its success in behaviour change. Upstream has produced a paper for the International Longevity Centre (ILC) on ‘Unlocking the Community' and is an NHS Live Leader project.

Find out more at

Contact us >


Well UK is registered in England company number 6689447. The registered office is Westbank HLC, Farmhouse Rise, Exminster, Exeter EX6 8AT.

Westbank Upstream