Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

FreeBC_Orgs Report Summary

Project ID: 782978

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FreeBC_Orgs (The Freebird Club organisational membership portal)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2018-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The Freebird Club is a peer-to-peer, social travel and homestay club for older adults. In a rapidly ageing world, it addresses 3 social issues facing older adults:
1. Loneliness & isolation - increasing health risks such as heart disease and stroke, and causing huge strain on public health systems
2. Financial insecurity - many struggle in retirement with inadequate pensions
3. Lack of travel options - many would like to travel but lack companionship or the confidence to go alone

The Freebird Club enables members to travel and stay with each other for a nightly rate in the context of a trusted community of senior peers. It offers older adults a whole new way of travelling, a potential new source of income, and a fun accessible way to meet new people and enjoy companionship in later life. Our mission is to connect and enrich the lives of older adults, fostering an age-friendly and inclusive world. We do this by adopting the ‘sharing economy’ model for social impact among older adults.

The original concept was based around individual members, but we are now looking to develop the capacity for organisations to join as members in their right. Not only would this allow groups of seniors to travel with Freebird in a coordinated way via the organisational link, it would also increase the social impact as many ageing organisations work directly with the ‘harder to reach’ seniors who might otherwise be excluded for reasons of social isolation, tech ability, health and infirmity.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Following a successful trial phase, the Freebird Club launched in April 2017. We now have 2000+ members in 42 countries worldwide and it is growing daily. We have just completed a feasibility study and pilot project for our B2B organisational membership model. This involved bringing a group of 12 older adults from the London Irish Centre’s Senior Wellbeing Service to stay with local hosts in Kerry, Ireland, using a prototype organisational membership model. This was a big success with highly positive feedback from the London Irish Centre, guests and hosts.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The Freebird Club can alleviate loneliness and isolation among older adults, while also providing them with an opportunity to unlock value in their homes, earn income, and travel as part of a trusted community. By enlisting organisational members, we can extend this solution to those who could benefit most. By working with these age organisations we can bring in those they serve, often the most isolated and most in need of social engagement.

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