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Spring Back Campaign

Spring Back Campaign


The Spring Back campaign was a promotional initiative aimed at encouraging social and community connectedness among older people/kaumātua in New Plymouth of the Taranaki region in New Zealand. The goal of the campaign was to remind older people of the activities that take place in their local area and encourage others to help them get involved. The campaign was prompted by the increasing issue of social isolation and loneliness among older people due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns. Social isolation and loneliness can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of older people, and the WHO Age-Friendly New Plymouth group sought to address this issue with the Spring Back campaign. The campaign was supported by a group of key community organizations in Taranaki, including Age Concern, Positively Ageing, and the New Plymouth District Council, among others.

Key facts

Main target group: Older people in general

Other target group(s): Social isolation due to COVID

Sector(s): Social protection

Desired outcome for older people:
Build and maintain relationships

Other issues the Age-friendly practice aims to address:
  • Healthy behaviours (e.g. physical activity)
  • Inclusion

Contact details

Name: Kate Duncan

Email address:

Age-friendly practice in detail (click to expand):

Engaging the wider community

Project lead: Local authorities

Others involved in the project:
  • Older People’s Association

How collaboration worked: A key step involved in the planning of Spring Back was establishing a budget. The budget came from the New Plymouth District Council’s funding for the WHO Age Friendly city accreditation, with some funding support from the Bishop’s Action Foundation. The allocated budget for Spring Back was $3,000. The majority of this amount was spent on advertising in the four newspapers (South Taranaki Star, North Taranaki Mid-week, Stratford Press, and Ōpunake and Coastal news). The printing of the posters was agreed to be completed internally, therefore it was excluded from the budget figure.

Older people’s involvement: Older people were consulted during the planning process

Details on older people’s involvement: The older population in New Plymouth were given the opportunity to share their opinions on ways to increase their engagement, through the participation in falls prevention classes offered by Sport Taranaki and others. This initiative aimed to empower older people and provide them with the chance to have a say in the activities and programs that were design

Moving forward

Has the impact of this age-friendly practice been analysed: Yes

Was the impact positive or negative:

Evaluation report: Spring-Back-Campaign-Report-2022.pdf

Anecdotal feedback was important when determining the impact of Spring Back in the community. Although intentionally gathering feedback was not part of the evaluation of the campaign, it is worth highlighting the positive outcomes that Spring back has helped to achieve. One scenario where the Spring Back campaign has helped emphasises the importance of community connection and social interactions to support one’s health. An older couple were connected into an active ageing class offered by Sport Taranaki to help strengthen their muscles and bones, improve cognition responses and social connections. Feedback from the couple about how much they were enjoying the class had been passed on anecdotally. The couple have scheduled the session into their diary, put aside some spare money for the class and look forward to attending it each week. They enjoy socialising with others there and feel physically stronger after attending only a couple of classes. Not only are the older couple happy about going, their GP has approved of their actions and believes it was “the best thing they could have done for their health”.

Expansion plans:
Yes, there is a plan to expand the age-friendly practice through the continuation of the Spring Back campaign. The potential for the campaign to become an annual event, aligned with the International Day of the Older Person, and the utilization of resources for future years are possible. To further increase the effectiveness of the campaign, there are recommendations to invite a Māori champion to the group meetings, translate the promotional content into te reo Māori, and test the campaign material on the elderly to ensure clarity and understanding.

Looking back

Upon reflection, it became evident that the use of te ao Māori and te reo Māori in Spring Back content could have been used more. Ideally, Spring Back content would have been available in both English and te reo, therefore being accessible to and inclusive of te ao Māori.

Changing or reintroducing the social habits of elderly/kaumātua was recognised as a challenge for the campaign. Therefore, it was more beneficial and constructive to encourage this change when the weather was warmer for outdoor activities and people were more motivated to get out of their homes.