Healthy villAGE: a participatory & comprehensive model for active ageing in rural areas

This project sees the conversion of an abandoned building into a multipurpose centre for elderly people, hosting various social innovation activities.


Allo, with 5,144 inhabitants, is the rural area with the highest ageing rate of Navarra: 28.73% of the population are over 65 years old, compared to the EU average of 21%; and 12.08% are over the age of 80 (up to 25% in some of its villages), compared to the EU average of 6%. Elderly people suffer physical, mental, and emotional deterioration, due to isolation, unwanted loneliness, little socialisation, lack of nearby services, and limited stimulation for physical and cerebral activity. Allo has lost 41% of its population since 1960.


Normally, the elderly of rural areas are treated as mere users of services with a vertical approach and there is not a culture or methodology to incorporate them as decision-makers. The villAGE centre hosts activities such as collective gardening, intergenerational games, and cognitive and physical stimulation. There is a social laundry for the elderly and a gaming methodology was developed to facilitate participation in the social innovation process, designed specifically for elderly people living in rural areas.


The centre improved the physical, mental, and social health of 1,478 people over the age of 65 (including 810 women). This was achieved through the creation of a job for a person at risk of social exclusion at the laundry and the empowerment of elders as actors to decide on local interventions. This project also resulted in the creation of a public web application that facilitates the replication of the social innovation process, designed specifically for needs of each rural area and the priorities of local elders. This systematised, easily replicable intervention for active ageing uses participatory gaming methodology to structure the whole social innovation process.

Project owner
Luis Campos
General Director of Planning, Coordination, Innovation and Evaluation of Public Policies of Goverment of Navarra