To be President of The Anchor Society in its 248th anniversary year is to be in the middle of huge social and political change in both the country and the City.  The Anchor Society is anticipating those changes by remembering why the Society was formed in 1769.  The City has always benefitted hugely from philanthropy – social, municipal and educational.  The Anchor Society, together with its sister Societies, The Grateful and The Dolphin, have sought donations that have changed the lives of thousands of people in the Bristol and Bath area with particular attention to older people, especially those who are lonely, isolated or in need of immediate financial help.

Many of the Society’s activities until recent years have been people-based, through schemes such as visiting and befriending.   We have also been intimately involved in LinkAge Bristol and all its many and varied community-based activities ranging from ballroom dancing to ping-pong to walking rugby to Tai-Chi to board games to art classes.   However as the consequences of an ageing population are becoming daily more obvious it is clear that two things need to happen:  communities/towns/cities/regions need to take a bigger role; partial solutions through the use of technology need to be explored.   The Anchor Society has always played a full part in the former, and has in recent years begun partnering in the latter.  People-intensive solutions cannot be the long-term answer.  The number requiring help and support will far exceed the number able to provide that help and support.  The proper and sensitive use of technology will help concentrate the human effort on those things that only humans can do.

Providing purpose-built homes for older people is another area in which the Anchor Society has been actively involved, both in collaboration with others and on its own.  Following a successful development in Lawrence Weston, the Society aims to build more extra care homes which are specifically designed to allow older people to stay in their homes for longer as they age.

The Anchor Society has collaborated with Dr Praminda Caleb-Soley, Associate Professor in Independent Living Systems at the University of the West of England, Bristol, to create The Anchor Assisted Living Studio based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory – the largest robotics research lab in Europe.   This enables the Society to participate in the research work but also to participate in early trials.   We are also exploring a new partnership with the University of Bristol based on deploying a wide range of sensors in homes, collecting data and analysing

that data to assist in supporting older people who wish to continue living in their own homes.

Bob Reeves, Immediate Past President, has been at the centre of creating a new and visionary joint venture in the City:   Sports and Physical Activity for Older People.   This is a partnership between The Anchor Society, St Monica’s Trust and Bristol Sport with the aim of making Bristol the national centre for walking sports and other physical activities for older people.   Many exciting things will be happening during this launch year – all of which can be followed on our Twitter account:  @anchor_society.

Enabling people to remain economically active as they age is a new project The Anchor Society has started in partnership with Business in the Community. The project is supporting older people to get back into work which not only has a broad economic benefit but is effective in tackling isolation and loneliness.

Bristol has a long and proud tradition of looking after its citizens through philanthropy and The Anchor Society and its benefactors and its beneficiaries are at the heart of this.

I commend the work of the Anchor Society to you and hope that you will support over this coming year as we meet the needs of older people in the Bristol Region.

With every good wish

John Manley



Dr John Manley
President 2017

About John Manley

John first came to Bristol in 1975 and apart from three years has lived in the City since.  After graduating with a PhD in Chemistry and post-doctoral positions, he joined the newly-opened European Research Labs of Hewlett-Packard.  After 28 years he retired as Lab Director of Cloud Computing.  He is a trustee of both the University of Bristol and St George’s Bristol Music Trust, and a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Business and Law at UWE Bristol.