Age-Friendly Coastal Communities

Covers: Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington

Start Date: November, 2013

Mission, Vision & Goals

Community Response During Covid-19: Healthy Peninsula/Age-Friendly Coastal Communities

Healthy Peninsula has been extremely active during the COVID-19 pandemic. They continue to organize and oversee a number of collaborations to support their communities on the Blue Hill Peninsula, Stonington, and Deer Isle. They are focused on coordinating programs and building a volunteer network to be responsive to local residents who need or want assistance.

Since sheltering-in-place started early this spring, the community meal program - The Simmering Pot - which includes the local hospital, private restaurants, churches, and volunteers prepares and delivers homemade soup and bread to an average of 100 individuals each week. They are also assisting the local food pantry with volunteers for home delivery and coordinating networking meetings with food security organizations to maximize efforts and impact. To help combat isolation, they have implemented a volunteer friendly support call project reaching – to date - over 1200 community members age 65+. They have compiled a COVID-19 local resource list, which is updated regularly and located on their website ( In addition, they conduct a weekly Zoom call with 10-20 community partners focused on serving people as they age. Finally, they have coordinated a COVID-19 volunteer project that provides grocery shopping and prescription delivery for at-risk people sheltering in place.



Age-Friendly Coastal Communities seeks to enhance the lives of all people who live in the 9-town region that includes Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Deer Isle, Penobscot, Sedgwick, Stonington, and Surry, with a special focus on older adults, by:

  • Advising the town select boards, as well as the community at large, about policy and infrastructure changes that will make our towns more livable;
  • Creating partnerships between and among organizations to enhance existing services;
  • Encouraging volunteers and organizations to create programs and services that are needed to inspire residents to age safely and independently in our communities and to be as active in the social, economic, and civic life of the community as they want to be.

Vision: Where aging and thriving go hand in hand.

Broad Overview

In 2014, the Maine Health Access Foundation awarded a 3-year grant to Healthy Peninsula, a community health organization serving the Blue Hill Peninsula (Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Penobscot, Sedgwick, and Surry) and Deer Isle (Deer Isle and Stonington). The goal of the grant was to convene and coordinate community partners in creating collaborative, sustainable services, education, and support for older adults, those with chronic illness, and caregivers, to live healthy, engaged lives in their own homes and communities as they age.  This innovative project was named Thriving in Place Downeast (TiPD).


TiPD‘s 3-year funding concluded in October 2017, having expanded to a steering committee of 15 community partners, including medical, social service, and community organizations, as well as individual community members.  Although each of the partnering agencies had existing services and programming, the TiPD initiative built a more intentional, informed network to listen to the community, fill resource gaps, and provide education and orientation for those in need of services and support.  TiPD helped create systems level change that increased complementary programming and information-sharing among social service organizations, medical providers, and community organizations and proved that collaboration among community partners can create and expand health and wellness resources for rural communities.


Since the end of 2017, with the enthusiastic endorsement of community partners, the TiPD collaborative has transitioned to a more sustainable community initiative:  Age-Friendly Coastal Communities (AFCC).  AFCC is affiliated with the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities and the World Health Organization Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.  AFCC expanded the TiPD network of participating partners to include the town governments of all 9 towns of the region (Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Deer Isle Penobscot, Sedgwick, Stonington, and Surry), the two area Chambers of Commerce, emergency responders, and even more local community organizations and individuals.


The local governments of our 9-town region had not previously embarked on a joint commitment to work together in a fully collaborative community approach focused on the health and well being of their older residents.  However, with their participation in AFCC, each town of our 9-town region has individually joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities and committed to supporting the regional age-friendly approach.  The growing interest in the AFCC initiative and expanding membership of our steering committee demonstrates the region-wide recognition of the need for our rural towns to become more livable for those who want to remain healthy, active and engaged in the community as they age.

How is your age-friendly initiative structured?

Age-Friendly Coastal Communities is coordinated by Healthy Peninsula, a local community health organization that serves the 9-town region.  The priorities and planning are determined by the collaborative work of the AFCC Coordinating Council,  which is made up of medical, social service, and community-based organizations, town governments, and interested community members.

Describe any partnerships you have developed?

Current members of the Age-Friendly Coastal Communities Coordinating Council are:

Community Members

  • Betsy Armstrong, Surry
  • Si and Lila Balch, Brooklin
  • Claire Connor, Brooklin
  • Allan Currie, Brooksville
  • Doug Cowan, Brooksville
  • Bery Kornreich, Penobscot

Town Government Representatives

  • Blue Hill Select Board
  • Brooklin Select Board
  • Brooksville Select Board
  • Castine Select Board & Town Manager
  • Deer Isle Select Board & Town Manager
  • Penobscot Select Board
  • Sedgwick Select Board
  • Stonington Select Board & Town Manager
  • Surry Select Board

Service Provider Partners

  • Aroostook Mental Health Center
  • Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center
  • Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital
  • Castine Fire & Rescue Department
  • Eastern Area Agency on Aging
  • Friends in Action
  • Friendship Cottage
  • Healthy Acadia
  • Healthy Island Project
  • Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County
  • Memorial Ambulance Corps
  • Peninsula Ambulance Corps
  • Penobscot Bay Press

Business Representatives

  • Blue Hill Chamber of Commerce
  • Deer Isle-Stonington Chamber of Commerce

Other Community Agency Partners (ongoing or occasional)

  • Blue Hill Heritage Trust
  • George Stevens Academy
  • Witherle Memorial Library
  • Blue Hill Memorial Library
  • New Surry Theatre & Performing Arts School

What is the role of volunteers?

Volunteers have various roles from serving on the AFCC Coordinating Council to individual volunteers working on partner agency projects.

Strategies that have contributed to your success? Barriers you have encountered?

Working with municipal governments and AARP Maine as part of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities has been very helpful in bringing in new voices, ideas, volunteers, and projects.  The core group of service provider partners continues to be the driving vision for the project but it has been very productive to bring in additional perspectives.

Sustainable funding and volunteer recruitment present ongoing challenges.

Types of funding that your initiative has received

Instead of just one funder, our project has benefited from 3 different grant funders, as well as in-kind contributions from many of our partners.

Community Initiatives


One of the core AFCC partners is Friends in Action, a volunteer organization that provides rides throughout our service area. One of our town projects (Surry) has developed (with the support of Friends in Action) a town-specific transportation project, as well.

Chores, Handyman & Upkeep

The Surry age-friendly project (one of the towns in our regional project) is developing a project to provide minor repairs, weatherizing or chores. We are hoping to expand such services to the rest of our service area during the implementation phase of our action plan.

Health & Wellness

Our AFCC partners continue to provide a variety of health and wellness programming, including Matter of Balance, Tai Chi for Health, Bone Builders, Health Bound, Salt Air Seniors.

Outreach & Resource Information

Healthy Peninsula's Community Resource Guide is still in use: In addition, Healthy Peninsula's website has an AFCC page and our Facebook page has regular posts about healthy aging activities, programs, announcements, etc. We also provide timely community columns and news releases to our local newspapers.

Social, Educational & Recreational

Most of the health and wellness programming also fits in the "social" category. In addition, we coordinate with Eastern Area Agency on Aging to provide a local, monthly Clinic of Expertise for support on public assistance programs (Medicare, Social Security, etc.) with their Adult and Disability  Resource Center Specialist.  Healthy Peninsula and Friends in Action co-sponsor a free, weekly Senior Coffeehouse in Blue Hill for anyone in the region. A similar coffeehouse is offered in Stonington, co-sponsored by Friends in Action and Healthy Island Project. Healthy Peninsula provided grant writing support to the Blue Hill Heritage Trust, which received an AARP Challenge grant to build an age-friendly walking trail in Blue Hill. In addition, we supported the Town of Deer Isle in getting AARP Maine matching funds for an age-friendly walking trail in Deer Isle.

Food, Gardening & Cooking

Healthy Peninsula has a vibrant Healthy Eating initiative that includes The Magic Food Bus, healthy cooking with seniors, garden camps for kids, and more.  More details can be found at

Family, Caregiving Support & Respite

Several AFCC core partners provide programming in this area, including Friendship Cottage, Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County, Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center, and Eastern Area Agency on Aging.

Fraud, Abuse & Exploitation

AFCC core partner Eastern Area Agency on Aging provides information and resources on fraud, abuse, and exploitation.  We also provide resource information on these topics in our online community resource guide (


See section on Outreach and Resource Information.




Anne Schroth
Healthy Aging Program Manager
Healthy Peninsula
10 Parker Point Road, PO Box 945, Blue Hill, Maine 04614
[email protected]
(207) 374-3257