Reports on the development of a joint mental health strategy for older people in a central London Borough. The project brought together clinicians and practitioners from a variety of settings, the voluntary sector, and users and carers. The aim of the project was to develop a shared philosophy of care based on promoting independence and from this to identify the components of a spectrum of care that would meet the wide range of needs of elders with mental ill health. The borough had high levels of deprivation, unemployment and poor housing. In addition there was a rich ethnic diversity within the borough.