Meet Maureen: one of our 2017 Abseil heroes!

The 28th of May sees the return of the iconic Forth Rail Bridge abseil – one of Age Scotland’s main events of the year. We’re delighted to welcome another group of brave souls this year to take on the challenge. In her guest blog Maureen shares with us why she decided to sign up to the 165ft abseil challenge. 


Hello, my name is Maureen Tait and I am 52 years of age. I am the Sheltered Housing Services Manager for Port of Leith Housing Association (PoLHA), and I have worked within PoLHA’s housing for older people’s service for 20 years, and with older people in various care and support settings for 38 years.

I have decided to abseil from the Forth Rail Bridge for two reasons. Firstly to thank Age Scotland and show my appreciation for all the work they do and secondly, as a personal achievement. I have a disability (which has never held me back) but what might hold me back for the abseil is that I am not terribly good with heights! Abseiling will certainly be a fantastic achievement and something struck off my bucket list!

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I am really lucky that one of my colleagues, Martin Hunter has agreed to abseil with me and I will value his support with fundraising and on the day – go team PoLHA!

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We plan to do lots of exciting things to fundraise, for example hosting a fun day for our tenants, which will include games, a lunch, a raffle and tombola. The Association, colleagues, our tenants’, families and friends have given us so much encouragement and are all right behind us in supporting our fundraising journey.

I am extremely passionate about the service for older people, and the service we provide in our Sheltered Housing. At our recent Inspection by the Care Inspectorate we maintained our graded of a 6 “Excellent” for our quality of Care and Support, and this is a credit to the sheltered team for the commitment and dedication they demonstrate in their work.

Over the last couple of years Age Scotland has kindly invited our tenants along to some of their events. We had a fantastic time visiting the Scottish Parliament for some lunch and to launch a new exercise called strength and balance bingo.

As part of PoLHA, I am committed to ensuring that we build and support a strong community in Leith. A key element of this is working with the different projects and local schools to encourage intergenerational activities for our tenants and younger people to enjoy and benefit from.

Through Age Scotland we were delighted to welcome the First Minister to our festive celebrations to see first-hand the real difference such group’s make to tackle problems of social isolation. We offer our wholehearted backing for Age Scotland’s ‘No-One Should Have No-One at Christmas’ campaign. Our tenants thoroughly enjoyed designing a gift of a tea pot, cup and saucer to give to the First Minister to show their appreciation of her visit.

I have decided to fundraise for Age Scotland as a way to show appreciation for all the support they give not only to our older people but all older people across Scotland

5 thing you need to take to a charity ball

Friday 11th November sees the return of Age Scotland’s Silver Shindig – our glamorous charity ball. As this fantastic night approaches, we’ve pulled together five things you need when heading to a charity ball.


  1. Your glad rags

As the name suggests, a charity ball is a bit more glamourous than your average fundraising event – not a running shoe in sight! Arriving at the Hub on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile you will walk the silver carpet – yes silver – to have your photo taken before heading in to a Champagne Reception in the Grand Ballroom Foyer. So brush off that kilt, look out that little black dress and get ready to make your grand entrance.

  1. Your appetite

A glamourous charity ball requires an equally impressive menu. After a short introduction to Age Scotland’s work, out comes the first of three courses, along with selected wines. We won’t spoil the surprise by telling you the whole menu but you best bring you appetite, you won’t want to miss out.

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  1. Your Christmas list

One of the most exciting features of a charity ball is the charity auction. Here you will find one off experiences and gifts, things you literally cannot buy anywhere else. This year we have some incredible things on offer, from a Velodrome Experience with a GB Gold Medallist at the London Olympic Velodrome to a Pickering’s Gin Tour for 6 with a Limited Edition hand-signed collector’s bottle. Find something unique for a special someone this Christmas or perhaps just treat yourself!

  1. Your dancing shoes

What would a charity ball be without dancing? We have the superb ‘Corra’ joining us to put on a selection of music alongside a wonderful Scottish ceilidh that will have you dancing into the wee hours. Their name literally means rare or extraordinary and once you’ve seen them live we think you’ll know why! Not a dancer? Not a problem! Just sit back and take in the atmosphere of some traditional Scottish music with a twist!

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  1. A smug smile

This one may well be the most important. You can feel good about attending our charity ball because through attending this glamourous evening you are supporting Age Scotland’s work with older people and fighting loneliness. And all while having a ball! Well done you.


For more information about Age Scotland events, just visit our website or contact our Fundraising team directly on 0333 32 32 400 or by email at fundraising@agescotland.org.uk 

Meet Rebecca: Events & Community Fundraiser and Radio Celebrity!

Rebecca Dickson, our new Events and Community Fundraiser, has been with Age Scotland for two and a half years and has filled a variety of roles. Here, she tells us more about herself and her plans in her new role.


I’ve worked with Age Scotland since October 2013 as an adviser within Silver Line Scotland, our helpline, providing information, advice and friendship to older people, their family and carers. Keen readers of the Age Scotland blog will also notice posts I have written about the Power of Attorney campaign that I led as Project Officer in 2015.

My experience working with older people as part of Silver Line Scotland, and with communities as Project Officer, puts me in a unique position as Age Scotland’s Community and Events Fundraiser. Not only am I able to give an honest and real account of the positions that older people in Scotland may find themselves in, but I can tell you first-hand about the difference Age Scotland has made and continues to make to the lives of older people across Scotland.

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Snazzy new business card!

In my first few weeks I’ve been connecting with local businesses, giving them collection cans and discussing how they can work with Age Scotland. I’ve been meeting with some of our wonderful fundraising volunteers to support them with their upcoming events and I even appeared on the radio promoting the Loch Ness marathon!

I’m excited to continue to get out and about and demonstrate why the work we do is worthy of your support. I want to let you know about how we help older people, their families and carers to make informed decisions, how we tackle isolation and loneliness, and how we seek to effect change to the benefit of older people. Our aim is to enable older people in Scotland to love later life.2016-07-21_1120

If you would like to organise a fundraising event, volunteer, take part in a challenge or if you know you want to get involved but are not sure where to start, just get in touch! We want to support you and I’d love to hear from you.

Email me at fundraising@agescotland.org.uk or call 0333 323 2400

Volunteers Week: Meet Charlotte!

Today kicks off Volunteers Week – a chance for us to celebrate the fantastic contribution that our volunteers across the charity make. Today we’d like to introduce Charlotte – a volunteer in our fundraising department and older people’s champion!


Originally from Germany Charlotte grew up in Canada. As part of her community work requirements in Canada Charlotte spent several months volunteering in a senior health centre in Toronto.

It was there Charlotte began to realise how underappreciated older people can be in our society. The majority of older people Charlotte met there were hospitalised due to serious illness which left them unable to live at home, although mentally and emotionally they were just as capable as the younger doctors and nurses looking after them. This made their loneliness all the more difficult for Charlotte to bear with some residents having only the occasional member of family dropping off for a coffee, leaving the health care system to look after their family members health and happiness. This is inspired Charlotte to volunteer to make a difference to the lives of older people.

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Charlotte stated ‘In a fast paced world where success is measured on individual merit; the elderly are quite often left behind and undervalued. Add to this the trend of families living spread over cities and countries it results in the biological and original support network for older people slowly disappearing. This means more support is needed from local communities, something which Age Scotland is aware of and encourages through the support of its many member groups’

Since joining Age Scotland as a fundraising volunteer Charlotte has been the driving force behind her organisation supporting the charity in a number of ways such as taking part in sporting events and coffee mornings. Charlotte also has the opportunity to assist at ad-hoc charity events and will be volunteering at the upcoming Forth Rail Bridge abseil.

Charlotte (centre) and colleagues from Residence Inn Edinburgh who took part in the Edinburgh Marathon last weekend.

Charlotte (centre) and colleagues from Residence Inn Edinburgh who took part in the Edinburgh Marathon last weekend.

Charlotte’s family live spread across Europe and she wishes she could directly support her parents and grandparents more. Knowing she will be in Scotland for the foreseeable future, Charlotte feels rewarded that by volunteering for Age Scotland she can contribute to supporting older people in Scotland and is able to give back to the community she states has so warmly welcomed her and made her feel at home.


To find out more about our fundraising volunteering opportunities contact Stacey Kitzinger on 0333 323 2400 or at stacey.kitzinger@agescotland.org.uk 

She’d love to hear from you!

 

 

3 marathons in 5 months and lots of jogging inbetween

Our Events and Community Fundraiser Stacey recently had the delight of meeting Angela Reid who is running the Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon for Age Scotland.


Stacey met Angela in Troon, near her hometown of Stevenston where Angela had been out for a 6 mile run that morning embracing the Scottish winter weather and the scenic views of the west coast’s beaches. Just the next day Angela was due to run the Strathaven half marathon, and in March alone ran a trail half marathon, the Inverness half marathon and won the first lady spot at the Stranraer half marathon. Angela has definitely caught the running bug!!

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Stacey and Angela

Angela initially started running from scratch around 4 years ago but due to personal circumstances she had to take a full year out between 2014 and 2015. Angela found herself in a poor state of health at the end of December 2014 and realised that something big had to change in her life in order to make things better.

She told Stacey ‘I knew how good running had made me feel previously, both physically and mentally and that’s what spurred me on to get my trainers back on and get myself out the door. I also had the encouragement of friends who entered me into a fun obstacle run at Chatlerhaut Park in Hamilton as an incentive to focus on. After that one day, there was no looking back and the benefits since have been priceless’

Since then Angela has set herself the target of running 3 marathon’s in 2016 along with various other running events throughout the year. Her first marathon is in Milton Keynes in May, followed by Arran in June and both leading up to the final marathon of the year in September along the scenic Scottish Highlands at the Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon where Angela will be raising money for her efforts to support older people across Scotland.

Angela’s enthusiasm is also inspiring others in her local community. Once she had improved her own fitness she knew it was something she wanted to get the community involved in, and in particular older people. She went on to complete the Jog Scotland training and has started a local jogging group in her area in November 2015, the Knee High Joggers. This is a free group open to all ages and abilities. Angela can have up to nine runners go along on a Thursday night for their weekly session and has got a range of people involved from someone training to get into the police, people training for a local 10k and several members who have gone from walking around 1 mile to walk/jog up to 2 miles already.

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Angela knows first-hand the benefits of running and keeping fit and active and is keen to promote this where she can. She believes that it is never too late to start your fitness regime and this is one of the reasons she has chosen to support Age Scotland at the upcoming Baxter’s Loch Ness marathon in September.

Angela states that the earlier people can get involved in fitness and wellbeing the more likely they are to love later life. We completely agree and are delighted to have Angela on board supporting Age Scotland.

Angela Reid 4Read more of Angela’s story and show your support for her efforts by visiting  https://www.justgiving.com/Angela-Reid7

 

 

What’s it really like to abseil from the Forth Rail Bridge?

The Forth Rail Bridge is one of Scotland’s most iconic features and on the 26th June a group of brave souls will be abseiling from it SAS style to raise money for Age Scotland!

We caught up with two of our wonderful fundraisers – one who took part in the abseil event last year and one who is about to take the plunge.


Sheila Herron took part in the 2015 abseil for Age Scotland along with some friends. We spoke to her to find out a bit more about the experience.

So what made you decide to sign up for the abseil?

My elderly mum had received valuable advice from Age Scotland and this alone was worth fundraising for. It was great that she could get help and advice from folk who understand at the end of the telephone. I have worked and fundraised for other charities previously (and still do) but felt Age Scotland’s work is something important enough to do this for.

And what was it like on the day?

The organisation of the day is excellent. There’s lots of helpers and volunteers which made it feel very safe and the day go well.

I am terrified of heights, just getting onto the gantry at the bridge was challenge enough! The crew at the top were brilliant though. Climbing over the bars was ok, the letting go was the hardest part, but the guy in the climbing crew was fab; nice, calm and patient. I had loads of support on the ground from family and friends, which just added to the buzz.

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Getting to the bottom was a relief but it was so worthwhile. I’m really pleased that I managed to do it. I found it really challenging but everyone involved was so good and you get swept along with the whole feel of the day so it ended up being a really good, fun day!

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about taking part this year?

I would absolutely recommend it to anyone – it was an amazing day, good fun and had a good community feel to it. And what a relief at the bottom!

My friends and I had a great time fundraising for it. We held a coffee and cake afternoon in the garden asking for donations and folk were really generous. I’d say to anyone that signs up it’s a good idea to get the Just Giving page started early on – it is amazing how the £10s soon add up!

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You can watch a video of last year’s abseil here.

Tamlin Wiltshire (better known as Tam) has signed up for this year’s abseil.

The event is on his 45th birthday so he and his family are making a day of it. Tam has signed up for the morning abseil then they will head for a nice lunch in North Queensferry and some drinks to celebrate.

Tam has always wanted to do an abseil but he chose Age Scotland as his charity to support because he lives in a small community in Inverkeithing and is aware of how important it is to provide support for the older generation. Tam’s wife told us “Tam is excited about the abseil and of course nervous – our daughter has a word for it Nervecited!!!”


If you’d like to take part in our Forth Rail Bridge abseil event on 26th June, we still have some spaces available. Just contact Stacey at Stacey.kitzinger@agescotland.org.uk or call 0333 32 32 400

8 Women, 32 Dogs, 285km: One massive challenge

Eight like-minded woman from various walks of life have decided to take on a challenge that will push them to the limit physically, emotionally & mentally.

In March this year, the Åtte HUSKYteers will spend six days & nights enduring temperatures as low as – 30°, living, eating & sleeping in the frozen wilderness of the Arctic whilst tending to & driving their own team of Huskies 285km from Norway to Sweden.

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L-R: Anna, Carroll, Sabrina,  Fiona, Sarah, Amanda, Julie, Georgina, Amanda

Before setting off on their expedition, the team will be shown all the specialist equipment and given a short briefing on how to drive the dogs and set up camp on the trail. They’ll be introduced to their dog teams and take a short trip of about 10-15km to put into practice their new dog sledding and camp building skills.

On the first day of their expedition, they will set off from TromsØ in Norway following the route below, before ending their journey in Kiruna in Sweden.

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Day One – Signal Valley to Three-Nation Border – 30km

Day Two – Three-Nation Border to Keinovopio – 55km

Day Three – Keinovopio to Kamas – 75km

Day Four – Kamas to Camp 4 – 55km

Day Five – Camp 4 to Ice Hotel, Kiruna – 60km

 

As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, these dedicated ladies have also given themselves the goal of raising £100,000 for charitable causes they care about. The money raised will be split between four charities and Age Scotland is delighted to have been chosen as one of their four.1430390260Amandaw

Team member Amanda Wiewiorka put forward Age Scotland as one of the nominated charities after
experiencing first-hand how loneliness can impact older people in Scotland and seeing what we to do to help.

Amanda witnessed with both her father and her mother-in-law that despite having large families loneliness can still be an issue.

Amanda said ‘Families and society today has changed, people are busier and jobs and careers often mean families live further apart making it difficult for them to visit older relatives. Having someone older people can call for a chat or groups they can attend can make all the difference and it is important that we continue to raise the awareness of loneliness and the effects it can have mentally and physically on older people in Scotland’.

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We are so grateful to Amanda and her fellow HUSKYteers for their support.

The trip itself is inspired by other team member Amanda Nisson’s mother Gill who had always wanted to go to the arctic and mush huskies, but sadly passed away after a long battle with cancer before she was able to. The team have a special member in her honour – Chilly Gilly, the team mascot.

Through sponsorships and fundraising events the Åtte HUSKYteers have been tirelessly raising money over the past year, including holding fashion shows, raft challenges and washing cars with Dundee Fire Service.  They have already raised over 50,000 and their last push to reach their goal is their final fundraising event – a fabulous Arctic ball held at the Prestonfield House Hotel tomorrow night.

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The Atte HUSKYteers set off on their adventure on the 12th March and we can’t thank these fabulous, driven ladies enough for all their efforts to support Age Scotland. They truly are an inspiration.


 

Read more of their story and sponsor their efforts by visiting their website: www.attehuskyteers.co.uk