Age Scotland Awards honour Scotland’s champions of older people

This year’s Age Scotland Awards were held on UK Older People’s Day at a reception at the Scottish Parliament. The awards celebrate the tireless efforts of groups and individuals across Scotland who work to make a difference in their communities.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland Chief Executive

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland Chief Executive, described choosing the winners as “a humbling experience.” He added “It is wonderful to see the amazing work going on around the country – both in support of our older population but also, often, being carried out by older people. I think our winners demonstrate the breadth of activity going on in communities across the country, which Age Scotland exists to champion and support.”

This year’s Volunteer of the Year was Andrew MacDowall, 82, who dedicates countless hours each week to driving, gardening and providing other help for older people in Argyll. Although he suffers from profound hearing loss and is waiting for a hip operation, this has not stopped his commitment to groups including Oban in Bloom, the local “Soup Group” and the Frail Walking Group.

Andy MacDowall, 82, wins Volunteer of the Year Award

Andy MacDowall, 82, wins Volunteer of the Year Award

Age Scotland Awards 2014

Andy accepting his reward

This year’s Services for Older People Award winner was the multicultural Milan Day Support Service, Edinburgh, which tackles isolation by providing information and social activities to vulnerable older people in their own languages.

Milan Ltd means ‘rendezvous’ or ‘friendly meeting place’, in the four languages of the community that the organisation caters to.

“Milan” means ‘rendezvous’ or ‘friendly meeting place’, in the four languages of the community that the organisation caters to.

A partnership between the Citadel Arts Group and Midlothian-based Community Links Dementia was recognised for improving the health and wellbeing of people with dementia. The groups’ Living Memory Project, which resulted in a play performed by local primary schoolchildren, helped it win the Patrick Brooks Award for Best Working Partnership.

Citadel Arts Group and Midlothian-based Community Links Dementia

Citadel Arts Group and Midlothian-based Community Links Dementia accepting their award.

Clackmannanshire Older Adults Forum was presented with the Jess Barrow Award for Campaigning and Influencing for its successful effort to preserve bus services to nearby hospitals and bring some healthcare services closer to the community.

Clackmannanshire Older Adults Forum

Clackmannanshire Older Adults Forum with their award.

NHS Lanarkshire, the Older People’s Employer of the Year Award 2014, is leading the way in actively supporting and training older people in the workforce, and helping employees prepare for retirement. Its pre-retirement seminars, run with Age Scotland, help people with financial planning, health and wellbeing issues and finding volunteering opportunities.

NHS Lanarkshire won our newest award - the Older Person's Employer of the Year

NHS Lanarkshire won our newest award – the Older People’s Employer of the Year

Merkinch Community Centre’s Singing for Pleasure group was named the best Member Group. With around 40 members, the singers perform regularly at theatres, churches and nursing homes, and featured on BBC One’s talent show, Last Choir Standing.

Singing for Pleasure

Singing for Pleasure win the Member Group of the Year Award

Singing for Pleasure treated guests to two songs on the night.

Singing for Pleasure treated guests to two songs on the night.

It was a wonderful night showcasing the fantastic services and projects happening all over Scotland that benefit older people.

Thank you to all those who entered, and congratulations to our winners from all at the Age Scotland team!

The awards are sponsored by Specsavers, Solicitors for Older People Scotland, David Urquhart Travel, and McCarthy and Stone.

From secondary school to corridors of power – via volunteering

James Dalgleish, 18, came to Age Scotland as a volunteer in February 2014 to work in the Policy and Communications department. He’s been helping Policy Engagement Officer, Hannah Lister with event planning, as well as providing administrative support to the policy and communications team.

The main part of James’ work has focused around the Age Scotland Awards ceremony which will take place at the Scottish Parliament in October. James co-ordinated the mail-out of nomination packs to 900 member groups, and the email to all the local authorities in Scotland, MPs and MSPs.


Hannah says: “James first started in a volunteering capacity with me in my previous job so when an opportunity arose for a volunteer to help with the Age Scotland Awards and James applied, I knew he would be the ideal person to help us.

“James is conscientious and works well with the rest of the team. He has completely blossomed in the time I have known him into a professional young man and he is providing very valuable support to our policy and communications team. He also makes a great cuppa! I hope he’s learning a lot from his time here with us!”

James showed an understanding of the importance of doing voluntary work when he was only 15. In his 3rd year at Broughton High School, he got involved with the Scottish Youth Parliament and took on his first volunteering role. He worked as a parliamentary assistant in the Scottish Parliament, carried out research, saw committees at work and sat in on First Minister’s Questions.

“I really enjoyed the experience so I went on to help out in my local MSP’s office in January 2012 and then I managed to get an internship between Feb and August 2013 as a case worker in an MP’s office. That’s such an interesting job, such an eye-opener into the way the world works because people turn up with every sort of issue at their MP’s office. I got the chance to help people – that’s what I enjoy the most.

“I’ve now got a paid part-time position working with an MP but I still come into Age Scotland to help with the co-ordination of the Awards celebrations and like doing both – helping people to love later life and working with politicians,” says James.

Find out more about volunteering opportunities with Age Scotland and the Silver Line Scotland.

There is still time to nominate a volunteer or volunteer group for the 2014 Age Scotland Awards

Introducing the Age Scotland Employer of the Year Award

Do you know someone who is making a difference to the lives of older people in Scotland. Well tell us about them! The Age Scotland Awards are now open for nominations, says Katrina Coutts, Age Scotland’s Communications and Marketing Manager.

The Age Scotland Awards celebrate the groups and individuals that have made a significant contribution to the lives of older people.

Age Scotland Awards

Last year we were bowled over with the nominations we received and the winners, announced at a ceremony at the Scottish Parliament, were an inspiration and showed just how vital a part older people play in our communities. You can find out more about last years inspirational winners on our Awards pages.

This year, reflecting the fact that the number of older people in the workplace is rising – a combination of the scrapping of the mandatory retirement age and the ever-rising pension age – we’ve added a new category. Through the Employer of the Year Award we’re wanting to hear about those workplaces which are championing their older employees through good practice.

Earlier this year I took part in a discussion on BBC Radio Scotland’s Morning Call show on the back of a survey of more than 2,000 UK workers aged over 40. Of those surveyed, one in seven had seen younger staff promoted ahead of them and one in eight had been passed over for other opportunities at work.

More than one in 10 had been asked when they will retire and the same number reported having jokes made about their age, while one in seven have had someone ask them their age in a job interview.

The results suggest that, on average, 54 is when people believe their age really starts to negatively impact their career. 54! At that age you’re very likely to have a good chunk of your career ahead of you, so it’s a long time to be treading water or feeling out of place.

So please tell us you know of places where you’re not shunted into a corner once you pass 50, you are given opportunities to still develop your career, and your employer understands and responds to the other things going on in your life – particularly given the fact that people at this age have a higher likelihood of caring responsibilities, both for ageing relatives and also young grandchildren.

Whether it be through ensuring staff get pre-retirement training and in-depth pension support and advice, to providing flexible working or after work fitness clubs, our judges are looking for any innovative ways that companies are helping their older workforce.

full list of categories:

  • The Jess Barrow Award for Campaigning and Influencing – sponsored by McCarthy & Stone
  • The Patrick Brookes Partnership Award – sponsored by Specsavers
  • Service for Older People Award
  • Member Group of the Year Award – sponsored by David Urquhart Travel
  • Volunteer of the Year Award – sponsored by Solicitors for Older People Scotland
  • Employer of the Year Award

So get nominating. More information and the form can be found at

Nomination forms must be received no later than Friday 29 August. Further details of the actual Awards event, which will be held in October to mark international Older People’s Day, will be published shortly.

Congratulations to Clackmannanshire Older Adults Forum: Winner of Partnership Working Award 2013

On 1st October Clackmannanshire Older Adults Forum received the Patrick Brooks Award for Partnership Working at the Age Scotland Awards ceremony in the Scottish Parliament.  See the video, in which Flo Mackenzie receives the award on behalf of the Forum, and Ricky Donaldson talks about the difference the Forum is making on issues such as transport.

The Forum brings together seniors groups in Clackmannanshire so that they can speak with a strong collective voice and share knowledge and experience.  It has a membership of 16 groups, double the number a year ago.  On topics from crime to housing it feeds older adults views and experiences into local planning and decision making.  Current priorities include transport, with the forum instrumental in establishing Clackmannanshire’s first community transport service, and inter-generational activities, with young and older members of the community exchanging skills such as IT and knitting.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland Chief, Executive said: “This Award is truly well deserved.   The Forum has demonstrated dedication and dynamism in ensuring older people’s voices are heard in Clackmannanshire, and their needs met.”

The Patrick Brooks Award for Partnership Working is sponsored by Raeside and Chisholm.  It is for partnership working that has made an outstanding contribution to address the needs of older people.

Congratulations also to the runners-up:

  • Viewpoint Housing Association and Impact Arts
  • Stay Safe Project Steering Group

Ricky talks about the importance of the bus pass to older people.  Age Scotland is currently campaigning to improve the buss pass scheme – find out more at:

Congratulations to Citadel Arts Group: Age Scotland Member Group of the Year 2013

On 1st October Citadel Arts Group received the Age Scotland Member Group of the Year Award at a ceremony in the Scottish Parliament.  See the video, in which Liz Hare, Artistic Director, and playwright Alan Mountford, talk about the benefits of creativity and what the Award means to them.

Citadel Arts Group develops and expresses creativity and memories in older people in Edinburgh and Midlothian.  Its activities include; ‘living memory’ projects with dementia sufferers, memory inspired plays performed by frail older people alongside primary school children, and helping recently retired people develop play-writing skills.  The group’s achievements include a performance at the Leith Festival 2012 of a play by an older writer inspired by memories of old Leith hospital. It has been a member of Age Scotland for two years, which has grant-supported production of 6 drama productions in that period.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland Chief, Executive said: “This Award is truly well deserved.  The experiences Citadel Arts Groups offers are genuinely life-enhancing, and it’s a fantastic exemplar of the confidence creative opportunities can instil in older people.  As we celebrate Luminate, Scotland’s annual creative ageing festival, this award could not be more timely.”

The Age Scotland Member Group of the Year Award is sponsored by David Urquhart Travel.  It is given to the member group whose activities have championed the needs of older people and had a profound impact on its members.

Congratulations also to the runners up

  • St Mungo’s Old Folks Centre of Wellbeing
  • Westhill and District Men’s Shed
  • Dance House

Congratulations to Food Train Friends, winner of the Services for Older People Award

On 1st October Food Train Friends received the Services for Older People Award from Age Scotland at its annual Scottish Parliamentary Reception.  See the video in which Regional Manager Helen McAnespie pays tribute to volunteers, and an Project Manager Scott McGill talks about the difference the service makes.

Food Train provides grocery shopping delivery and home support services to older people in the Dumfries and Galloway area.  Its Food Train Friends service was developed three years ago in response to evidence that social isolation and loneliness was a major issue amongst older people locally.  It offers telephone befriending, one to one matches, and group outings and activities.  It also runs reminiscence and IT groups and has established strong links with local High Schools in Dumfries.

105 older people are registered with the service and are supported by 60 trained volunteers.  The service has plans, funding permitting, to roll out across the whole of the Dumfries and Galloway area, in which there is no other befriending service for older people.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland Chief, Executive said: “This Award is truly well deserved, as Food Train Friends has demonstrated dedication and dynamism in meeting the needs of isolated older people in the Dumfries and Galloway area.”

The Services for Older People Award is sponsored by Specsavers at Home. It is for groups and organisations which have given older people ‘that little bit of help’ they need to continue to enjoy independence and a high quality of life in their own homes and communities.

Congratulations also to runners up:

  • Tiree Resource Club
  • Midlothian Garden Services
  • Cowal Elderly Befriender’s SCIO
  • Keeping in Touch Edinburgh (KITE)

Congratulations to Thomas Whitelaw, winner of the Campaigning and Influencing Award

On 1st October Thomas Whitelaw received the Jess Barrow Award for Campaigning and Influencing from Age Scotland at its annual Scottish Parliamentary Reception.  See the video for Tommy’s speech, in which he pays tribute to his mother, and to love stories.

Tommy gave up an established career to become the sole carer for his mother in the five years she had dementia right up until her death in September 2012.  While he was looking after his mum he began campaigning on behalf of dementia sufferers and their carers.  With support from The Alliance (Health and Social Care Alliance) undertook a marathon walk across Scotland in 2011, ‘Tommy on Tour’, attempting to raise awareness, inviting carers across the nation to contact him with their stories, and lobbying politicians and influential people.  He made excellent use of a daily blog to publicise his tour and carers’ stories, which he intends to continue. He created and promoted a DVD – ‘It’s okay to ask for help.’

Tommy is now invited to talk to audiences including journalists, students, healthcare providers and politicians, and has raised awareness that behind a diagnosis of dementia is a person with a rich life history.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland Chief, Executive said: “This Award is truly well deserved. Tommy has demonstrated tenacity and creativity in his campaign, and genuinely helped change perceptions and attitudes towards people with dementia and their carers.”

The Jess Barrow Award for Campaigning and Influencing is sponsored by McCarthy and Stone.  It is given to an individual or group who’s campaigning has highlighted a specific issue and affected change to the benefit of older people.

Jess Barrow was Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Age Scotland’s predecessor charity, Age Concern Scotland.  She campaigned widely for the rights of older people and was a lifelong contributor to the third sector.  Jess passed away in 2007 at the age of 44.  She is survived by her husband, Gordon Russell, and their two sons, James and Calum, who was there to help present the award.

Congratulations also to runners up:

  • Grey Matters
  • Viewpoint Housing Association
  • Woodlands Senior Citizens Club