Lifelong Learning Matters

The Age Scotland National Conference is back for 2017, bringing together member groups and invited guests of a day of learning, friendship and inspiration. Community Development coordinator Elizabeth Bryan talks us through the plan for this year’s conference.

Learning, in all its forms, makes a great difference to the well-being and quality of life of people over the age of 50. That’s why the theme for this year’s Age Scotland’s conference is Lifelong Learning Matters.

Taking part in learning opens up new interests, puts us in control of lives and helps us to remain physically and socially active. Age Scotland member groups engage in a wide range of informal learning, and many groups are providers of an array of learning opportunities for their members and older people in their local communities. This year’s conference will provide an opportunity to find out what current research is telling us about lifelong learning and older people, and the difference participating in learning makes to our health and wellbeing.

Guest speakers, musical performances and participative workshops

The fantastic Pennie Taylor, award-winning freelance journalist and broadcaster, returns as conference chair and we have some fantastic guest speakers lined up to get our guests inspired.speakers

After lunch attendees can browse our exhibition and chat to stall holders or take part in one of our participative workshops. We have five workshops this year covering topics from table tennis to getting online to mindfulness.workshops

Attendees will then enjoy afternoon tea and a performance by the fantastic Shooglelele Ukulele band! Not one to be missed.

Celebrating those making a difference

The conference will culminate with the presentation of the 2017 Age Scotland Awards to recognise and celebrate the exceptional commitment and contributions individuals and organisations make to ensure Scotland is a good place to grow old in. We are joined by Dean Park who will be presenting the awards.

For those unable to join us on the day, the event will be live streamed so you can watch our guest speakers and discussion, musical performances as well as the Age Scotland awards ceremony. Full details will be posted on our website soon.

It’s set to be a tremendous day and we look forward to welcoming everyone on Wednesday 29th March!

If you have any questions about our National Conference, please contact our team on 0333 32 32 400.

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.


  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!


  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 

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.


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 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.


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 

She’d love to hear from you!



Quality Matters – Our 2016 National Conference

On Wednesday 16th March invited guests and representatives from over 300 Age Scotland member groups came together for our 2016 National Conference.

Attendees travelled from across Scotland to take part in the conference held at Perth Concert Hall. It was a fantastic day with much discussion about what we mean by quality of life in later life. Read on for a round up of the day. 


Morning Session: Care Homes, Creativity and Urban Planning

Our conference chair, award-winning journalist Pennie Taylor, kicked off the day by posing two questions to the room: When is life good? When is it not so good?MMB_1377

Answers ranged from thought-provoking to funny to poignant and it was clear that quality of life means different things to different people.

Here’s just some examples of the hundreds of responses we received:


We were then joined by our guest speakers. First up we had Fiona Cook, Facilitator at my Home Life Scotland discussing quality of life in care homes. Fiona introduced My Home Life Scotland and its’ work to improve quality of life in care homes for those who live in, work in and visit care homes.

We were then joined by Andrew Crummy – Community Artist and Designer of the Great Tapestry of Scotland. Andrew argued that regardless of age, everyone is creative and has something to say, and went on to describe how art can bring communities together and improve quality of life for everyone.


(L-R) Professor Greg Lloyd, Fiona Cook and Andrew Crummy take questions from the audience

Lastly Greg Lloyd – Emeritus Professor of Urban Planning joined us from Ulster University. Professor Lloyd provided a fascinating overview of how urban planning and our environment can directly impact our quality of life. He went on to consider how we may be able to play a more active role in planning in the future to ensure a better quality of life in later life.

Our speakers got the room thinking and we had many attendees posing further questions and ideas to the speakers and wider floor. You can watch footage from the live stream of the guest speakers and subsequent discussion here.

Afternoon Session: Workshops, Award Winners and Eddi Reader


An attendee laughs taking part in the “Looking after you” workshop

After some lunch and further opportunity to visit our information stalls, many attendees headed into one of our interactive workshops. We had five in total on a range of topics
related to quality of life, including Men’s’ learning and well being, spirituality and looking after you.



Attendees then came back together to commence the Age Scotland awards. The awards celebrate individuals and groups that are doing great work for older people in their local community. It was certainly a tough year for the judges, with many quality entries. As our chief executive Brian Sloan said, we would love to have given everyone an award, but there can only be one winner!


Eddi Reader presents Lynn Benge with the Volunteer of the Year Award.

Our winners are listed below. Click on the links to watch a 2-3 minute video about the great work they did that earned them the award.


Award-winning singer and songwriter Eddi Reader joined us to present the awards and rounded off the conference with a fantastic performance that had the whole concert hall singing along.

It was a great day full of discussion and debate about what we can do collectively to improve quality of life for those in later life.

What do you think has the biggest impact on quality of life? What could be done to improve quality of life in Scotland? Tell us in the comments below!

All images featured in this post by Mihaela Bodlovic

Quality Matters – What does quality of life mean to you?

Age Scotland are delighted to be hosting our second national conference next month at Perth Concert Hall. The day brings together Age Scotland members and invited guests from across Scotland. This year we will be exploring the theme of quality of life in later life. Community Development Coordinator Elizabeth Bryan tells us more.


Quality of life means different things to different people. Health, relationships, social interaction, material circumstances, being involved in decision making, taking part in meaningful activities and personal development opportunities, keeping physically active and being able to access services – these are just some of the factors that are often considered to be important to ensure a good quality of life.

On Wednesday 16th March, we are expecting to bring together over 300 members for a day of discussion, networking, workshops, inspiration and the opportunity to learn more about Age Scotland’s work and services, and those of our partner organisations.


Age Scotland’s 2014 National Conference in Perth Concert Hall

Quality of Life in later life

The morning will see us discuss the question ‘What do we mean by quality of life in later life?’ with the help of our guest speakers. Pennie Taylor, award-winning journalist specialising in health and care issues, will chair the discussion.


We’re delighted to welcome back Pennie Taylor our Conference Chair.

Joining us on the day we have Fiona Cook – Facilitator at my Home Life Scotland, Andrew Crummy – Community Artist and Designer of the Great Tapestry of Scotland and Greg Lloyd – Emeritus Professor of Urban Planning at Ulster University. It’s set to be a fascinating discussion.

During the afternoon, those attending the conference can visit the exhibition stalls, network with other attendees, or take part in one of the interactive workshops we have on offer:

  • Ending social isolation- the Silver Line Friend’s story
  • Living life well in care homes
  • Spiritual Care matters
  • Men’s Learning and Wellbeing
  • Looking after you

Recognising those who work to make a difference

We will then go on to the Age Scotland Awards which celebrate members and partners who are doing great work for older people across Scotland. Joining us to present the awards and perform at the conference is award-winning singer and songwriter Eddi Reader. The awards recognise those making a difference in their local communities and beyond.

Age Scotland Awards 2014

Winner Andy MacDowall collects his his Volunteer of the Year award.

Previous award winners include Andy MacDowall, 82, from Oban who was our Volunteer of the Year. Despite having profound hearing loss and awaiting a hip operation, Andy regularly gives up his time to support older people in Argyll in numerous ways. You can find out more about our previous winners here.

It’s set to be a fantastic day with lots of interesting conversation around quality of life in later life and we are thoroughly looking forward to welcoming our members next month.


You can download the full programme here.

Age Scotland at The Gathering 2015!

Members of the Age Scotland team attended The Gathering in Glasgow last week. Rebecca Dickson from our Information and Advice department summarises the day.

noun: gathering; plural noun: gatherings
1. An assembly or meeting, especially one held for a specific purpose.
2. A group of leaves taken together, one inside another, in binding a book.

The Gathering is an annual event run by the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) bringing together representatives of the third sector with a view to share ideas, network and show of the work we do.

The Gathering 2015 ran over two days, and welcomed stall holders, as well as delegates to attend a variety of workshops. From Children in Scotland, to Keep Scotland Beautiful, to Citizens Advice Scotland, the third sector was very well represented.


And we were there! Age Scotland was also very well represented, with staff members from a range of departments either answering questions at our information stall, or attending workshops. Attending were colleagues from Community Development, Fundraising, Human Resources, and Communications, as well as both the Volunteer Development Worker and myself, the Power of Attorney Project Officer, from Information and Advice.


Given Age Scotland has not attended The Gathering in a good many years, we were unsure what to expect and how best to prepare. So, we went along, armed with a selection of our many publications, promotional posters for Silver Line Scotland, information for enquiring volunteers, and chocolates.

Feedback from our colleagues who attended the workshops and talks was positive and they came back with ideas and the enthusiasm to implement them.

A common question from delegates attending the stalls was “What does Age Scotland do?”. This gave us a perfect platform from which we could take individuals through the range of services we provide: from our work in local communities, to the Silver Line Scotland, to our campaign work. These two days proved to be somewhat of an awareness-raising exercise. However, it was also a valuable opportunity to liaise with representatives from other third sector organisations and talk about ways that we can collaborate, prevent the duplication of resources and generally help each other out.


Looking ahead, we will be reflecting on our learning from the Gathering 2015 and see how best we can maximise our time if we decide to attend The Gathering 2016. Perhaps we could involve our volunteers, have a wider selection of publications and promotional materials, or we could even promote the event with Age Scotland member groups. Indeed, it was an absolute joy to see three gentlemen from one of our groups, to whom I had delivered a talk the week prior, attend the event.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you!

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)

The 8th World Congress on Active Ageing approaches

Older ladies exercising

The 8th World Congress on Active Ageing (WCAA) will be at the SECC in Glasgow from 13 – 17 August 2012. Held every four years, this week-long event is a highlight on the academic calendar, as researchers from across the world gather to discuss all things active ageing.

For the first time this year, the WCAA is opening its doors to the general public and inviting older people to attend its wide range of events with the Senior Pass.

At the cost of £8, the Senior Pass will provide a full day’s access to what’s on offer at the WCAA. The days’ line ups are thematic, so it’s best to pick the day that interests you the most:

  • Tuesday 14th August – Well-being, quality of life, cognitive function and dementia
  • Wednesday 15th August – Falls and fractures, balance and bone health
  • Thursday 16th August – Neurological and musculoskeletal conditions
  • Friday 17th August – Cardiovascular and respiratory conditions

Watch this short video of Bob Laventure, organiser of WCAA 2012, talking about some of the  activities that will be available through the week:


If you’re interested in learning more, you can phone the Congress Secretariat on 0141 331 0123 or visit the WCAA website. Alternatively, leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you have.

What do you think about the care system?

Lady with carer

The Scottish Older People’s Assembly (SOPA) is taking place in Edinburgh on Friday 2 November 2012 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC). SOPA is a themed event, and this year the day’s agenda is centred around care and caring.

Age Scotland is on the Scottish Older People’s Assembly Steering Group, and we are asking older people to give us comments and statements about their experience of care and caring, including preventative care that helps older people to remain active and connected to family and community.

As well as the challenges and difficulties faced, we are particularly keen to hear of innovative projects and what has worked well for carers.

Your comments will help shape the Assembly programme and inform Scottish Ministers, and the issues will be reflected in the Assembly report that will go to the Scottish Government and other organisations involved with SOPA.

Comments can be sent to or by post to Glenda Watt, The City of Edinburgh Council, Business Centre 1/7, Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG.

Alternatively, you can leave comments on this blog post and we will be happy to take them into account. Please say if you are responding as an individual or representing a group and we can help shape SOPA’s programme for November based on your feedback. Thank you!