Food for Life Scotland – Bringing Generations Together

Good food is at the heart of happy, healthy communities, bringing people of all ages together. Soil Association Scotland’s Food for Life Scotland (FFLS) programme works to transform food culture and put good food on the menu, in the curriculum, and in all the places people live their daily lives.


In late 2015, FFLS set up an intergenerational project in Edinburgh which focuses on two settings – Inch View Care Home and Liberton High School. Both venues come under the management of the City of Edinburgh Council and both already have a commitment to good food through the Food for Life Catering Mark award.

When the idea of an intergenerational project was introduced, the school and the care home were enthusiastic. Both were keen to use the journey of their food –‘from soil to plate’ – as a basis for learning, sharing, and celebrating together.

Inch View polytunnel

Building a wheelchair-accessible polytunnel at Inch View has been one of the key projects. Volunteers helped with the construction and pupils from Liberton built its doors as part of their Craft Design & Technology work. Produce will be used in the home’s kitchen as ingredients for residents’ meals and scraps will also go to feed the home’s chickens.

Inch View chickens

As part of a dementia prevention project, Inch View decided to create a recipe book which involved residents reminiscing about childhood memories of food. The school’s art department ran a competition with S2 to design the cover, and pupils are now planning to produce the whole book, including illustrations.

In March 2016, a daffodil lunch was held at Liberton High School. Pupils from the school’s Food for Life Action Group worked with their school cook to look at nutrition for older people and consider what dishes they might like to eat. Pupils designed invitations, menus, prepared the tables and cooked up a fabulous range of dishes for their special guests from Inch View. Three generations sat down to eat together, sharing their experiences and getting to know each other.

Daffodillunch.jpg

Future events being planned include a strawberry tea and harvest event in autumn, as well as the on-going sharing of produce grown in Inch View’s polytunnel and the school’s raised beds. One pupil from Liberton has been inspired to consider a career in catering and another pupil who has expressed an interest in care work has been offered work experience at Inch View.

The project has been a real team effort, it’s a great example of generations working together and celebrating through food.


To find out more about Food for Life Scotland, please visit www.foodforlifescotland.org or email ffls@soilassociation.org

‘TeaSet’ – highlighting loneliness at the Edinburgh Festival

There are many ways to raise awareness on the effects of loneliness and isolation. Will Searle from Age Scotland’s Communications Team recently attended a play called ‘TeaSet’ in the Edinburgh Festival that aims to highlight social isolation among older people.


One of my favourite things about the Fringe is finding wee shows that have managed to cut past the hype of the huge behemoths everyone’s heard of and grabbed your attention. The team from Teaset did so by getting in touch with us at Age Scotland to see if we were interested in coming along to see their play. Simple and very effective!teaset

The play is a one-woman show performed superbly by Amy Malloy.  It tackles the incredibly difficult issues of loss, violence against older people and the heated debate of dying with dignity.  Using the medium of intergenerational interaction, Amy tells us how she came to meet Mrs A, an older lady, who is living in her daughter’s house.  Amy’s character, we never learn her name, is charged by Mrs A’s daughter to look after her whilst they go on holiday to the Carribean.

The story beautifully intersperses humour with the raw grief of loss that Amy and Mrs A have both experienced.  With the intimate setting of the venue, Pleasance That, you experience the emotion that Amy expresses so viscerally, whether as her own character or when she is voicing Mrs A.  You can feel the pressure as her eyes begin to well up and you really do forget that you’re in a show and not sitting opposite someone who is reliving a harrowing moment.

teaset3

As a member of the Age Scotland Communications Team, I’m regularly faced with the job of being one of charity’s press team and answering the press phone.  Journalists will call us for comment on the latest court case or issue that affects older people.  I’m reminded on a far too regular basis of the violence that is unfortunately targeted at older people.  This play tackles the difficult aftermath of how that can affect an older person but also someone of Amy’s age.  It highlights the importance of building safe communities for everyone but also how we deal with the effects.  Violence, when it happens to anyone, is something that needs to be managed in a sympathetic and supportive way to ensure that you can move on from that point and stop it from consuming your whole person.teaset2

I had a coffee with Amy along with the director and producer after the show and chatted to them about their experience of the show.  The show had a very personal element to Amy as her own Grandmother passed away last year.  It was heart-warming that the Teaset team were really concerned about the isolation facing older people and how they could use the show as a catalyst to spur people into action to make a difference.  As such, they will be promoting Silver Line Friends in their programme, a volunteer opportunity with Silver Line Scotland.  By donating just an hour a week you can transform the life of someone who feels they have no one to speak to.  It seems such a simple concept but it really does make a life-changing difference.

I would very much urge you to go and see Teaset, it’s on at 2pm, Pleasance That, 6-23 and 29-31 August.  And once you’ve done that, take the time to contact an older relative or friend.  Be it a parent, a grandparent, aunt, great uncle or an old acquaintance, in doing so, you may just make the difference in their lives.

Day out in the Scottish Borders

Morag Halliday, Development Officer, and Martin Munro, Legacy Officer, recently visited two very different groups in the Borders, where change has recently been a major factor

Hawick Senior Citizens Association

Hawick Senior Citizens Association’s Evergreen Hall is tucked away on Dovecote Street overlooking the River Teviot – but you will have no trouble finding the group with the clear shiny new sign that the group has just put up.  This is just one of the many recent changes that the group has undertaken – which together with larger structural changes for warmth and weatherproof – have created an inviting flexible space that is in constant use by the local community.

Evergreen HallWe were welcomed by the large friendly group into the newly insulated and plastered hall, to see phase two of the renovations which included new colour co-ordinated chairs, window and stage curtains that Age Scotland has helped fund.  We were fortunate to visit just before lunchtime on a Thursday – which is when  the Social Group meet for a nourishing and enjoyable lunch followed by a cup of tea and a blether.

Evergreen Group, HawickThe enthusiasm and energy which we witnessed over our meal – as we heard of the dances, indoor skittles and various events and activities the committees and volunteers run – was infectious; as were the inventive ideas for the usage and hiring of the hall and other fundraising ideas that have kept the group running since the 1960’s.

With commitment and enthusiasm like this it’s clear this group will continue to run and run…

If you would like to find out more about the group’s activities or get involved contact George Brown,  Tel No: 01450 373829 email: george.brown732@btinternet.com

Find out more about Age Scotland’s work in the community

Galashiels Men’s Shed

Galashiels Men’s Shed has been set up in record time by a hopeful bunch of people who sat together last November with the enthusiasm and commitment to create a place where men could come together share skills and interests, pursue hobbies and pastimes and have time for coffee and a chat.    Gala Mens ShedIn January this year they started operating from just one small room – making bird boxes and planters for a new sensory garden for people who are blind or partially sighted.  But it soon became apparent interest in the group meant this room was too small and they persuaded the local council to give them a local premises which had been earmarked for demolition.  Gala Mens shedThe group then took ownership of the premises in May this year and the Shedders have been working tirelessly to create a working space and socialising area, when we visited there were over a dozen men, some painting the building and some busy making their workshop benches.  Already they have a range of products that they have produced including garden chairs, bird tables, bird and bat boxes, and are also repairing bicycles  – and the local council has commissioned them to create planters for a common area in the Town Centre.

Its early days but this band of men – with ages ranging from 18 to 82 – with support from the Volunteer Centre Borders – have proven they have the drive to take things forward with an official launch event planned soon.

If you would like to find out more about the group or get involved contact: Nigel Sargent at Volunteer Centre Borders, Tel No: 0845 602 3921 email:  n.sargent@vcborders.org.uk

Find out more about Men’s Sheds on the Age Scotland website.

Leith at War: Memories make History

Last year’s Age Scotland Award winners; Citadel Arts Group are proud to promote their latest inter-generational project. Author Laure C. Patterson tells us more about the project, from the script through to performance week! Thanks too to Director Liz Hare for the pictures and background.

Leith at War Flyer

Yesterday I was in Leith’s Hermitage Court sheltered housing complex with a class of Primary 6 children mixing with residents old enough to be their grandparents. The children were performing scenes from a play based on the living memories of these and other residents. The laughs and tears and shouts of appreciation were for real. Many were mine!

Dress Rehersals

Mark Kydd as Grampa, Angus Skakle as young Eck at Dress Rehersals

As a kid I loved listening to stories. The best were true, told by my dad and my great-aunt, who talked of their adventures in earthquakes, train wrecks and perilous sea journeys. My mum created fairytales full of magic and dreams. Now, in my sixties, I’m listening to stories again: stories of excitement, daring and courage. And they’re all real! They were told to me by Leithers who lived through blitzes, blackouts and bombs in the Second World War, right here on the Leith Home Front.

Pupils from St Mary's Primary and residents of Hermitage Court

Back in March, children from St Mary’s Primary came along to Hermitage Court to enjoy the reading, socialise together and give us their thoughts about the play.

When I joined Citadel Arts Group some years ago I learned a great deal about courage, patience and humour from helping run living memory sessions with Leithers up to 91 years of age. Citadel Arts, with a history of producing community dramas from living memory, kindly offered me the chance to write. So I wrote ‘Leith At War’. Three classes of primary and secondary children have come together to share these stories with their tellers, and one of the pupils stars in ‘Leith At War’. So I was really proud when Age Scotland honoured Citadel last year by voting us Member Group of the Year in a Parliamentary presentation!

Living Memory Group

First read through with our script advisers whose ages ranged from 70s to 90s.l They advised us closely about the events of the play, the way people spoke, details of dress and RAF uniform, to achieve authenticity.

Thank you to all the lovely people who shared their stories with me, to Citadel for taking these stories onto the stage, and to Age Scotland for the great work they do with the older generations who enrich us every day. I hope you can all come and see the play.

 

‘Leith At War’ is being performed in the Leith Hub (foot of Leith Walk) on 19, 20 June at 7.30pm and 21 June at 2pm. Tickets £7/£5. Click on leithatwar@gmail.com to reserve tickets.

 

 

Respect for All

Age Scotland Community Development Officer Suzy Gentle shares her experiences discussing age discrimination with young people.

Last month I was in Kemnay and Oldmeldrum (Aberdeenshire) taking part in an important piece of Intergenerational work.

Suzy Gentle

Suzy Gentle

Respect for All is a programme intended to raise the issues of equality and diversity with S2 & S3 school pupils (12-14 years old), tasking them with taking the same message back to feeder primary schools. There were four workshops which took place four times each day.

These workshops concentrated on Age, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people, Race and Disability. Each group contained about 20 pupils therefore the message was heard by 160 pupils who will become Ambassadors for their schools and feedback their learning to “feeder” primary Schools.

It was then my turn to lead a workshop on Age. The groups were introduced to the work of Age Scotland and asked to come up with a definition of Old Age. This prompted very varied responses including “past your prime”!! However generally once we discussed older people as experienced and skilled members of the community some very touching and positive stories came from the groups. Experience of older people mainly from Grandparents obviously had a positive effect and one boy spoke enthusiastically about his Granddad to be followed by another boy talking about his Great Granddad.

The workshop included discussions on Age Discrimination both of young and older people. Highlighting how it felt to be discriminated against or bullied brought to life the feelings of older people and the importance of respect.

I found the workshops both challenging and inspiring. The importance of getting people together and discussing opening feelings, stereotypes and discrimination cannot be over emphasised.

The young people were very insightful and gave an alternative to the often negative image portrayed in the media. They inspired me to get older people involved in any future workshop.

All in all a positive experience which could have a positive effect on both younger and older people.

 

Learning the fun way

The Saltire Awards have been designed recognise the commitment and contribution of youth volunteering to voluntary organisations.

Brandon, a fantastic volunteer in our Dumfries shop is taking part, and the awards are helping him to record the skills, experience and learning he has gained.

Find out more about the Saltire Awards

Brandon, Age Scotland Volunteer

I started volunteering with Age Scotland in Dumfries after I left school and I didn’t want to sit about doing nothing. It has helped me gain skills which will be useful in a paid job. This includes working as a member of a team, taking instruction from managers and customer service amongst many others. I have learned that being reliable is important. I really enjoy coming into the shop because I get on well with everyone and I like the atmosphere. This is why I am happy to have done 500 hours volunteering.

Claire, Manager of Age Scotland, Dumfries

Since Brandon started with us in September he has really come out of his shell and gained a lot of new skills. He has become a key member of the team – he can be relied upon and work unsupervised. I’m really proud to see the development of his skills in such a short space of time and it’s great to see his contribution recognised by the 500 hour Saltire Award.

We enjoy having him in the shop as he has a great sense of humour and his cheeky character amused staff, volunteers and customers alike!

Interested in volunteering? Locate your nearest Age Scotland Shop
Follow the activities of the Dumfries shop on Facebook
Find out more about the Saltire Awards

Celebrating real life stories

John McCaughie introduces us to The Living Memory Association; a reminiscence project based in Leith, but covering the whole of Edinburgh.

Bessie, who is 98, has attended some of our social events. Her daughter Pearl describes how much these outings mean to her mum: ‘Mum had a lovely time at the Burns Supper. The Living Memory Association has given her a new lease of life.’

Bessie and Pearl

Bessie and her daughter Pearl. Bessie is holding a photo of her, her husband Harry and daughter Pearl.

As part of a 2nd World War project with local primary schools we invited George, a ninety-one year old, to meet a class of P.7s and tell them about his experiences in the Merchant Navy during the war. The children listened to George’s first hand account of what it was like to sail on the convoys bringing supplies from America to Britain and where torpedoes from German submarines were a constant threat.

Win was born in 1916 in London. She worked in an aeroplane factory during the 2nd World War and campaigned for better pay and conditions for women workers. We made Win a Life Story Book and she was delighted with the results. ‘This is really special to me to have my stories and photos collected in this book. It’s wonderful, truly wonderful.’

Edinburgh Dynamos – a women's football team from the 1950s

Edinburgh Dynamos – a women’s football team from the 1950s

These are just some of the activities we offer to older people living, sometimes isolated lives, in the community. Through reminiscence work we bring people together to share their memories, make new friends and learn form one another.

The charity also offers training in reminiscence skills for anyone interested in working with older people. Our next training day is on 13th September 2013. Please contact John for further details on 0131 553 4580 or john@livingmemory.org.uk.