Let’s celebrate those making a difference in your community

Every day in communities across Scotland there are individuals making a positive difference to the lives of older people. Whether it be through volunteering, running local groups and services or campaigning for change, these dedicated individuals put their time and effort into making sure the older people in their local communities and beyond can love later life.

We believe the dedication of these inspiring individuals deserves to be recognised. Cue the Age Scotland Awards!

Celebrating those making a difference

Each of our award winners has a short film produced about them and is invited to our National Conference to receive their award after a showing of the film. Previous guest awards presenters have included BBC Broadcaster and Journalist Jackie Bird and Singer-Songwriter Eddi Reader.

The 2019 awards will be presented at the Age Scotland National Conference, held in March at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow.

The 2019 award categories

Our Jess Barrow Award for Campaigning and Influencing recognises political or awareness-raising campaigns that have made an impact on the lives of older people. Our 2018 winner was Walking Football Scotland in recognition of their nationwide campaigning to get more people moving by playing a walking version of the beautiful game.


The Patrick Brooks Award for Best Working Partnership is for partnership working between two or more organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to addressing the needs of older people. The 2018 award recognised the fantastic work between the Health and Social Care Partnership and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Podiatry Service in the running of Toe to toe footcare. The service is helping older people access foot care services that would not otherwise be available and the chance to have a chat with the practitioner means service users can be referred to other services quickly and efficiently.


Our Services for Older People Award recognises an individual or group who have provided an innovative service run by, or on behalf of, older people which has addressed the issue of loneliness and isolation and/or improved health and wellbeing in later life. For the 2018 award, Roar – Connections for Life impressed the judges with their huge range of services from keep fit classes to fall prevention efforts to dancing and lunch.


The Age Scotland Member Group of the Year Award recognises a member group whose activities have championed the needs of older people and had a profound impact on their members. Dalbeattie Men’s Shed won the award for 2018. The Shed provides a comfortable space for men to congregate, enjoy some banter and put their skills to good use (or learn new ones!).


Our Volunteer of the Year Award celebrates a volunteer who has championed a group or organisation to benefit the lives of other older people or on behalf of older people. In 2018 we congratulated Gladys Cruickshank who runs the Alford Car Transport Service. Coordinating 30 volunteers, the service Gladys runs has helped thousands of people get to medical appointments and other commitments since 1999.


Lastly, we have the Age Scotland Inspiration Award. Our inspiration award is open to both individuals and groups – celebrating either an inspiring older person or a group who has supported or enabled older people to love later life. In 2018 we celebrated Mary Walls of Kirkcaldy. She inspires so many people with her warmth, her kindness, her caring attitude and her determination to see older people in Kirkcaldy lead an enjoyable later life.


We also had a group winner in 2018 – the Scone and District 50 Plus group. The group offers a huge number of activities, tackling loneliness and isolation and letting people learn new skills and meet new friends.


Feeling Inspired?

Do you know a local champion, group, or service doing amazing things? Nominate them today!

The deadline for nominations is Friday 30th November. Find out more about how to nominate at www.agescotland.org.uk/awards

A new Men’s Shed for Broughty Ferry!

Our vision is of a Scotland where everyone can love later life. We’re delighted to have been able to offer community development support to men’s sheds over the last four years. Another Men’s Shed recently open their doors to the communtity for the first time.

More than 50 people attended the Grand Opening of Broughty Ferry Men’s Shed on Saturday 14 October. The shed will bring older men together to work on practical projects, socialise and share skills.

The YMCA gave the group the use of a derelict hut in its Brook Street grounds, and helped them secure funding from the MOD Fund for wood and metal working tools and equipment. Volunteers have utterly transformed the building, installing heating, windows, doors, and a kitchen and creating a workshop space and IT area.

Age Scotland were delighted to support the project aslongside Rosendael Veterans Association. The shed also received donations from local organisations, businesses and individuals.

Broughty Ferry Men’s Shed is part of a growing movement of “shedders” throughout Scotland. The first Men’s Shed was set up in Aberdeenshire in 2013 and there are now more than 100 nationwide!

Alex Harvey, a retired engineer and chairman of the shed, said: “We want to deal with isolation and bring people into the community. This can particularly affect people who have been bereaved, retired, or made redundant.

“We hope that older people will come along and find some purpose in what we’re doing.  Many people are interested in learning a bit more about DIY, and you can learn something new at any age.”

The shed meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 9.30am to 3.30pm. They ask only donations from attendees, and it is fully accessible to people with disabilities.

Age Scotland’s recent report, The Shed Effect, highlighted the impact these sheds have on improving health and wellbeing, and tackling social isolation among older men.


Keith Robson, Age Scotland’s Charity Director, said: “The hard work and enthusiasm that has gone into this project is truly inspiring, and we’d like to wish them every success. We hope the shed will provide a welcoming space for people to come together, share skills, or just have a blether.

“We know from talking to shedders around the country how much they can improve health and well-being and help tackle loneliness and social isolation. I’d encourage everyone to come along, have a cup of tea, and see what the shed has to offer.”

To find out more about Men’s Sheds, contact the Age Scotland community development team on 0333 32 32 400.

Are pensioners drinking themselves to death? (Tomorrow’s fish and chip paper)

Problem drinking in later life has become an epidemic, according to newspapers this week.  Doug Anthoney responds.

wine glass

New government figures show that last year almost 10,500 people aged 60 and over in Scotland needed hospital treatment for alcohol, one in three of all such admissions and a 62% increase in the last five years.  By contrast there were just over 8,000 incidents for the 35 and under age group.

We agreed that the high incidence of alcohol misuse among older people is of real concern.  Later life sometimes brings bereavement and isolation, which in turn can affect mental health and well-being.  Older people are more likely to drink at home, every day and on their own, suggesting that some use it as ‘self-medication’ to deal with life’s stresses; perhaps without an awareness of just how much they are drinking.

So what’s the solution? Families, health and social care professionals need to be aware of the issue, and be able to tell the signs of problem drinking from those of the natural ageing process.  We also need to ensure that older people can access the kind of social and support opportunities offered by Age Scotland’s member groups; from lunch clubs to Men’s Sheds.  But let’s try to keep it in perspective; it’s by no means an issue for every older person! You might be interested in the views of regular guest blogger Pat Craig on this issue.

Doug Anthoney is Age Scotland Communication and Campaigns Officer.  ‘Tomorrow’s fish and chip paper’ is off on holiday but will be back on 19th July.

A word from the Men’s Shed

Last week a national conference in Westhill, Aberdeenshire asked how services for older men such as Men’s Sheds might be developed in Scotland.  Guest blogger – and ‘Shedder’ – Jason Schroeder reports back on the day.

Westhill Mens Shed

Westhill Mens Shed

I’m a ‘Shedder’ at Westhill Men’s Shed; the first in North East Scotland set out on the Australian Men’s Shed model. Of course there are many personal sheds in many gardens; but not like this. The main concept is to create social interaction by working shoulder to shoulder on a variety of creative projects initiated by the men of the Shed. Men who are primarily retired and have common interests, want to learn new skills, mentor others and be in men’s company come to the shed.

I found the conference, which was hosted by Westhill Men’s Shed, very well rounded in the topics discussed. Some participants had concerns about how to start a Shed and this panel discussion time proved very helpful.  We  had a wide variety of speakers looking at the many levels of how to support services for older men in our communities. These included; Westhill Men’s Shed Chair Marty Kehoe, Jeremy Watt from Aberdeen University, who looked at our understanding of men in contemporary society, and Dr Munoz from the University of the Highlands and Islands, speaking on the potential for Men’s Sheds to be social enterprises. We also heard a perspective on men’s mental health from Dr Ian Clark, and from Roger Jones from The Older Men’s  Network.

I found it very interesting to hear that on all these levels the Men’s Shed concept is helping and will work in our type of culture. I have observed that not all concepts that work in one country will work in another.

The Shed, although aimed at retired men, is not restricted to them. I asked a participant at the conference after he had returned from his Shed visit, what where his thoughts. He is a local a man and in his professional capacity as a support worker he has taken some younger men to the shed over the last three months. He has witnessed that they have been able to feel extremely involved from day one and re-establish their confidence. This was because he felt the men in the Shed are enthusiastic, are willing to share their knowledge and learn from others. One is accepted very readily whether you are working on a motor, playing cards, building a bookshelf or just relaxing reading a good book. The different types of groups are steadily growing, as are the men using the shed.

I have been working on creating this Shed from the outset over the last three years. So to see now the level of interest and support which was at the conference really warms my heart and encourages me to continue supporting people to start their own Men’s sheds all over Scotland.   Thanks to Age Scotland for supporting this brilliant effort to insure our communities are finding solutions for a brighter future.