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

Community researchers needed for quality of life study

Age Scotland is excited to participate in a new project which will research the views and aspirations of older people on what good quality of life in later years means to them. 

The Charity is being supported by the Life Changes Trust to collaborate with the University of Stirling in a research project which will give older people themselves the role of researching what the key issues and challenges are for securing good quality of life.

The Project is seeking to involve 20-25 community researchers who are over 50, including people with dementia, from across the country to help establish what good quality of life means to older people in Scotland. The findings from the project will be crucial for the Charity for informing our campaigns and parliamentary engagement.

The role of the community researchers will work in teams of 4-5, alongside researchers from the University of Stirling. Their role will be to find out what people want in later life to make them happy through running small group discussions and evaluate the information gathered. No previous research experience or skills are needed, as researchers will be provided with all the necessary training and support by Age Scotland and the University of Stirling over the course of the project, between July 2016 and August 2017.

We are now engaged in the process of recruiting the community researchers, so if you would be interested in becoming a community researcher please get in touch with Richard Baker. This should be a rewarding and informative experience for those who take part, and it is certainly going to be a crucial part of the Charity’s work over the coming year.632x305_research_project

Beyond Volunteers Week: Volunteering Matters

Cat Campbell, Age Scotland’s Information and Advice Volunteer Development Worker reflects on Volunteers Week and how we carry its’ message forward.


This week I saw the following tweet from Volunteer Scotland:

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And I thought what a great – and important – message to round off Volunteers Week. As you may know, Volunteers Week, this year running from 1st – 12th June; is a UK-wide celebration of what the thousands of volunteers across the country do for charities and other organisations, and the benefits that being a volunteer can bring.

Volunteers Week was extended by 5 days this year in order to include the Patron’s Lunch, and we had a wonderful 12 days celebrating and thanking our volunteers. But it doesn’t stop there. At Age Scotland we recognise that, like many organisations across the UK, we simply could not do what we do without the incredible support and enthusiasm so kindly gifted every week by our amazing volunteers.

Some of our volunteers make calls every week to isolated older people who then have the opportunity for a friendly chat, a laugh or someone to listen. Others help keep our shops functioning or support our fundraising events; raising money so we can support local older people’s groups. Others facilitate training sessions for people approaching retirement so that the attendees can make the most of later life. Age Scotland could not accomplish all of this (and more!) without them.

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And it’s not all about us! It has been proven that volunteering is good for you. A recent study by the University of Exeter and National Council for Voluntary Organisations found that volunteers live longer and have more satisfying lives. It can also give you a sense of purpose and makes a great addition to a CV. It can enable you to use your existing skills or learn new ones.

Volunteering Matters

Age Scotland is proud to be part of the Scottish Volunteering Forum, which aims to bring people and organisations that are passionate about volunteering together – increasing awareness, sharing understanding and raising uptake.

In 2015 the forum published a really interesting document: ‘Why volunteering matters, the case for change’. It encourages people to ‘be the change’.  We need to move volunteering in people’s consciousness from something that is nice to do, to something that is essential for the wellbeing of individuals and society, if the number reaping the benefits is going to increase.

Volunteers’ Week is a great opportunity to thank volunteers but that shouldn’t stop just because the week is over.


To find out about volunteering with Age Scotland and what kind of roles we offer, visit our website or contact me at cat.campbell@agescotland.org.uk

 

EU Referendum: one week to go

As we approach the European Referendum, Age Scotland’s Chief Executive Brian Sloan encourages everyone to use their vote.


With only a week until the European Referendum, it is vital that Scotland’s older people have their say on this historic decision for the future of our country. Age Scotland is very conscious that there is a diverse range of views on our future in Europe among older people in Scotland.  That is why we feel it is very important we as a Charity take a neutral position on the referendum.  However while we will not support either of the campaigns in the referendum or encourage older people to vote for a specific position, we certainly do encourage older people to use their vote.

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Brian Sloan – Age Scotland’s Chief Executive

There can be no doubt that big issues affecting older people have been placed at the heart of the referendum debate by both campaigns – the future of our pensions, our public services and our NHS.  It is also true that many people who are weighing up how they will vote on the 23rd feel they would still like more information from the two campaigns to help them come to a decision.

As Scotland’s charity for older people, we are keen that Age Scotland does what we can to help encourage debate on these important issues and ensure people have they information they need to come to an informed view.  That is why we invited leading figures from both campaigns to write articles for our Advantage magazine to explain how they have come to their view.  Professor Sir Harry Burns, a former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, writes on behalf of Scotland Stronger in Europe, and Tom Harris, a former MP, is now Director of Scottish Vote Leave and has outlined that campaign’s position.

You can view the articles here on pages 14-15 and I am sure you will find them interesting and informative. How you will vote in the referendum is up to you, but given this is a big decision for Scotland’s older people I do encourage you to use your vote.

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:

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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.

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(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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Awards 2012 – the Winners!

Once all the formalities were over at yesterday’s AGM, Edinburgh’s Depute Lord Provost, Elaine Aitken presented the Age Scotland awards to some very worthy winners.

Age Scotland Awards 2012

Age Scotland Awards 2012

The day had started well in very grand rooms at Edinburgh City Chambers with a huge pile of sandwiches, entertaining chat and art browsing courtesy of Art In Healthcare  who recently received an Age Scotland grant. They create stimulating environments that positively affects one’s mental wellbeing and contributes to an effective healing process and brought some of their paintings along.

Now we were getting to the most exciting part of the day .. the Awards Ceremony!! Our CEO Brian Sloan introduced them, telling us more about Jess Barrow and Patrick Brooks who the Awards have been named for.

The quality of the applications we had for the Awards this year was extremely high  and as a result we decided to share both the Jess Barrow and Patrick Brooks awards across two applicants.

Winners of the Jess Barrow award for campaigning

Woodlands Senior Club

Averil Clayton, Woodlands Senior Citizen’s Club

Members of the Woodlands Senior Citizen’s Club worked with and lobbied local councillors to keep to Woodlands Centre open. The Centre has 180 members and is open Monday to Friday every week and has various activities available to improve the health and well-being of older people in the local community.

The consequence is that they can improve the facilities for the benefit of all older people in the community and the current services they provide such as keep fit, craft, bowling, bingo, dancing and crochet classes.

Mrs I J Miller

After 4 years of suffering from Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) Scotland and Giant Cell

Jean Miller, PMR-GCA

Jean Miller, PMR-GCA

Arteritis (GCA) and searching unsuccessfully on the web and elsewhere for help, support and information, Mrs Miller set up Tayside PMR and GCA Support (now PMR-GCA Scotland) with charity status and funding from Awards for All.  With this she opened an office, developed a website and set up a Dundee Support Group.

She has provided support to sufferers across the UK and even further afield, through a Telephone Help Line, information packs, regular newsletters and a website. With the creation of a sister charity in England and Wales, which Mrs Miller helped set up, this charity is now able to focus solely on Scottish needs and already supports more than 250 people.

Winners of the Patrick Brooks award for Partnership Working

North Coast Connection and Transport for Tongue

Mary Martin and Sarah Beveridge, North Coast Connection and Transport for Tongue

North Coast Connection has three part time staff run a lunch club for older people. When the Highland council decided to withdraw the transport service the groups established a partnership process which created an affordable, accessible and sustainable transport service to allow access to a local day care centre for all those who wished to attend.

The lunch club is almost full the three days a week it is open. Most clients use Transport for Tongue to get to the centre and in September they benefitted from 197 volunteer hours and travelled 882 miles to take clients to the centre.

Angus Care and Repair
Angus Care and Repairassist older and disabled people live safely and independently at

Judith Leslie, Angus Care and Repair

Judith Leslie, Angus Care and Repair

home principally through the fitting of aids and adaptation but they have entered into a number of different partnerships to help older people live in their home. These include

  • With Tayside Police  to promote safe and security in the home
  • With Tayside Fire and Rescue  to help avoid fires in the home
  • With Trading Standards and Neighbourhood Watch to reduce doorstep crime and cold calling
  • With the NHS to highlight the danger of falls in the home and take action to prevent them. In particular they created a theatrical production to highlight falls awareness and home safety and arranged for it to be staged in a local theatre, where 200 people attended.

Keep your eyes and ears open for next year’s nominees – if you know of an exceptional person or organisation, let us know about them when the Age Scotland Awards for 2013 are announced next Spring. You can see more photos from the event here.

You can also take a look at our Annual Review or snapshot..