A small but enthusiastic group of local community organisers came along to the first of our ‘Visioning for Change’ events at the Inglis Memorial Hall in Brechin recently. This provided myself (Shona) and Nicky, as Rural Wisdom Development Workers for the area, the opportunity to feedback what we heard from older people over the summer months (using our ‘Potting Shed’ consultation exercise).
Similar to other Rural Wisdom areas, many of the conversations we’ve had have identified the following things:
- Extreme fondness from local people in where they live.
- Accessing community spaces for groups and activities to run can be challenging, particularly around costs, accessibility and transport – impacting on participation.
- Huge enthusiasm and commitment from volunteers but issues around volunteer fatigue and who will run projects if they step down.
- Finding out what’s available is not always easy.
- People are weary of providing feedback in consultations about their community, some feel that their views do not matter regarding decisions which have already been made.
With the support of Carol Hayden, from NDTi (National Development Team for inclusion), participants focused on what changes we would like to happen in the next two years.
Ideas from this discussion were:
- More community activities for older people living in and around Brechin
- Find more locations for community activities
- Older people are part of the discussions about a possible Development Trust or Partnership
- Projects that bring people together
- Filling other gaps we have identified around poverty and inclusion with support from other organisations.
To take these ideas forward, over the next month or so, I will be accessing funding to offer ‘Taster Sessions for Older People in Brechin’ along with having ongoing conversations about what works and what else people would like to try.
We are hopeful that this will lead to more ideas which we can develop in 2018 onwards.
Find out more about our work to make rural areas work better for older people by looking through our website or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.