A blog post by our new Development Worker, Jo Highet
I was really pleased to accept the invitation to join Shona and Nicky from Rural Wisdom at the recent Conversation Café and made the long journey from East Berwickshire to Brechin. It allowed me to have my first sight of and drive over the impressive new Queensferry crossing in the early evening sun.
Refreshed from a comfortable night – I enjoyed a quick breakfast and went to find Cathedral Hall where the café was to take place. It is next to the historic Cathedral -I had a few minutes to have a look around the Cathedral and Tower which is of historic significance as it dates from around 1100 AD or according to some opinion even earlier and is one of only two Irish style round towers still standing in Scotland.
Brechin did itself proud that morning -due to the full and enthusiastic participation by those at the café and by treating us to a beautiful sunny morning. Shona, Nicky and I were joined by a dozen participants and representatives from the Communities team and Voluntary Action Angus.
The first task participants undertook involved sorting out a variety of groups into those which people were aware of and those which they knew little or nothing about. Participants added several additional groups to the list. There was much conversation about why groups weren’t known about and what the barriers were to joining/finding out about them
It was apparent that there is no shortage of groups on offer for older people in Brechin. It was also highlighted that many groups are not accessible to all who might like to take part. The issue of access featured strongly in the discussion. Peoples concerns focused around accessibility (or not) of venues, of buses or specifically timetables which are now only available online and the lack of accurate information relating to local groups.
Participants were keen to share their experiences and had a wealth of ideas and solutions to address the issues discussed. A long list of “next steps” was drawn up with the idea of an information hub pivotal to improving the issues highlighted.
The session ended on a high note! We were treated to one of Brechin Community Singing Group participants playing the violin and we all joined in -thankfully the song lyrics were supplied by Shona!
The session was informative, fun and engaging -participants were all keen to contribute to the discussion. It was obvious how much commitment there is in the local area to work alongside Rural Wisdom and the strong connections which exist between participants in the various groups. It is great that we are encouraged to learn from each other in this way. As for Brechin, I will be back!!