Rural Wisdom is about improving the lives of older people living in rural communities by listening and helping people to develop activities and initiatives.
What makes Rural Wisdom different is that it also the impact of activities led by older people, by sharing ideas, activities and learning. It does this by connecting older people and communities from different parts of the country, so they see and hear from each other too. It encourages people to see for themselves what is possible, support and inspire each other and develop new ways to do things that work well for older people. And of course, during these pandemic times, to use digital technology and find other ways to connect with each other.
Rural communities in Scotland and Wales are part of Rural Wisdom. It began in 2017 with funding secured from the National Lottery Community Fund.
- It started with activities in 5 local areas and some networking between them and with other areas: in Scotland this was Eaglesham and Waterfoot in East Renfrewshire, Edzell and Brechin in North Angus, and Highland Perthshire.
- In 2019 Rural Wisdom expanded to 4 other local areas: in Scotland these are the area around Burghead and Hopeman in Moray and Scottish Borders.
As part of the evaluation, we have gathered people’s experiences and impacts from local areas. These are some of the things we have been hearing around the impacts for people.
Seeing and feeling proud of contributions
“The difference for us is the speed at which we can do things and the connections and contacts we have made – with each other but also other groups and organisations from across Scotland and Wales. We share our knowledge and contacts.” Moray
“It’s not always been easy to find out what is happening here. We have group meet ups now and share what’s goings on. We also pass the word around and try to make sure more people know what going on. Its making a difference” Eaglesham and Waterfoot
“Just seeing the community bus outside ready to take people to the health centre. Going for something simple like a blood test is stress free now instead of a logistical nightmare. Before, there was no direct transport. We helped make it happen.” Moray
“We are proud of where we live, the people and places and the things we do to support each other. We want to tell the world about it and before Rural Wisdom I would not have seen the need to. We would have quietly got on doing our own thing.” Scottish Borders
Making connections and hearing and seeing what is happening in other areas
“Before the pandemic we used to have to travel to gatherings. It was good, but took so much time and a lot of organising. I was a bit concerned about using zoom for meet ups and gatherings at first, but it works. It’s not perfect but we can see each other and talk and see what other people are doing.” Scottish Borders
“We are thinking of having zoom coffee mornings and using breakout rooms for smaller chats as way to keep in touch with each other. It will work now and also in the winter months when the weather is bad. Before this I would never of thought of it.” Moray
“We’ve been in touch with groups in Wales and have learned a lot from them.” Moray
Having a voice and contributing to the community
“We have had more conversations about how we can help with things locally. The school are talking about having volunteers in to share knowledge and skills like local history, cooking and crafts” Scottish Borders
Ideas and approaches that make lives better for older people in rural communities
“The energy day and results of the survey. So many people too part and it really highlighted the importance of energy costs in Burghead for everyone. Before this people had been quietly struggling on their own. But it is an issue that affects everyone in the community and now we are sharing and talking about it. And that the first step.” Moray
“The street library has made a difference to people. It’s a simple idea but it works. A box of quarantined books that are free to use and return. The take up is high. And we have started including the community newsletter in the box so more people see it and know what is happening” Eaglesham and Waterfoot
For more information about Rural Wisdom www.ruralwisdom.org
And for information on the evaluation in Scotland contact firstname.lastname@example.org