Meet Pat, 73, and Vera, 71, who are regulars at their nearest Local People project in Arbroath, Scotland. The pair have been friends for a number of years and got involved with the project after a visit from Grant, local Royal Voluntary Service Engagement Worker.
"Pat and I go to three types of social events organised by the group. ‘Meet & Eat’ is a dinner club with entertainment, ‘Fish, Film & Friends’ where we enjoy a fish supper with a film and the superb coach trips.
"Through the project, I’ve met people who I haven’t seen in years and made new friends. It’s been good to see people come out of themselves through the things that are organised. Some people are now trying things and going to things that they haven’t tried in years.
"The project has had a very positive effect on me and I can see the difference it makes to others. It’s great to see some of my neighbours get out and go to things. It has been great not only for me, but for the local community. It’s nice to see people doing things again and helping each other.
"I’ve been going every month for about 7 months now and it’s been great to get to know a lot more people. I know more people when I go out; I talk to people more and have a bigger circle of friends. At the club, I like to try new foods and be able to try things I haven’t had before or made for myself for ages.
"I don’t think I’m old but I can see a big change in many that I’ve met through the project. It’s good to see people wanting to do things again, helping each other and rebuilding confidence that many have lost. They say trying new things is good for you and I like how this project allows me to do things that I wouldn’t have normally done.
"I feel that I have more things to look forward to now and feel able to talk more openly a bit more as well. I would encourage people to come along and see what happens."
Grant, the local Royal Voluntary Service Community Engagement Worker, has been working with residents on this project for around 2 years.
“In the last year, things have really taken off. Local people have been involved in everything from gardening and pottery classes to tai chi and coach trips. It’s been great for the area and we’ve seen a marked increase in collaboration between people. It’s great to see friendships built or rekindled.
“The project gives people choice and the opportunity to improve at their own pace without having to admit that they are isolated, lonely or afraid. It’s great to encourage things to develop as locals want, solving the issues that the community sees as important and enabling them to create their own solutions.”
The Local People project in Arbroath, Angus is one of six Local People Projects run by Royal Voluntary Service thanks to funding from the People's Health Trust
. Find out more about how we are working with local people to help them tackle the issues facing older people in their communities.
Posted by at 00:00
Wednesday, 14 November 2018.