Two local groups have been recognised at the Age Scotland AwardsÂ for their work in making life better for elderly people. Volunteer Midlothian’s Community Links Dementia project and the Citadel Arts Group, based in Edinburgh, wereÂ presented with the Patrick Brooks Award for Best WorkingÂ Partnership. AndÂ Edinburgh-based Milan (Senior Welfare Organisation) Ltd wereÂ presented with the Age Scotland Services for Older People Award.
The ceremony, held on Older People’s Day, aims to celebrate later life and ourÂ ageing population. It highlights the extraordinary efforts of voluntary and memberÂ groups, and reflects the diversity of projects and services run by and for olderÂ people which are making a difference in their communities.
Volunteer Midlothian’s Community Links Dementia project and the Citadel Arts Group, based in Edinburgh, joined forces to run a Living Memory Project, which aimed to improveÂ health and wellbeing among people living with dementia by reducing isolation andÂ giving them an opportunity to socialise and participate in a meaningful activity.
This resulted in a booklet based on stories and memories which was distributed toÂ the local library, school, and family members. A play based on the booklet wasÂ performed by pupils from the local King’s Park Primary School, Dalkeith. GroupÂ members were also treated to a memory -based play called a Night at the PicturesÂ performed by Citadel’s professional actors. The group also provided a space forÂ carers to discuss issues and concerns.
Mags Bryan, of Volunteer Midlothian, and Cecilia Rose of Citadel Arts Group, said,Â “We’re delighted with the success of this project, and winning the award isÂ wonderful news. The group is now well established and continues to meet, with manyÂ participants telling us it’s the highlight of their week. We were impressed by theÂ enthusiasm of the group members, carers and pupils, who all worked hard to bring theÂ stories and memories to life.”
The Milan support centre, at Albion Road, Edinburgh, was set up to tackle isolation among older people in Edinburgh’s Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Mauritian communities.
The name “Milan” means meeting together in all four languages used in the group.
Set up by Pilmeny Development Project and Lothian Racial Equality Council, working with older people from the community, the centre offers shared lunches, exercise classes, gardening sessions, yoga and other recreational and educational activities. It also provides home visits and befriending services to elderly people who are housebound, lonely, isolated and may have recently been discharged from hospital.
Established in 1991, it now has around 300 members.
Neena Agarwal, Manager of Milan (Senior Welfare Organisation) Ltd, said, “Our aim at the centre is to reduce feelings of social isolation, and allow older people to meet others of their own generation who share much in common. Lack of culturally appropriate services can lead to low morale and depression, and Milan aims to overcome these barriers.”
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland Chief Executive, said, “These awards are a chance to highlight the amazing work going on around theÂ country, both in support of our older population but also, often, being carried outÂ by older people.Â Loneliness and isolation can have a serious effect on people’s health andÂ wellbeing, so services like this fill a vital need.
“Choosing today’s winners has been a humbling experience. It is wonderful to see theÂ amazing work going on around the country – both in support of our older populationÂ but also, often, being carried out by older people.”