Social Isolation is a major problem nationally; it has also been identified locally as a priority within the Locality Planning Partnership and Health and Social Care Partnership .
Almost 50% of Arran residents are over the age of 65; a large number who live alone. Statistics show that loneliness can be more harmful to someone’s health than 15 cigarettes a day. Befriending Arran was started to address social isolation locally. It provides one to one support and companionship to vulnerable and isolated older people.
Older people can be referred in by a number of services, or can self-refer. The befriendee is matched to a compatible volunteer, trained by the befriending network. Both will meet up on a regular basis to do agreed activities, for example go for a walk, visit a community group or event, have a coffee, or just sit and talk. There is also an option to use Arran CVS digital devices; Skype, Facetime, etc. where this has been requested.
The planned activities vary from quilling to silk painting, crocheting and screen printing.
The Umbrella Project meets weekly and engages in arts and crafts, games and other indoor activities. There is the usual tea/coffee & biscuits with attendees being encouraged to chat and interact. The group is run by dedicated volunteers who provide interesting and inspired activities week after week.
The aim of this group is to provide opportunities for those who might need support and encouragement to become involved in their local community. Anyone who would like to come along and share an interest or skill with others is also welcome. There are many therapeutic benefits to crafting activities and the atmosphere of the group is welcoming and inclusive.
Arran CVS facilitated set up of this inter-generational project. The first stage of saw children from Brodick Early Years centre visit Glen Estate sheltered housing for weekly sessions of activities, varying from music and dancing to arts and crafts.
Both children and residents participating immersed themselves in the activities with great enthusiasm. Residents also visited the children for a coffee morning and watched their nativity play. Through this project, great relationships were made and these connections will continue to flourish. Future plans are to include similar work with the preschool children and Stronach Day Care service.
Glen Estate & McKelvie Road Lunch Clubs
A weekly lunch club is held on alternate Monday's in Glen Estate and McKelvie Road sheltered housing complexes. Providing a warm meal and social event for those who may be socially isolated or lonely in life. The Lunch Clubs are suspended just now due to the global pandemic but it is hoped to recommence soon.
The lunch club relies on some very committed volunteers who generously give their time to either cook, serve food or clean up. More volunteers to help out are always appreciated!
The lunch club is self sustaining as attendees give a small donation to keep the clubs running. Intergenerational activity takes place between Arran Acorn attending Glen Estate and some children from Lamlash early years and Arran High School attending Glen Estate Lunch Club.
Our volunteers also host a Christmas Day Lunch, which aims to prevent older people from being alone on Christmas Day. Every year our wonderful volunteers spend Christmas Day cooking and eating with isolated older people. This annual event is always a hit with everyone who comes along.
Arran CVS brought together young people from Arran High school and residents of McKelvie Road sheltered housing to create 'generations together'.
Students visit a few days a week and support activities such as arts and crafts, games sessions, manicures and beauty treatments. The participating residents of McKelvie Road are delighted to welcome the pupils into their communal lounge and take part in the sessions.
Alongside this, some residents expressed an interest in IT support. These sessions are supported within our office, on a prearranged basis. The resident can bring along a tablet, phone and seek basic technical help from the pupils. As part of our Befriending Training we are now offering dementia awareness sessions, this includes trying on an 'Ageing suit'.
We are pleased to have been able to extend this invitation to the young people involved, which helps increase their understanding of older people and the aging process.