Connecting people at Bailliefields Community Hub

Posted: 26 April 2022, in News

In early 2021 Falkirk Council were running local meetings to gain knowledge and insight of local communities and at one of these meetings, which was discussing using schools more for activities, I suggested working with schools to provide real world volunteering opportunities.

This struck a chord with Lynsey Hansford of CVS Falkirk who was also on the call. Lynsey got it contact to say that CVS had been looking into this with Developing Young Workforce (DYW) as a possibility with Braes High School before the Pandemic and suggested a meeting of all parties to discuss further.

In September 2021 Karen Wright of DYW got back in touch with Lynsey to discuss this piece of work as things started to return to business as usual and Lynsey was keen to pilot this with one keen school and one community group or organisation. This would allow the project to demonstrate impact and learning, as well as allowing it to demonstrate the benefits to other schools who might not have considered something like this before. 

We met to discuss how to take this further with Karen to reach out to Braes High School to discuss finer details.

When I met with Tom Holt of Braes High School he had already had interest from some Braes High School pupils keen to explore the Health Care volunteering opportunities and they were keen to get the chance to work with people with dementia.   

In late October I visited Braes High School to discuss this opportunity with Tom Holt which resulted in a number of positive outcomes.

Tom was excited to make links with a local club like WRCC/BCH and looked forward to doing more together when the WRCC/BCH building works were completed, and the Hub is fully open. He felt that this would be brilliant to develop this partnership further to allow for even more opportunities for the community’s Young People.

In early November 2021 all the paperwork for the work placements for the three S6 girls was completed, and they attended their first session with WRCC’s Women & Girl’s sponsor Farid Travels providing a minibus to transport them to and from the session.

The girls helped organise the session and chatted to all the attendees as they provided them with Tea and Coffee. They also took part in the indoor curling and croquet.

The feedback from the attendees after this session was fantastic and the girls seemed to give the group a boost and more energy and in December the girls returned for their agreed second session to take part in Ballroom Dancing and Target Golf. 

It was great to see the relationships the girls were already building with people attending and the interest the attendees were taking in the girls and their future plans.

After these sessions CVS nominated the project for an Intergenerational Award and the project will be promoted as part of Global Intergenerational Week (25th April – 1st May).

There are so many benefits to this type of intergenerational work for both generations including social engagement, cognitive stimulation, and improved communication. It allows people to develop a better understanding and respect between generations by bringing different generations together in a purposeful way.

Two of the girls enjoyed it so much and felt they were greatly benefiting from the experience that they returned in February and March 2022, much to the delight of the attendees.

With exams coming up the girls are taking a break to concentrate on their studies but have promised the group they will be back in June!

Stephen Sutton, Chair & Trustee, Bailliefields Community Hub