Everyone needs fun and to get out and about. Community events are an important part of what DFEL is all about, especially the ones that bring everyone together to make friends and get to know each other. The Annual Luminate Festival of Creative Ageing has provided us with a focus for community gatherings for the last two years. People living with dementia are fully part of and welcomed warmly at these events and family and friends are invited too so for an all too little while life is not about care, when people are not isolated, it’s about fun and friends.
The Annual Hope Room Concert was again a great success, with great music and great company. As chance for us all to spend time with our loved ones and friends old and new. The music was great with Live Music Now and the North Berwick Day Centre’s Centrepiece Choir. Great stuff and thanks to everyone who donated cakes and things. Bliss!
This year we’ve experimented with 2 new events to bring people together from different parts of the community. Moving into a care home can mean becoming isolated in a world that is all about care. Our Care Homes are a valued part of North Berwick and we wanted events in the community for people who live in care homes and people who are socially isolated and lonely to come along and meet new people and try new things.
So on Halloween we had a community event where groups from across the Community came together for a day of creativity where everyone got the chance to learn something new and discover a new or old skill or passion. A day to learn together, have fun together and build friendships. Clara and her residents from Astley House came along and we were joined by North Berwick Day Centre Members and volunteers. Janet, a Volunteer at the Day Centre brought along our antique hand-driven sewing machine and some of the Members’ handiwork like this quilt.
Mary has been making cushions at the Centre and came along to display her talents. Derek from the Management Committee took photos and gave us prints so we could take our memories away with us – photos say so much more than words. Thanks to Derek for most of these photos.
The Brownies taught us to make paper flowers and play Minecraft and as ever sparkled their magic Brownie dust everywhere. The Guides helped with the washing up and cooking and talking to people and a spot of knitting. Jayne ran a drop in Art Class in the Art Room. We had Zumba Gold from Ruth; Simon and Ness from Therapets also joined us and we had a fire engine. We also had Claire and Meabh from Playlist for Life along to show us how it works and hopefully we’ll get a local scheme set up soon – fingers crossed!
The day finished with Scottish Country dancing courtesy of Margaret. We had all generations up and dancing and were delighted to be joined by Harry Potter who cut a splendid figure on the floor! Katie our Community Learning and Development Officer took charge of the kitchen and baked up a storm aided and abetted by Adam. Tillie and John kept us organised and ran to the shops for peelers and candles and other stuff we ran out of.
High spots? When Michael told us his story about his father’s greyhounds as he sat and stroked Ness’s ears (Ness is of course a Therapet!).
When a lady said it was years since she had seen her friends, they lost touch when they went into a care home. But she spoke to them at the event and was so happy to know they were happy and well. People said how lovely it was to have something interesting to do at a weekend that was different. Guests left happy, bearing paper flowers, screen prints and photographs of their day out in the town. Oh and we had Harry Potter on the dance floor!
Every time we come together new friendships and connections build and things happen which mean local older people will get more chances to be artistic, to spend time with Ness, to meet up with the Brownies and Guides. But what really matters is that our community grows, becomes more welcoming and inclusive. That’s what make life sweet. Very pertinent in the week that the Scottish Parliament launched its report on Social Isolation. See my blog about that soon.
There’s more to come and we can do so much mire if we had transport and could do events and gatherings more often…. watch this space!
Here’s to fun and friendship!