By Aileen Longino, Chair of young@♥deeside and AVA Development Officer
young@♥deeside was established in 2018 to provide a network for older people in the rural communities of Aboyne Ballater and Braemar and their surrounding villages. The purpose of the network is to help reduce social isolation, connect communities and use existing and new services to provide a one stop shop for anyone over 50 years to access the clubs groups and events and get better connected with old and new friends!
The network which is run by a Steering group of volunteer professionals and community workers meets regularly. After an initial round of focus groups in Aboyne Ballater and Braemar in April 2018 our members identified theme common strands of interest namely:- Healthy Lifestyle, Creative Arts and Third Age Learning. We had a great creative process for these events with local artist Mel Shand completing a drawing encapsulating faces and comments for these three events.
Information was collated from these events and helped form our event which took place in January 2019 on the snowiest day of the year! We held our New Year, New You event in Aboyne and invited all our members via social media, press, local community magazines, post and our website to attend. Many brought along friends or neighbours to try out a range of taster sessions we provided by professionals including Indian Head Massage, Guided Walks (in the snow!), Reflexology, Music and Movement, Feel Good Crafts. STEPS to Excellence run by CLD. We had a large number of very keen members who signed up for our E-Bike sessions but unfortunately due to the weather we postponed this until warmer days. Feedback from this event was excellent and many have signed up for more sessions and expressed an interest in languages and music classes too.
We have managed to establish our website www.youngatheartdeeside.org.uk where we post photos and information. We have been lucky to date to gain some small funding but ideally we are now looking to recruit a part-time Network Coordinator to expand the network further and to deliver on our programme of workshops and build on our Discount Scheme. Funding applications are ongoing for this. We want to link in with existing events like the Health and Wellbeing Festival in May.
The network is growing in size everyday, and we have members from Lumphanan up to Braemar. Already new friendships are being forged and members are always very keen to try out something new. We involve local existing groups and organisations like the Aboyne and Mid Deeside Community Shed, Deeside Macular Society and One To One Counselling and are always very happy to come and do talks and speak to groups to spread the word.
Membership is easy peasy, it's free and all you have to do is email us at firstname.lastname@example.org check us out on Facebook youngatheartdeeside
Or look at our website www.youngatheartdeeside.org.uk