The initial contact that led to this project started back in February 2019 when Westquarter and Redding Cricket Club (WRCC) were looking at ways to increase the number of volunteer coaches to support their growing junior section. Stephen Sutton from WRCC reached out to CVS and started a conversation with Lynsey Hansford (Development Officer - Improving Employability through Volunteering, CVS) about volunteer placements and opportunities for people not ready to join the workforce yet. The club completed the appropriate forms and underwent a Health and Safety review, but this initial contact come to nothing as the person identified by CVS then committed to other projects.

Over the next two years WRCC continued to grow their junior cricket programme and increase their provision of other community activities such as disability cricket and Try Something New, a group in conjunction with Alzheimer Scotland, providing activities for people living with dementia and their family carers.

 In 2019 the club were nominated for the Best Dementia Friendly Community Initiative by Alzheimer Scotland at the Scottish Dementia Awards.

From all the entries the group were selected as one of only three finalists and invited to attend the awards ceremony to help celebrate the achievements of those outstanding individuals, groups and organisations making a difference for people living with dementia and their families across health, social service, and community settings. Although the group did not win everyone was extremely proud of being chosen as a finalist in the group’s first year!

 TSN and Braes2

 

In early 2021 WRCC became Bailliefields Community Hub SCIO (BCH) to recognise the rise of community work and partnerships the club were doing with cricket still a large part of the new hub under WRCC.

During this same time Falkirk Council were running local meetings to gain knowledge and insight of local communities to help them better understand how their buildings – and the services provided in them – can meet community needs, now and in the future.

At one of these meetings in March 2021, which was discussing using schools more for activities, Stephen suggested working with schools to provide real world volunteering opportunities which struck a chord with Lynsey from CVS 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.

Lynsey suggested a meeting of all parties as WRCC also had strong links with Braes High School.  Both from supporting their Sports Leaders and having a lot of juniors attend the school as it is located close to the WRCC/BCH ground.

In September 2021 Karen Wright (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, probably Braes High 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.

At the end of September 2021 Karen (DYW), Lynsey (CVS) and Stephen (WRCC/BCH) met to discuss how to take this further. Everyone agreed it was a great idea and provided benefits to all parties involved.

Shortly after the school holidays Karen confirmed the good news that the DYW team at Braes High School (Tom Holt and Graeme Bell) would be delighted to meet with WRCC/BCH to explore in more detail some of the areas that had previously been discussed. Being close to the students Tom and Graeme obviously knew the type of engagement that would have most impact for their pupils and hopefully a partnership could be established for mutual benefit

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 are 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 fact, Tom and Graeme had already had interest from some Braes High School pupils keen to explore the Health Care opportunities previously discussed and they were keen to get the chance to work with people with dementia.  

In late October Stephen (WRCC/BCH) visited Braes High School to discuss this opportunity with Tom Holt which resulted in

  • Agreement that three senior pupils would volunteer during the Try Something New sessions on Monday 29th November and Monday 13th December
  • Contact Braes HS Faculty Head of English and Media, and Faculty Head of Technologies about developing further partnerships and creating promotional materials
  • Contact Braes HS Faculty Head of Health and Wellbeing about potentially arranging cricket coaching sessions and extracurricular opportunities

 TSN and Braes3

 

In early November 2021 all the paperwork for the work placements for the three S6 girls was completed, and they attended their first session on Monday 29th November 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. TSN and Braes4

 

The girls returned for their agreed second session on Monday 13th December 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.

The feedback was again fantastic with Stephen from WRCC/BCH contacting Iain Livingstone (Head of Braes High School) to commend the girls on their attitude and being a credit to the school.

“The girls from Braes High School at the dancing/curling day were very friendly and engaged with members of the dementia group by serving us refreshments and joining in with the activities.  I thought they gave a good account of themselves and represented their school very well.”

“It has been great fun having the pupils from Braes High School with us during our sessions. They are so keen to join in and learn something new with us. It seems to add a lot of enthusiasm to all concerned.”

“Good news about Braes High School. I think it has made a good difference to our sessions, having the young folk joining in and fitting in with us well. Such delightful girls and a great example of their generation. I hope they win the award. They deserve it. “
Try Something New group attendees

After these session CVS nominated the project for an Intergenerational Award and the project will be promoted as part of Global Intergenerational Week (25th April – 1st May) with Kerry Kennedy (Deputy Chief Executive Officer, CVS Falkirk) saying

Such a lovely email to receive on a Friday afternoon! The ‘Try Something New’ project itself is incredible and simply shows the role sport plays in enhancing the lives of those within the local community. However, this has been taken to another level by introducing the young volunteers from Braes HS and is an excellent example of how intergenerational work can create more cohesive communities which I hope can be replicated in other areas as Lynsey mentioned.

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 benefitting from the experience that they returned in February and March 2022, much to the delighted of the attendees.

Picture6TSN Picture7TSN

February 2022 Chair Yoga

February 2022 Petanque

Picture8TSN TSN and Braes1

March 2022 Tennis

 

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!

All parties involved in the project are rightly happy with the positive outcomes and benefits for all those involved.

“Building a strong community partnership with your local school should not be underestimated. Not only will you get to prepare and inspire school pupils to gain the skills they need for the world of work, but your business and members can also flourish. Young people can bring a different perspective with new ideas and may become your volunteers/employees of the future.  This partnership supports the Young Person’s Guarantee and is making a huge difference to everyone involved. We are looking forward to watching this partnership develop.”
Karen Wright, Programme Co-ordinator, DYW Forth Valley 

“It really is wonderful to hear these young volunteers have made such an impact and enriched the experience for the attendees.From our point of view, it’s really important to celebrate and promote the great work done here as I think this is a model that can easily be replicated with other HSs and local community organisations, allowing even more young people to benefit!”
Lynsey Hansford, Development Officer, CVS Falkirk 

“The opportunity to work with an Alzheimer’s based group really stood out to me as a fantastic opportunity for our young people, especially those who have an interest in the Healthcare and/or Social Care industry.
I hoped the young people would get valuable experience of working with this group which was very likely to be a rewarding experience for them, especially as they built relationships with the participants involved in the group. I also wanted them to represent the school, and their generation to break down any perceived barriers that may exist.
I was surprised how quickly they were able to build strong relationships with participants from the group and about how highly they spoke of the experience after the first session. It’s a great opportunity to work with a group of people you would otherwise not get the chance to work with. You will be in a very supportive environment which will allow you to develop numerous skills that are transferable to the working world. I am looking forward to developing this partnership further and look forward to more young people being involved with this group in the future”
Tom Holt (Pupil Support & PE Teacher, Braes High School)

“We have really enjoyed having Skye, Rachel and Ellie come and join us at our Try Something New group, which is a monthly physical activity group run by Westquarter and Redding Cricket Club and Alzheimer Scotland for people living with dementia and their family carers to attend. The girls have come along now to a few sessions and our members very much enjoy and look forward to their enthusiasm, encouragement, and team spirit that the girls bring to the group. I hope their work with us will be recognised at the intergenerational award as they would certainly be well deserving winners and are very much now established members at the Try Something New group!”
Justine Nicolson (Local Dementia Advisor, Alzheimer Scotland)

“We saw this as a great opportunity and something that we were all interested in. With one of us wanting to be a nurse, one a physio and the other work to work in science this was the perfect opportunity for us to expand our knowledge and experience which will further prepare us for our future careers where we will be working with a wide range of people with different needs. We hoped that we would be able to educate ourselves on Alzheimer’s and how it is managed and what affect it has on day-to-day life. This is something that we found very important and we’re very passionate about wanting to understand. This experience definitely helped our understanding of dementia as well as greatly improving our communication skills while building relationships.

We found that it was a great experience and something that we are extremely grateful to be able to be a part of and met so many nice people. This is something that we were meant to do twice but ended up going back multiple times due to how much we enjoyed it and how welcoming everyone from the group was.

We really enjoy doing a range of different activities and that each time we came in we were doing something different; by doing this we were able to become more adaptable in different settings and were able to bond, improve confidence and make the groups enjoy their day more. As well as have more fun ourselves trying a range of different activities while working with the group.

I would say to others that are taking part that it is a great opportunity for them to get involved that they will definitely enjoy especially those who are going into healthcare as it is so important to work with people that have different needs. This opportunity is a really eye-opening experience and allows you to work with a group of people and help you to become more adaptable and become more understanding.

We would like to say thank you to the group for having us and for how welcoming and friendly they all are. We learned so much from the experience and it has prepared us greatly for our future careers and we feel as if we have improved so many skills and as well as improved our understanding that we will use throughout.”
Rachel, Skye and Ellie (S6 Pupils, Braes High School)

“The road to get there took a while but even a Pandemic couldn’t derail the desire to offer meaningful experiences to the young people in our community and to help them prepare for their future careers. The success of this project has only spurred us on to promote this to other groups and schools as well as to increase the opportunities we can offer. We have now pledged our support to Young Person’s Guarantee and aim to support more people in a wider range of activities in the coming months.
Stephen Sutton (Chair & Trustee, Bailliefields Community Hub)

 

Written By
Stephen Sutton
Chair & Trustee, Bailliefields Community Hub

 With thanks to 

 CVS  DYW  BraesHS