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January 25, 2017

Wisdom of our elders

There are many cultures around the world where elders are revered and the prospect of increased life expectancy is a cause for celebration. But whenever our country’s demographics are discussed, it’s usually accompanied by fearful predictions of the collapse of our health and social care systems. Our elderly are generally perceived to be a burden on society. Many people are working hard to change this. A new project in rural Scotland and Wales will look to draw upon the wisdom of older people so that their voice and experience can be properly valued.


Outside the Box

We’re delighted to have received the news that The Big Lottery Fund will be supporting our project to develop the ways rural areas work well for older people.  The project will run over 5 years and the total grant is £975,370.

This is a partnership project between Outside the Box, Volunteering Matters Cymru and National Development Team for inclusion

The project came from people telling us that living in a rural area raises a whole raft of particular issues for people as they get older as well as opportunities for older people to contribute to their communities.  We realised that much of the work around the UK – and the rest of the world – to make places more older-people friendly is focussed on towns and cities. We wanted to add the ideas from people living in rural communities to those developments.

Over the next 5 years the Rural Wisdom project will work with people in Scotland and Wales to address these issues and learn from each other.  We will be sharing what we are doing and learning with more people from across the UK.  Our aim is that rural communities across the country are working as well as they can be for older people.

Over the last year, we have been talking to people in a few areas in Scotland and Wales to find out more about what the issues are for older people living in rural areas and to look at how we can link with people in other places who are interested in similar issues. Read a short summary of what we’ve learnt so far.

We’re very excited about being able to move this work forward: building on what we’re hearing, having more conversations and starting to develop these learning points into practical action which will make a real difference to the lives of older people and the sustainability of our rural communities.

Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn said:

“The Rural Wisdom project will ensure that older people in both Scotland and Wales will have their voices heard about things which matter most to them. It is a great example of how National Lottery funding can make a real difference to people’s lives and specifically the lives of older people living in rural communities. We were very impressed with the partnership approach embedded in this application and how this will also help inform learning from the project. I am sure that it will bring many benefits to those involved, including boosting confidence and skills and empowering older people to participate in and shape activities within their local areas.”

Pat Scrutton, Chair of Outside the Box, said:

“We are very pleased to receive this grant form the Big Lottery Fund and to be part of their programme to take forward the ways our society includes and supports older people.  We are looking forward to working alongside older people, our partners and other people across the UK who want to create more opportunities for older people to be part of shaping our communities.”