The Galloway Gateway Pilot project launched in September 2016 and aimed to explore customers thoughts about differing activities, intergenerational working opportunities and partnership working models.
Following a consultation with customers and colleagues a number of great ideas were generated and actioned.
It focussed upon three Sheltered Developments in the West of Dumfries & Galloway; Millburn Court, Stranraer; Kirklea Place, Wigtown; and King’s Court, Castle Douglas.
The structure of the pilot was to deliver an activity for each of the three Sheltered Developments, one day per week, for a period of four weeks.
Due to the differing nature of the three developments, they were looked at individually to ensure that appropriate activities and local resources were taken into account. For example, only Millburn Court has communal areas in which customers can socialise.
King’s Court, Castle Douglas
Many of the activities at King’s Court were focussed upon the Community Centre at Castle Douglas where Let’s Get Sporty arranged a number of indoor and outdoor based activities. A special tour of Threave Gardens was also arranged, which introduced the gardens and many of the special plants. Customers at King’s Court expressed an interest in visiting the Red Kite feeding station in Laurieston, which was organised.
Kirklea Place, Wigtown
The activities organised for Kirklea Place were concentrated on outings to surrounding places of interest as suggested by the customers who were keen to experience new places and activities. Subsequently, trips to the Swallow Theatre, Sorbie; CatStrand Arts Centre, New Galloway; Gem Rock Museum, Creetown; and Millisle Farm, Garlieston were organised. Much to their enjoyment, the customers were able to take part in Let’s Get Sporty sessions, horse & carriage rides, art sessions and a film showing.
Millburn Court, Stranraer
From concept, through construction, to conservation; Millburn Court customers were able to help create a number of raised flower beds in the communal garden areas. With outings to Soleburn Garden Centre and Logan Botanic Gardens, a number of plants and ornaments were selected for WoodBlocx flower beds. Younger customers from Reston and Hope Place assisted in building the beds, ensuring that they were an appropriate height and size for customers to fully benefit from them.
Although centred around the raised flower beds, customers at Millburn Court were also able to participate in Let’s get Sporty sessions and healthy eating demonstrations by Stewartry & Wigtownshire Health Improvement Team.
Two Saturday events were planned to allow for any young customers with other commitments, such as education and training, to take part. Additionally, this gave the opportunity for all customers to meet and share experiences of the Galloway Gateway.
Furthermore, two key activities were also organised for older customers from all three developments and young people. The first activity was a trip to Culzean Castle, Ayr at which a guided tour was arranged. The second was a celebration day at Millburn Court, which brought together a range of partners, customers and colleagues, to celebrate the successes of the project.
The success of the pilot is echoed in the voices of the customers, colleagues and partners who participated:
“It helps bring people together, good for social interaction, spending time with others and combat loneliness.” - King’s Court customer.
“I enjoyed Culzean Castle very much as I had not been before”. – Kirklea Place customer.
“I really enjoy the raised flower beds, being able to smell the flowers and feel the soil.” – Millburn Court customer.
“I enjoyed talking to a lady who was knitting socks for her granddaughter. You definitely learn a lot by talking to older people.” – Reston customer.
“It has encouraged partnership working in particular with the health and wellbeing teams in Stewartry and Wigtownshire as well as other partners. We need to build on the learning and look at the next steps fairly soon to ensure that momentum is not lost.” - Stewartry Health & Social Care Partnership.
“Excellent session; very motivated staff; better understanding of issues in Stewartry” - Integration Joint Board Member.
A review of the pilot highlighted a number of learning points that should be considered ahead of future projects.
Partnership working is fundamental to the continued success and expansion of Galloway Gateway. Looking forward to the potential of projects within more populated areas, the building of robust working relationships is essential to generating sustainable opportunities within our region.
The geography and rurality of the region can pose a number of problems, including poor public transportation links, and many customers who do not have access to their own vehicles.
Weekday activities were found to conflict with prior training and educational commitments of younger customers, and also some of the more independent customers of Sheltered Developments.