Reflecting on Fun & Memories Hub

With our Fun and Memories Hub project ending in December 2018, I wanted to reflect on what we’ve achieved during the 9 months the project ran.

Activities at The Boswell Centre

Over the Summer Holidays, we held Auchinleck Summer Playscheme at The Boswell Centre. Weekly themed activities for children covered a diverse range of topics including space, reducing waste and circus skills. Each child had a Summer Playscheme Passport and received a stamp for each activity they participated in, giving them a sense of achievement. The children were put into 2 teams – one team called themselves ‘Team Talbot’ whilst the other called themselves ‘The Aliens’.

Throughout the year, we had three ‘seasonal’ discos: Easter, Hallowe’en and Christmas. We had an amazing turnout for the Hallowe’en Disco with 101 children coming along, all in wonderful costumes.

Our Volunteers

Volunteers lent a hand throughout the project; ensuring activities ran smoothly. Volunteers increased their skills and knowledge by taking part in First Aid and Promoting Positive Mental Health training courses.

Young volunteers also worked towards their Saltire Award, recording hours and showing their ongoing commitment to their role. I also had the pleasure of taking 2 of my young volunteers to the #ScotArt Ayrshire Workshop in Irvine where we selected a symbol to represent Ayrshire at the Hogmanay ceremony in Edinburgh. We then made wicker-and-wire saltire hearts.

I also asked our team of volunteers to think about how volunteering made a positive impact on their lives at our ‘Volunteering Lights Up My Life’ event.

Working with Local Schools

During the project, I had the privilege of working with some pupils from local schools.

 Part of the project was to look back on the past of Auchinleck. I had the pleasure of working with the P6/7 class of Auchinleck Primary School to dramatise stories from the lives of the residents of Pennylands Camp in the 1940s. The children did a great job at converting the stories they heard on the Cumnock History Group website into scripts then rehearsing these plays. They then performed to their friends and family at The Boswell Centre.

Having worked with the primary school on that project, I moved on to working with two S1 art classes at Auchinleck Academy. There we created twelve pieces of artwork to represent the Twelve Days of Christmas. These were displayed around Auchinleck during the month of December. It was wonderful to see the pupil’s creativity and great imagination!

Funding

The funding for this project was provided by East Ayrshire Council. This is the perfect opportunity for me to thank everyone who voted for us at the Young People’s Participatory Budgeting events in Cumnock and Drongan in March, where I had a stall. Without your support, these events and activities would not have been possible.

Volunteering Lights Up My Life: Winter 2018

Volunteers from ACDI got together on Thursday 29th November 2018 to work on a project which would add some light to the darkness – both literally and metaphorically!

Working in pairs, there was uncertainty about how the lanterns would turn out. Soon, however, from a pile of willow, structures for the lanterns emerged thanks to their handiwork.

We then took a break to discuss the positive impact volunteering has on the team before covering the lanterns in tissue paper – a very messy process! As we ran out of time, we finished the lanterns on Thursday 20th December before the Christmas Disco.

Jack shows off the finished moon lantern.


Volunteering & Kindness

We had some great conversations during the break. Responses included:

  • Volunteering lights up my life by seeing all the happy faces on the people I help.
  • Volunteering lights up my life by helping me to talk to groups of people without getting nervous.
  • Volunteering lights up my life by giving me confidence in social situations.
  • Volunteering lights up my life by giving me the opportunity to meet new people.
  • Volunteering lights up my life by being able to make people smile.

Volunteering has increased each volunteers self-confidence and they enjoy making a difference in their community. We keep track of each volunteer’s development at supervision sessions to ensure they get the support they need to make they impact they want. Giving time to help out in the community by volunteering is a kind thing to do; it allows you to build connections with people. Following on from hearing about what kindness means to ACDI’s employees, I asked volunteers for their thoughts. Responses from staff and volunteers included:

  • Kindness means treating people with respect and making sure you listen.
  • Kindness means helping someone in need.
  • Kindness means support.
  • Kindness means pausing to think about the consequences.
  • Kindness means helping others in need.
  • Kindness means showing people they matter.
  • Kindness means being polite and showing people respect.
  • Kindness means being a friendly person and helping out when you can.
  • Kindness means supporting others and helping others.
  • Kindness means respecting everyone.
  • Kindness means just being there.
  • Kindness means inclusion and open-mindedness.

The diverse range of responses show just how complex the concept of kindness is – something I’m exploring in more depth as part of the Kindness Innovation Network.

As a Volunteer Friendly organisation, we ensure that our volunteers are recognised for the contribution they make to the organisation and the wider community. At this event, it gave me great pleasure to present three Saltire Award certificates, Jack with his 50 hours, Logann with her 25 hours and Sarah with her 10 hours. Volunteers also received certificates from the Promoting Positive Mental Health course we participated in earlier in the year.

Click the thumbnails below to view the photos:

On the subject of kindness – I’d like to send some gratitude. Firstly, for the funding that allowed this to happen – thanks go to East Ayrshire Council and the members of the public who voted for us at the marketplace. Secondly, to Eden Project Communities for the inspiration. Thirdly to everyone at the Kindness Innovation Network for giving us these points to think about. And finally, to all the volunteers at ACDI – I’m so glad I will have the opportunity to continue to work with you during 2019!