On Thursday 12th October, SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, visited Anam Cara, a dementia respite centre in North Ayrshire, to experience their inspirational inter-generational work first hand.

The visit followed on from a Holyrood debate back in September on the importance of intergenerational volunteering and collaboration. Intergenerational volunteering is when young and older people volunteer to get together, taking part in activities, programmes and projects. It is well recognised as having a mutually beneficial impact on each generation, in particular, reducing isolation amongst older people and resulting in a renewed sense of worth.

Speaking in the debate, Ruth took the opportunity to highlight the inspiring work of Anam Cara, which strongly recognises the positive impact that inter-generational activities have on the well-being of their guests – and has forged strong links with local schools, such as St Bridget’s nursery school and primary.

MSPs speaking in the debate also praised the work of the national charity, Generations Working Together (GWT), which provides information, delivers support, and encourages involvement to benefit all of Scotland’s generations, by working, learning, volunteering and living together.

As a result of the debate, Anam Cara has now become a member of a Generations Working Together local network and is drawing on the support and training provided by the organisation.

During her visit to Anam Cara, Ruth helped out with the annual intergenerational quiz and presented the winners with their trophy.

Commenting, Ruth said:

“Anam Cara’s rich and diverse inter-generational projects underline the mutual benefits to the children and the guests of working together and how it enhances their health and well-being.

It was a pleasure to visit the centre and experience first hand the joy brought to the guests and the children by their time spent together. I am grateful to Anam Cara for having me to visit and for allowing me to share in their annual intergenerational quiz.

I am also delighted to have been able to link up Anam Cara with Generations Working Together, and wish them both every success going forward.”

Clare Mills, Manager of Anam Cara, said:

“Since 2014 Anam Cara has recognised the importance of intergenerational work in enhancing the lives of those people living with dementia.

Having St. Bridget’s Early Years Centre visit us weekly to join in our meaningful activities which includes singing, movement and exchanging knowledge and skills.

Our guests who visit us for short respite breaks say this is the highlight of their stay. As quizzes are a favourite of our guests we decided to hold an annual intergenerational quiz – with questions about the past and the present as well as extra points for singing and dancing.

We were delighted to have Ruth Maguire MSP present the trophy and put us in touch with Generations Working Together. Intergenerational engagement, from our 4th, 5th, and 6th year school volunteers, work placement students, and our EYC and Modern Apprentices all contribute greatly to the success of Anam Cara.

With the help of Generations Working Together, we will be able to embed this vital collaboration into social care enhancing people with dementia’s well-being and passing on their skills to our younger generations.”

Kate Samuels of Generations Working Together, added:

“It was great to see Ruth Maguire participating in the intergenerational quiz. These take place all over Scotland and are a fantastic way for generations to connect and learn together.

We are pleased that Ruth has highlighted the centre’s intergenerational projects by speaking in the recent debate on intergenerational work and encourage all MSPs to get in touch with projects in their areas.”