Making Happy Connections

We’d like to thank everyone who came along to our Making Happy Connections workshop. The workshop brought together an exciting, diverse group, from education, law, community banks, social work, health care and transport, all of whom want to help connect people to their communities. We were joined by professionals who may encounter those vulnerable to loneliness and isolation as they go through significant life changes. We were also joined by members of the community who are actively involved with different groups in the local area and have existing social networks that people could join. There was a great energy amongst the group and a willingness to share, learn and do things differently.

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We know that at different points in our lives, particularly around big life changes, we can be more vulnerable to becoming lonely or isolated. Whether it’s recovering from addiction, the death of a loved one, moving to a new town, leaving work or any change that overhauls our status quo, we can find ourselves in an unfamiliar environment where the support network we once knew has shifted drastically. During the workshop, we explored the real life experiences of these changes using empathy maps. Considering what people may be thinking, seeing, doing, hearing and saying throughout a significant life change, we were able to paint a fuller picture of what the experience of loneliness can be like. We found that despite each situation being unique, the emotional experiences were remarkably similar across all these transitions.


Through our conversations, we were able to identify problems and opportunities. We talked about what we can all do now to help connect people to their community as well as how we could do things differently in the future. Whilst we know there is plenty going on in Ayr North, many events and activities are advertised through the same channels every time and via established networks. This means these activities often fail to reach everyone within the community and rarely bring along new faces.


Moving forward, we will explore how we can better share what’s going on locally and how we might make these events as inclusive as possible. Tomorrow’s Older People will continue to develop our Community Calendar and think about how we might use different approaches to invite new people into our networks. We know even the smallest personal gestures can hold a special value when someone may be feeling low, and these can be used to encourage people to take part and connect.


The group have now become part of a shared network through our address book. The workshop has given us all an opportunity to extend our own networks and make new connections.

We hope that we can further encourage this kind of organic growth and look forward to working with you all in the new year.

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#AyrCoLab Gathering 1

It was good to welcome you to the first Tomorrow’s Older People workshop at the Ayr United Ground on Thursday 30th August. This is the first of many gatherings we’ll host over the next 18 months. Tomorrow’s Older People aims to connect local people, organisations and groups with an interest in reducing loneliness and supporting everyone to have a happy older age. We are not here to ‘provide a service’ and leave: instead, we are here to make the connections between people who want to make a difference, and where there’s the will to change things for the better, we will help get things started.


At the meeting, people shared their own personal stories and those of family and friends. We had different perspectives and there were times where it felt like we were all speaking different languages! But we shared a wish to help connect people and work our way through the barriers and challenges together. Talking helps us to get to know one another, share ideas and learn to trust one another a bit more. Hearing different people’s views on what works and what doesn’t helps us to see things differently. And, before we do things differently, we need to see things differently. Nonetheless, nothing changes unless we change what we’re doing and sometimes the best thing to do is just get started and see what happens. So, in our groups, we decided where we could make a start.

The Tomorrow’s Older People team will help get things going and help to gather what we learn along the way. Then, we’ll get back together again and see where we need to go next!


#EastRenCoLab Gathering 1

Thank you for participating in the first East Renfrewshire Tommorrow’s Older People gathering. It was great to see everyone, to hear the thoughtful conversation and feel the energy and passion for making things better for people in

East Ren. Thanks also to those who came from outside the area to share their experience and ideas. Taking part were people from community groups and organisations, private businesses, social enterprises, interested members of the community, public sector officers and councillors.

Tomorrow’s Older People is different from many third-sector initiatives: We have not been funded to run a service for a couple of years or until the funding runs out. Tomorrow’s Older People aims to support local people and organisations to work differently together,

to combine skills, knowledge, ideas and resources to make a greater, sustainable social impact. We’re interested in getting people to think about their older age and get involved in making changes now for a happy and connected life as they get older.

We’ve been out and about, talking to people about older age and gaining insights into what can lead people to become lonely or isolated.

They’ve told us that it can be difficult to make new friends as they get older, that life events like having children, divorce, moving home and bereavement can lead to loneliness. Talking to tomorrow’s older people, those in their 40s, 50s and 60s, there was general agreement that in their older age, they didn’t want what is available now. Experience of current services, perhaps through looking after older parents, reinforced this view. These insights got our discussion started.

We talked about the things we knew about that are working well and things that need to be worked on and improved. Our aim is to collaborate to make a difference together.

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East Renfrewshire Carers Strategy: Cafe Conversation


On the 20th of April the Care Collective held our first Café Conversation in Barrhead.  Nearly 40 people came together to talk about how we support carers better.  

Through a series of small group discussions, we explored three questions:

  • What does ‘care’ mean to you?

  • What might help you to take better care?

  • How might we work better together in East Ren to take better care of each other?

A full summary of themes that came up through these discussions can be read by clicking the download PDF button below.  

Perhaps these topics and opinions will sound familiar to you?  Or maybe your experience is quite different? Let us know what you think

We all know someone who cares for a loved one, perhaps in the short term to get over ill health, or maybe as a permanent feature of their family life.  Why not give them a bit of your time and ask them how they’re doing?  Open conversation will help end the stigma and connect people to support when they need it.  It’s good to talk.

We want to keep the conversation going.  If you would like to host a Conversation Café or get involved with the Care Collective, please get in touch and we will help you to make it happen.