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Roar - Connections For Life are our latest ambassador organisation

Our latest Paisley 2021 Ambassador Organisation of the Week is Roar (Reaching Older Adults in Renfrewshire) – Connections For Life. Based in the west end of Paisley, Roar provides preventative, health and wellbeing services for older people through the development of community opportunities.

Roar - Connections For Life are our latest ambassador organisation

Roar- Connections For Life, who have recently won the Innovation Partnership of the Year award from Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq5pDysG9C0) has 10 clubs in 9 venues running throughout the week in Renfrewshire. Many of the clubs provide a healthy lunch at a small cost with a tailored health and wellbeing programme.

As well as a range of activities including ‘Craft Café’, ‘Reels and Spiels’, ‘Mens Group’ and ‘Come Dine With Me’, Roar also offer a befriending service for older adults who are socially isolated and may have mobility or other disability issues.

The Paisley 2021 bid aims to be as inclusive as possible. This includes ensuring that we reach people of all ages and abilities .With local organisations like Roar supporting older adults in such an active and inspiring way, we were delighted to announce them as our Paisley 2021 ambassadors.

We spoke to Nicola Hanssen, General Manager at Roar about becoming Paisley 2021 ambassadors!

In what way does Paisley bidding to be UK City of Culture benefit your organisation?

Roar – Connections for Life Ltd works to connect lives and promote health and wellbeing in later life. ‘Why should we be interested in this 2021 bid if we won’t be here by then?' was the cry that went up when we took the information around the clubs. ’All the more reason to capture your thoughts and memories now so they can be preserved!' was our answer. The bid and the process of the bid has created new opportunities to explore with people what culture is and to stimulate conversations that would never have been raised without this momentum of activity. It has also created new opportunities to work in partnership with organisations that we wouldn’t have worked with before. We are very positive that Roar can benefit the bid through capturing the living history of our members. We believe the surge in positivity and belief around the bid is a hugely beneficial process for Paisley and Renfrewshire. We are committed to the process and very optimistic about the outcome and legacy that will flow from it.

Why do you think Paisley has what it takes to be UK City of Culture? (From your experience as an organisation)                                  

We realise that its highly competitive but as Nelson Mandela said: "It always seems impossible until it's done." Roar – Connections for Life Ltd is just one small organisation that is punching well above its weight on the national stage through being recognised in social care innovation, national press and international connections. There are many much bigger companies, organisations and individuals who have even wider reach but it’s never all been pulled together before behind a shared goal. We feel that there is a Paisley energy that is being invigorated by focussing on what we could achieve rather than the pessimistic feelings that preceded the bid work.

How do you plan to use your new role as a Paisley 2021 Ambassador organisation?

We are a local point of access to information on the bid and an envoy - taking Paisley to Nanjing in China. Not sure I can top that in the near future.

Are there any future projects/ updates within you organisation that you could tell us about?

Artist Louis Skehal, who has worked on Roar projects over the past few years and built very good connections with many Roar members, is enabling the ‘Men’s Group’ to take photos and write a piece about why their selected building is important to them. There have been some very poignant moments with a visit by one member to a farm that he had worked on as a young man and his joy on reconnecting with the place.

Alan Johnston is a local retired business man and historian who is researching and capturing local cultures from the work places such as Skittery Winter traditions. He will be gathering and collating stories from Roar members.

Roar – Connections for Life are also bidding for funding for an exciting project bringing virtual reality into people’s homes so that they can have the opportunity to connect with some of the exhibitions and festivities surrounding the Paisley 2021 bid. The longer term plan would be to create a channel with bespoke content for the housebound.

If you want to keep up to date with all of the exciting goings on at our newest Paisley 2021 ambassador organisation, follow them on twitter @RoarCommunities or please visit: http://www.roarforlife.org/category/news/