Glasgow pupils help tackle loneliness at Bield Retirement Development

Published in Scottish Housing News

A group of pupils from Glasgow have been helping to combat loneliness and isolation in their community by donating their time at a local retirement development.

Third year students from St Andrew’s High School MCR Pathways Programme have been lending a hand at Bield’s Coxton Gardens as part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

With the support of Bield’s volunteer team, the sessions have so far seen students chatting and getting to know tenants, as well as taking part in more traditional games such as bingo.

Jean Monteith, retirement housing manager at Bield’s Coxton Gardens, said:

“It’s been great having the pupils from St Andrew’s High School visit the development.

“On top of their camping trips, the group were looking for ways to give back to the community in order to complete their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

“Although they have only been volunteering their time here since February, their visits have really had an impact on the tenants. A few have actually been quite sad when students have had to miss a week.

“So far bingo has been a very popular activity for both, with tenants having to teach the young ones the rules. It will come in handy as a form of entertainment when they have to disconnect from their phones on their camping trips.

“We are also planning on sprucing up the development garden in time for summer and the students and service users will work together to create some colourful hand painted plant pots.

“It’s been a great social opportunity for them so far and has given both pupils and tenants the chance to teach each other new skills and form friendships.”

As part of its volunteer strategy to work with local communities, Bield is collaborating with both the pupils at St Andrew’s High and MCR Pathways, a Scottish charity that provides support and mentoring to disadvantaged young people in Glasgow.

Lisa Murphy, MCR Pathways coordinator, said: “The students started their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in September last year and have been working hard to complete the four sections – which include physical, skill, volunteering and expedition.

“As well as volunteering their time at Coxton Gardens, the group has already completed heart start sessions and a practice run for our expedition. However, we still need to do our qualifier on 16th and 17th May.

“It has been fantastic to team up with Coxton Gardens as the students have gotten valuable volunteering experience, and the visits have also helped bring many out of their shell.”

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