Cornwall Works
Cornwall Works 50+ and 50+ Cares - Sarah's Page

Cornwall Works 50+ and 50+ Cares is a programme comprised of individual innovation projects.  In following the development of the programme, I – Sarah Yeoman, a 20 year old student – will be the summer reporter for the programme.  I will be reviewing the different innovation projects, taking photos and interviewing the participants as the projects take place.  This will offer a young adult’s and ‘outsider’s’ point of view on the running of the projects, so keep an eye on Twitter and this page for updates!

Smart Savings My first 50+ innovation project experience

So on the 6th July I attended my first innovation project of the Cornwall Works 50+ and 50+ Cares programme, for Smart Savings’ ‘Money Skills for Retail’.  So in I went armed with pen, paper and camera.  The project was different from how I had imagined. Having worked in retail myself and having had a rather tedious experience, I was expecting the session to be of similar content.  To me, the set up of the project was a role reversal.  Being a 20 year old student and having been in full-time education since the age of 4, you could say I am quite used to sitting in a classroom environment and being taught.  Through this time in education I have also been encouraged to confide in my lecturers and parents, the elder and the wiser, for any doubts or problems I may have in life.  So for me to see the participants, the same age as my oh-so-wise parents and lecturers, as the learners and the ones asking questions made me see things in a different light.  It opened me to a sense of adult vulnerability, and that it is okay for anyone to ask for help and learn from others, not matter what your age.  The session really opened my eyes to what exactly the 50+ programme is aiming to do.  Being offered support in your education and career is invaluable, no matter what your age!

Click here to find out more about Smart Savings, or here to visit the Smart Savings website.

My first experience with Menopause Self Care

An interesting title for a 20 year old, yes. And as weird as it may sound, I really enjoyed the session!  Isabella, the project leader, and the group were fun and interesting individuals to be around.  The discussion group allowed women to share their experiences, which I am a long way off, but changing hormonal levels and balancing stress happens to all women!  As the session was more of a how to look after your body in a healthy and natural way, and I am pro a healthy lifestyle, it was all very fascinating.  You could tell that the group of women felt connected and were open to sharing personal experiences, being able to help each other and offer advice.  It was nice to see that a group of women can still have girly chats over lunch and help out their friends offering advice.  Plus taking part in spit tests is always fun!  In testing your alkaline levels for a healthy body, it’s nice to have confirmation that you’re normal (in an alkaline sense).  The conversations became deep and meaningful, and it’s hard to describe really.  But myself, as well as the participating women, left with the feeling of being an empowered woman with a positive outlook on life and all its changes.  From a quiet entrance from the participants to ending with laughter and encouraged faces the project will definitely be a promising one.

Click here to find out more about Menopause Self Care, or here to visit the Menopause Self Care website.

Active Plus Active Mind

Today I attended the first session of Active Plus; it was nice to come in at the start of a project, so I was new along with everyone else.  I really had no idea what to expect, as learning and refreshing new skills is rather a loose term.  But again I enjoyed myself!  The practical problem solving activities reminded me very much of school or drama activities, which all work towards the same thing – group work.  Which I have learnt is always important whatever working or learning environment you’re in.  And it’s always good to have fun whilst developing skills too!  Although the youngest participant I think my mind was just as boggled as everyone else’s!  For me I found it particularly interesting speaking to the ex- forces members, learning of their experiences such as soldiers going deaf from the bombings and then having to communicate through sign-language when in action.  The only war or forces experience I have encountered is through films or books so to meet people involved is fascinating.  I never realised how much it can affect someone afterwards, for example with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and how you are then constantly on edge and aware of your surroundings, which to an average civilian like me goes un-thought about.  This links into the 50+ project Surf Action, and I am now even keener to attend their sessions too.  From a quiet entrance from the participants to ending with laughter and encouraged faces the project will definitely be a promising one.

Click here to find out more about Active Plus.

Surf Action on Film

Today’s Surf Action session had the BBC come to film footage for the Lottery Funded People’s Millions award for ‘Best Health Project’, so for my first experience of Surf Action it was pretty exciting, especially being a BBC fan and a beach fan! But the real excitement was the people.  Since starting on the Cornwall Works 50+ project I have heard constant good things about Surf Action, and now I know why!  Both the project leaders and participants have a strong connection, everyone is so happy to be there, you instantly walk into a welcoming and positive atmosphere.  Following on from Active Plus it was great to hear from more combat veterans about their experiences - one fairly new participant, in his time in the forces had dived underwater in the Falklands to change the memorial flag on the sea bed... these aren’t your everyday experiences which the veterans share with you!  And much more interesting than the stories my Grandparents told me.  It was so nice to see how willing participants were to open up and share their stories with me, even though I was a new face and would be writing about them.  Everyone was keen not just to work at improving their own lives, but other people’s too.  I can imagine the sessions getting highly emotional at times, sharing stories, experiences and difficulties.

Click here to find out more about Surf Action, or here to visit the Surf Action website.

Active Plus - Take 2

Today was my first follow up for Active Plus. Straight away the group seemed to have a tighter bond and be happy in socialising with each other. It was so nice to see how many individuals have developed and are genuinely enjoying their time with Active Plus. It’s the little things you tend to notice, one participant’s body language was more relaxed, until a guest speaker came in and instantly she presented herself as defensive once again when there was a stranger present. There was also a positive change in the combat veterans, Ali went off for the job interview and Jon was definitely coming out of his shell more and happy to take the lead, little changes were noticeable with things like taking off his sunglasses and having shaved, not needing to hide behind these comforts anymore. It was interesting to hear about the benefits of volunteer work, as I take part in quite a bit of volunteer work myself and hope it will lead to stronger employability possibilities. However I again found the stories the most interesting part, both Jon and Tim shared personal experiences of being in the military and the fire brigade, and I found myself engrossed in what they had to say, listening to first-hand and such personal stories makes it a lot more real! I would have been content in listening to them for the whole session! Both the 50+ participants and the combat veterans are helping each other to achieve their goals.

Click here to find out more about Active Plus.

Truro Well Being Centre

Today was the first meeting for the organisations of the newly launched Truro Well Being Centre. The meeting allowed people to hear about the various participating organisations and aims for the centre. Attending the project was very different to the others I have been to so far which have been 50+ projects, instead of jumping into problem solving or hearing about participants’ experiences we were sat round a table at a meeting. It was strange to only meet the people behind the scenes of the organisations and projects, rather than the participants who experience the outcome first hand and who I usually spend most of the time with. It was interesting to hear about the initial developments of a project before it has been put into practice, and how rather than being just one person’s idea it involves a collaboration of local organisations to run the informative project and to benefit the community, taking a unique and individual style. The centre promises to be a useful resource for the local community to utilize. Watch this space!

Click here to find out more about Truro Well Being Centre.

Active Plus fights fires!

Active Plus’ trip to Truro Fire Station was an engaging experience! I don’t think myself or the participants realised just how physically fit you need to be to fight in the fire brigade! Tim told us about the recruitment training process – you are tested physically, having to run out fire hoses numerous times consecutively, you are tested in dealing with heights, having to climb a ladder tower, link your legs through and lean down and you are also tested in dealing with claustrophobia, having to train in small and dark places. And having to do it all in the heavy uniform makes is that much more demanding! However the participants were tested in a different way. Running out the fire hoses and using the hydrants allowed participants to test physical fitness but also develop skills in working together quickly and efficiently under time constraints. The rescue training built communication skills, both verbal and physical being vital, along with building self confidence and responsibility skills to get themselves and fellow group members through the training task safely. You really rely on your team mates to help you when your sight is taken from you, which usually makes up around 70% of your senses reliance... therefore communication and trust are key! Through tackling activities from the dangerously demanding training Active Plus members were unknowingly developing crucial working skills, not just for within the fire service but for any working environment, whilst having a good laugh at the same time of course! Each member overcame any anxieties and completely engrossed themselves into the world of fire fighting!

Click here to find out more about Active Plus

Active Plus comes to an end

It was sad to see Active Plus come to an end today. Each week there has always been something new to be excited by. In following the project closely you find yourself becoming quite attached to the group and in observing individuals’ progression. Before the final presentation began Tim didn’t let us down with getting us to do a few final tasks, or ‘psychology tests’.  We were instructed to write down three animals and why we like them. When Tim read out what the meanings of your choices were, the first animal was to represent yourself, the second as how others see you and the third as the animal you really are. One participant wrote down a dog as her final animal, she related this back to her home-life and the fact that a dog represents loyalty and even though her and her husband have been through some tough times they have always stuck together. So it was nice that participants can see the relevance of the tasks and relate it back to themselves and their family life. During the presentation it was nice to see how people were coming out of their shells and sharing thoughts about the project, everyone was extremely positive and felt they have learned and gained from what the project had to offer. As an outside eye it was easy for me to see how far individuals had developed, including the combat veterans who even went up and spoke during the presentation in front of a group of people. The participants are motivated into being proactive within the community and want to continue to meet up weekly, proving the positive influence of the project. Through following Active Plus closely I have witnessed how a 50+ project can be so beneficial towards a diverse group of people, and I hope Tim is proud of the inspiring impact he has had upon each individual.

Click here to find out more about Active Plus.

Respect Cornwall Works 3rd September 2011

Cornwall Respect Festival was a great experience to be a part of. I had never been to the festival before and was surprised at just how popular it was and the diverse range of people it attracted. It made a nice change to be part of the event, rather than an outside eye looking in. Everyone was friendly and approachable and although working in organisations everyone was there to have a good time. The range of activities and entertainment meant that the public could be involved as well; bringing everyone together, even the Police officers joining in with the Cornwall Works game demonstrated the unity of the community. It was great to see such a mix of cultures being shared, whether it was through music, dance, food or the people, the multicultural strands of Cornwall were definitely united. Not only did we get to promote the qualities of Cornwall Works but have an enjoyable and educational day. Respect!

Beyond Active Plus - Helston Workclub

Having followed the Truro Active Plus project closely, it was great to see what can be achieved even after the initial project has finished. Having got to know the characters of the Truro group well and having joined them in their progression through the course, it was strange but fresh to observe a new and different group of people. Knowing how tightly knit the groups can become, I thought as an outsider joining them at a late stage members may not be very open to sharing personal accounts, but I was mistaken! The group were very welcoming with their constant buzz and laughter. In speaking to people based in a different area of Cornwall, primarily Helston and The Lizard, it was insightful to hear the issues they face with finding work compared to those in Truro. The session definitely gave me a realisation into the isolation that people living in rural areas of Cornwall face. Members were unable to travel due to time and money, one member having the nearest post-box over a mile away! Creating difficulties with searching for jobs left alone actually getting to and from work. It made Truro seem like the big city, taking for granted the ease and access to what’s available on your doorstep, and how different it can be just living a short distance away. However with the energy from characters such as these anything is possible! It was great to see the positive outcome from Active Plus; the group is relaxed and social but is made up of proactive individuals with goals, which is the best recipe to drive the work club forward!

Click here to find out more about Active Plus.

Visit to DISC - Autumn 2011

My visit to the Camborne Drop In and Share Centre proved to be very insightful. I was unsure of what exactly the project aimed to do and who it aimed to help, but visiting definitely brought this to life! The centre obviously attracts a varied range of people; even just from a few hours I could tell there was huge diversity between participants from all walks of life.

Although a 50+ project the centre welcomes all ages and is very much an intergenerational place, where all ages where chatting away and at the same time developing their social skills. I don’t think the centre would have the positive buzz about it if it wasn’t for the staff and support care workers. The enthusiasm and dedication is definitely what drives the centre forward and how it achieves its goals. It was great to hear about the range of participants which the centre works with, including a young woman who presents herself as very vulnerable, older people with memory issues, and people with physical and health issues. You can clearly see that the staff really do put all their time and energy into helping and supporting people in developing personal skills and giving them the confidence and support to do so, and later taking the first steps towards future employment. You definitely get the feeling that each individual who pops in is as important as the rest, and the warming, social atmosphere is always inviting to them.