On Friday we ran the very first ‘Valuing our skills’ session at Armley helping hands. We worked with Madeline from NDTI to put together a session that would allow people to identify what skills they have and create personalised profiles that can then be used as a plan as to how they can use those skills.
This session is vital in helping people realise their potential and making them feel like they are valued and useful members of society. The profiles we create can be used by the organisation hosting as an insight into how they can get their members involved in: hosting groups, facilitating sessions, assisting with caring and many more tasks.
On Friday we had thirteen lovely ladies from AHH’s health and wellbeing group who came in and joined us. After a tasty and healthy lunch from Age UK’s Arch Café we settled down to the first activity – ‘What was your proudest moment?’ Well these ladies really knocked this out of the park! We had one lady who was the Queen’s guard, another that learnt to drive at 50 and one who went back to university to study for a degree in later life.
We then moved onto identifying our skills in a group exercise. This was a great opportunity for the ladies to have some in depth conversations about what they can do or what they could do and perhaps could revisit now. At the end we had a whole pile of skills cards that the group could do. It was amazing to see how talented the ladies were.
Onto our profiles. These gave a fantastic insight into the people writing them and threw up some excellent quotes. The profiles also let the members think about what could potentially prevent them from using their skills. This was really interesting as it shows why some older people feel that they can’t get involved:
‘To help me I want to be shown what to do and not be told. To allow me to do things independently I need people to speak to my face, not behind my back because of my deafness’
‘People get the impression that because we are older- we are not capable. We ARE capable and people need to up their expectations of us’
This valuing skills session was a brilliant mix of positivity, sharing ideas and conversation. This was a group of ladies who can get involved and want to. They’re absolutely right – people do need to up their expectations. These ladies are mostly in their 80’s but they aren’t frail old people. They’re people who have lived full and complex lives and can use the skills and experiences they’ve had to add back into their community. As one lady so eloquently put it:
‘There may be snow on the volcano but the fire’s not out’
Time to Shine can run this session for free across Leeds. If you’re interested in getting involved please contact Hanna at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a date to come out.