Volunteers’ Week 2019: Stories from our Creative Ageing Volunteering programme

Tue 04th June 2019

It’s Volunteers’ Week 2019!

This also coincides with the end of our pilot Creative Ageing Volunteering Development Programme (CAV) – a project running in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire over the past year.

The project has involved recruiting creative volunteers from a wide range of disciplines to deliver arts workshops for older people in sheltered housing settings. Following a rich and detailed programme of training, 15 volunteers were placed within Craft Cafe workshops in Linwood, Paisley, Barrhead and Johnstone.

Volunteers’ Week has been the perfect opportunity to thank these volunteers for everything they have brought to the programme – hard work, creativity, imagination and compassion. Here on the blog, we highlight some of the inspirational stories coming out of the volunteers’ CAV experiences. Read on below!

The pilot has been a tremendous success, and – pending funding – we hope to be able to develop projects to build on CAV in the near future.


Luisa’s Story

“I’ve had a wonderful volunteering experience.”

My time with Impact Arts has been incredibly valuable. On a
personal level I feel a marked difference in my self-confidence; it now sits
more in line with my ambitions for my own creative practice, as well as running
my own workshops in the future.

This confidence was cultivated through a supportive and
informative environment. My training felt thorough and a good mix of practical
and theoretical learning. I learned what my role was as a volunteer and what
community arts entails. I also learned step-by-step how to structure a block of
workshops, accounting for everything from individual materials required each
week, to calculating the length of each session and outlining aims.

I felt well-supported, and found it beneficial having Impact
Arts creative staff on hand. They offered guidance, encouragement, and
positive, constructive feedback. It’s been refreshing being surrounded by
artists of different backgrounds and having the opportunity to learn new
creative skills myself.

Overall I’ve had a wonderful volunteering experience and
can’t recommend Impact Arts enough to anybody interested in community arts!


Lucia’s Story

“It’s been life-changing.”

It’s been a really positive experience. I was quite scared
at first, but I’ve gained loads of confidence. I’ve found that I can contribute
to a workshop environment through being friendly and approachable and able to
give clear instructions. I feel more organised and trained in delivering to the
community. It complements what I am doing at college.

The programme has really exceeded my expectations and I’ve
surprised myself by being able to stick it out and feel I have something
contribute. I’ve got to know new like-minded creative people, built new
networks and gained hands-on creative experience.

I got involved because I was interested in community work
but lacked experience. This has been a good stepping stone – a step forward in
where I want to go in my career.

I’d like to thank everyone – the older people and the staff
at Impact Arts. It’s been life-changing.


Lia’s Story

“It has been a beautiful experience.”

I enjoy delivering activities because its fun and people
enjoy it. I have learned that every member is different and have specialised
needs, approaches and desires. I help them to express themselves, explore, have
fun and enjoy activities, show them that to be creative isn’t necessarily being
an artist.

Volunteering has encouraged me to do what I like, pursue my
dreams and build my confidence. I have been surprised to see how much the
members have enjoyed it and they are surprised to see their own achievements.

I have taken away that I have potential in my way of seeing
creativity and expression; I would volunteer with older people again for sure!
It has been a wonderful experience that’s let me appreciate my skills and


Mhairi’s Story

“I didn’t realise just how much I would get in return and
how much I would learn from this experience, or how much fun we would have.”

I wanted to get back into doing something creative as I
hadn’t had the opportunity since graduating from art school and I wanted to be
involved in a longer term volunteering programme so that I could really get to
know the members of the workshops and work with them doing something that they

I have really enjoyed working with all of the older people
and having fun while creating art with them. I support and encourage other
people, and I feel that this makes a difference to them. The part I have
enjoyed the most has been seeing their confidence in their abilities grow with
each class and each technique they were taught. I was really surprised at how
confident the members became when trying new things and embracing the

As we get older it is easy to lose your confidence when it
comes to learning new skills, but we are never too old to learn. The fact that
the members grew so much in confidence and embraced the learning experience
taught me that it’s never too late to try new things.

I have gained confidence in my teaching abilities as,
although I had worked with older people before it wasn’t within this type of a
workshop where you had everyone doing different things. Having the experience
of switching between different things has been great. My expectations have been
surpassed, as I didn’t think everyone would get as involved in all the different
workshops and be as excited about them as we were! All of the members were

Volunteering has been such an amazing opportunity. It is
such a rewarding thing to do and it’s mutually beneficial for both the
volunteers and the members. I have learned a lot about myself, and how to
communicate my ideas. The members have learned lots of new skills that I know
they had fun learning and I had fun teaching.



The CAV programme has been funded through the Scottish Government’s Aspiring Communities fund and the European Social Fund, which invaluable support and partnership from Linstone Housing, Barrhead Housing Association, Engage Renfrewshire and Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire.

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