“Different and better conversations”

The second in a series of blog posts is with Anne Connor who is the Chief Executive of Outside the Box, a third sector organisation which provides independent development support to groups and people across Scotland who want to make a difference within their communities.   When I spoke to Anne she succinctly summed up her experience of u.lab for me by saying it’s about “having different and better conversations”.  In the video below she talks in more detail about some of these conversations which have been around the topic of older people in communities, the theme for the hub which she was involved in.

To hear more about Anne’s experience, including Outside the Box’s prototypes on Happiness Cafes, the feeling of community within u.lab and the “wonderful” people she has met through her involvement with it, please watch the video below.

Next week, we’ll hear from a coaching circle in Glasgow, all from different organisations, who will talk of the impact u.Lab has had on them, particularly using the coaching circle, or case clinic, tool.

As part of their work creating different solutions for problems encountered by older people in the community, Outside the Box have been looking at the issue of older people who are not eating properly and speaking to people who live with dementia, their families and to other older people who have added health problems about this.  This can happen for a variety of reasons and often the solution is public services being brought in to help, with someone else cooking for the person.  In some cases this works well but it is not a solution for everyone.  By going deeper and trying to understand more about the problem through their conversations, those they spoke with told them of the pleasures of cooking and enjoying food that they would like to retain or rediscover.  They described the importance of having choices and continuing to make decisions about what and when they ate, and what it is like when the food they need is not the same as for other people and families.

From that, Outside the Box have been exploring ways to enable people to cook for themselves for longer, to find foods that work well for their needs, and to continue to enjoy eating with other people. As they look for sustainable solutions to the problem they have two prototypes.   They have started two Food Buddies projects in the Scottish Borders and Falkirk and are working with people to develop activities that are based on peer support, such as cooking classes for people who do not feel confident, taster sessions for foods that work better when people’s sense of taste changes, and looking for cafes and food retailers who want to be dementia-friendly.

They have also just launched their first resource, a set of tips and recipes to make it easier for people living with dementia and for other older people over the winter.  You can read these and find out more here.

If you would like any further details around the work of Outside the Box or Anne’s experience of u.lab she can be contacted on anne@otbds.org or see their website at http://otbds.org/.


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