Dumfries & Galloway

Telling Older People’s Stories (2023-24)

Thanks to funding from the Dumfries & Galloway Regional Arts Fund AV has been able to continue some activities in the region this autumn and winter.


Our first session took us back to Eskdalemuir Community Hub, where Catherine Urquhart facilitated Writing about Ageing in Haiku on 28 October.

darts of autumn sun
set old tree ablaze
my heart sings

Marjorie Wilson

Participants read a selection of haiku on the theme of ageing and it’s relation to the change of the seasons, particularly autumn to winter. The rest of the session was spent crafting their own haikus, which you can read here.


Renita Boyle led sessions at Stranraer and Wigtownshire Dementia Resource Centre in Stranraer between November 2023 and March 2024. Each session focused around a woodland folk tale which Renita retold using gentle repetition and rhyme, and Makaton to encourage easy participation. Each session included a illustrated picture book, familiar old songs, a poem and a simple achievable craft activity. 

Renita aims to create a space where everyone (including the teller) can experience and enjoy community – ear to ear, eye to eye, heart to heart.

After one of the sessions, a carer gave their response.

“The approach was perfect – little things, little and often. The variety, level of stories and activities spot on – all presented beautifully. Everything was so tactile – always something to look at, touch, feel or make – from embossed paper trees to stencilled acorns. It was visual, bright, cheery, interesting. You even gave us story bags to remind us of the stories you told – filled with wee momentos to take into our lives. All enhanced with Makaton, emphasising keywords – so vitally important for those who are struggling to keep hold of words once so familiar.”

Telling Older People’s Stories (2022-23)

Telling Older People’s Stories was an Autumn Voices project taking place across Dumfries & Galloway from summer 2022 to spring 2023.

We worked in partnership with Alzheimer’s ScotlandAnnan Day CentreEskdalemuir Expressive Arts, and A’ the Airts, Sanquhar.

We offered workshops and other sessions led by a variety of artists, all with experience of working with older people.

Annan Day Centre

At Annan Day Centre, poet Stuart Paterson ran 5 sessions for the centre’s users in June and July 2022.

Please take some time to read their poems!

Eskdalemuir Community Hub

The Old School Café Bistro & Eskdalemuir Community Hub - sign in the foreground, building in background across the street

With Eskdalemuir Expressive Arts we ran four Saturday sessions at Eskdalemuir Community Hub:

A’ the Airts Community Art Centre

With A’ the Airts Community Art Centre in Sanquhar, we ran three sessions in November 2022 with florist Lynsey Burnett and artist Brigid Collins.

Stranraer & Wigtownshire Dementia Resource Centre

With Alzheimer’s Scotland we delivered four sessions at the Stranraer & Wigtownshire Dementia Resource Centre in February and March 2023 with photographer Nicola Stead.

Autumn Voices is grateful to Dumfries & Galloway Third Sector Interface Mental Health & Wellbeing Fund for financial support.

May 2023