Hello this is my first attempt at blogging!
My name’s Brian and together with my colleague Dominic we are co-ordinating The Countrymen’s Club. We have been in post for a month now and in that time we have been busy setting the project up.
If you haven’t already heard about The Countrymen’s Club it is a project which aims to support older men from rural communities to access care farming activities that help them to become more resilient to the life-changes they experience as a result of rural isolation and ageing.
Many of the older men we want to benefit from our project are not involved in other activities or services that are on offer in Dorset. So a lot of our work in the last month has focussed on identifying partners and friends of Future Roots who might be able to refer isolated older men to our project. We think it will be important for the project’s success to build a good network of referral partners. We are going to be sending out information about the project and the referral process to partners by the end of this week. Dominic and I have already been out to meet Sherborne 50 Plus Forum, Age Concern North Dorset, Dorset Age Partnership (West) and a community lunch.
The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, in association with the Daily Mail and we have been working with Dr Andy Mayers from Bournemouth University to develop an evaluation process to capture the differences older men experience by reconnecting with their past, farming and the countryside. A special thanks to Philip and John, two of our countrymen, who have been helping us develop our evaluation.
Our first few sessions have gone very well and many of the countrymen have enjoyed reminiscing about their lifetimes spent in farming. They have been advising us on the best way to look after an orphaned calf and sharing their knowledge of animal husbandry. We aim as part of the project to record the countrymen’s stories and create opportunities for them to pass on their skills.
A launch event for the project is planned for Monday 29th October. The theme will be cider- and cheese- making and we hope to have a demonstration apple press and cider and cheese tasting. We will be sending more information out shortly, but in the meantime keep your diaries free.