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Borders Families Meet-ups October/November 2018

Posted November 27th 2018 by Ruth Noble & Jo Highet

As part of our project focusing on the wellbeing of families in the Scottish Borders, we recently organised a couple of meet-ups with a local group of parents and children. Some of these people were meeting for the first time; most face challenges in terms of transport, living remotely, being unconnected from others for various reasons, or not having the resources to take part in regular activities.

A couple of weeks ago we met up at Jedburgh Jail and Museum. This venue was suitable for all ages – younger kids dressed up, older ones completed a quiz, old and young got a chance to learn about the history of the Jail and of Jedburgh itself. We had heard that at this time of year the group can struggle to find somewhere cheap, warm and dry to meet in – so we hired a hall which could accommodate us for picnic lunch, hot drinks and games. This gave parents a valuable chance to connect with one another, sharing issues and ideas.

A couple of weeks later we organised another meetup for the same group (with a few newcomers). This time we bravely went for an outdoor venue – showing how the outdoors can be adapted for all weathers. We went to Glentress Forest and spent time on a mini-orienteering and brass-rubbing trail. We then headed to our ‘base camp’ in the woods – where Border Bushcraft had set up tarpaulins and a campfire and had a welcome pot of hot soup ready for us. Again, parents and children spent valuable time getting to know one another and sharing ideas for future connecting. Some children (and adults) made a hazel whistle with the help of our bushcraft expert, while younger ones made some clay models under shelter.

These very different sessions gave the families a taster of what is possible – even in bad weather and with limited resources. It also gave them a break from self-organising, which can be challenging with young ones, living in a widely spread community with restricted transport options. Here is some of the feedback we received:

“Thank you!  Well organised, safe, great activities and staff! Great networking opportunities for parents and potential new ways to connect”

“Thank you so much for a brilliant day!”

“Great fun meeting everyone getting outdoors, camaraderie, soup, cake, whistles all fabulous.”

“When’s the next session?!”

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