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Moi Moi from Falkirk Food Buddies

Posted December 19th 2018 by Ania

people sitting around a table smiling

Being part of Falkirk Food Buddies project is one of the best things about my job. I get to do so many different things, meet lots of interesting people and see the benefits of bringing people together. This week I met with a group from Finland to exchange experiences and ideas on projects for older people and food. They came from the public, third and private sector. The South Savo area of Finland is a beautiful lake district part of the country and very popular with visitors in the summer. But it is also a sparsely populated area, which can mean people are often quite isolated, especially in the colder months.

Three café owners who run their businesses in small villages were part of the group. Their cafes are taking part in a regional government funded project* aiming to address the same issues we face in Scotland – ageing population, reduced services in rural areas and lack of funding for comprehensive public support services.

The pilot is run jointly by the local Health and Social Care Services and South-Eastern Finland University*. Their project aims are very similar to Falkirk Food Buddies and it was interesting to chat about our approaches. They organise lunches for older people together with local businesses, encouraging the participants to get involved in the design of the project: selecting when and how often the lunches happen and bringing new ideas. People have to pay for their food but can apply for financial assistance if required. It is hoped that once the pilot is completed that the most successful activities will keep going.
Finland is also rolling out a different approach to a traditional Meals on Wheels service – an automated fridge freezer/oven robot, which talks to you. It’s called Menumat and you can find more information here.

Finally, in case you are wondering, “Moi moi” is “Hello” in Finnish!

I’d like to take this opportunity to say “kiitos!” (thank you) to Frances from NHS Health Scotland for organising this meeting and to the entire group for taking the time to talk with me.

* The Seniors Eating Together project is being delivered in 2018 by South Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk) and South Savo Social and Health Services (Essote). It is funded by The Regional Council of South Savo by Regional Innovations and Experimentations (AIKO) fund.

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