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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Happy Daze – the way we were


Ken Barlow on the success of project using nostalgia to bring a community together

The idea of Happy Daze was born of the perceived need for Newton Stewart Initiative (NSI) to provide something for the older generation in Newton Stewart and surrounding areas.

Drawing on his experience working as a community mental health nurse for Older Persons Ken Barlow understood just how enriching and satisfying reminiscence and nostalgia can be, particularly for those people living alone.

There is also a well recognised sense of mutual historical belonging brought about when cultural, social and location factors are brought to the fore in a setting where friendly discussion and human interaction can take place.

Ken and project worker, Naomi Dunbar, created a collection of photographs that they laminated, in addition to providing various books of local history for handling, reading and general perusal.

They created a slideshow of local photographs and found vintage videos of the town and Pageant Day in 1934.

A local business, The Black Horse Hotel, kindly gave permission to use their slideshow of local views that runs for over an hour.

All such pictorial material has been duly credited and acknowledged and was presented via a projector and laptop onto a strategically placed screen.

Ken has compiled a number of quizzes centred upon local knowledge. For example:

“When was Newton Stewart officially formed as a town?”

“In what year was the refurbished cinema reopened?”

Newton Stewart Museum has been an active contributor, both verbally and by bringing in artifacts and items of interest. For this we are very grateful.

The first session began on 27 February and has run every two weeks since.

Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided at a nominal donation charge of £2 and of course Vibe 75 provides a warm place for all concerned.

Many photographs, books and items of interest have been donated by local folk, while stories, anecdotes and personal reflections have also been warmly received.

The entire enterprise has been well received. As a drop-in project, passing people can call in for a brief visit while others stay for the full two hours.

We plan to improve the seating arrangements while the technology to deliver a more professional visual display is also under active improvement.

NSI recognise that many older persons are unable to make their way to Vibe 75 for the Happy Daze session and so they have decided to ‘go on the road’, visiting local centres where we believe we will be well received.

Ken Barlow is trustee of Newton Stewart Initiative. 



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17 days ago

A great initiative which is bringing together older residents and helping to reduce social isolation, well done!