Finland study tour

Six colleagues from Finland arrived on 3 December 2018 to share experiences on work around older people and food.

Their project in Finland ‘Eating Together – Lunches for Seniors’ involved organising lunches for older people with local businesses and charities in a sparsely populated region of South Savo in Finland.  The seniors were also involved with designing the lunch services.  The project came about as a result of the aging population and the fact that services are being centralised into city centres – a new solution was needed for the region.

The Finnish colleagues came from public, third and private sector and were all involved in the project.   It was run by South Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk) and South Savo Social and Health Services (Essote) and was funded by The Regional Council of South Savo (Regional Innovations and Experimentations (AIKO) fund).

The project was a good example of cross sector working with three of the participants involved in running their own cafes and one charity organisation supporting the lunches for seniors in their restaurants.  The project was coordinated by the University of Applied Sciences and the Health and Social Care Services were also involved in the project.

The colleagues visited Scotland for 3 days and we had a fairly packed tour of places to learn and see what different examples there are in Scotland.  They met colleagues from the Eric Liddell Centre, Outside the Box and learnt about Falkirk Foodies (lunch clubs for older people held in communities). They were invited to see a cooking class in Camelon Education Centre run by Community Learning and Development and in addition met with colleagues from Scottish Government and Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS).  On the final day they travelled down to Leith to Edinburgh Community Food and then travelled to Oxgangs and met Eat Well Age Well, Meal Makers and the Food Train to understand about the services that are offered for older people across Scotland by these services.

All colleagues who hosted the Finnish colleagues were extremely hospitable and offered them meetings at short notice which was most appreciated so a big thank you to everyone involved. The visitors were really interested in the different examples shown and were keen to take the learning back to Finland so it will be worth keeping an eye out for the different examples of work on older people appearing in Finland in due course.

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