Hello everyone! It’s Vienne, and I’m thrilled to be back to write the twelfth instalment of my VIP journey. I apologise for the lack of updates since November last year, as our team has been navigating through some ups and downs. However, I believe that both positive and negative experiences are valuable and worth sharing.

After our team meeting in early November, we continued to explore the development of a programme or package that could bring older and younger adults together. Despite several team meetings, we hadn’t determined a specific topic for the programme or package. Consequently, in mid-November, we scheduled a meeting with Katrina Kelly, the Head of Community Engagement, to gain insights into the University’s previous initiative, “Cosy Wednesdays”. Regrettably, due to budgetary constraints, Katrina informed us that “Cosy Wednesdays” might not be running again this year. Therefore, collaborations with the Age-friendly VIP were unlikely. However, she recommended reaching out to Connect Bath and Ghika Savva, the SCP Manager of the Students’ Union.

Abby, Rachel and Vienne online
Abbey, Rachel and I stayed on to discuss some next steps after meeting Katrina on 16 November 2023.

Abbey contacted Connect Bath to discuss volunteering opportunities for the upcoming Christmas period. Unfortunately, we were informed that all volunteer roles were already oversubscribed. In my efforts to find collaborations and other volunteering opportunities, I contacted Ghika. Ghika responded promptly and explained that their work mainly focused on community cohesion, personal and river safety, and sustainability. However, Ghika referred us to Anna Boneham, the SU Volunteering and Societies Manager, who graciously offered support and expressed interest in discussing how they could assist with our new project.

The week that followed was a hectic time for most of the team members, as they were juggling multiple deadlines. We didn’t have a chance to meet and catch up. However, Fiona managed to find a time to check in with us and inquire about our progress. She wanted to see if we were happy and on track to share our updates at the Healthy Later Living (HLL) Network meeting on 28 November 2023. This was an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our work in progress and potentially establish connections with external groups. While some members expressed hesitation, Fiona encouraged us by saying, “Wherever you are at, your presence can help shape ideas. It would be great for you to listen in, and there is no pressure to speak if you prefer not to.” These words truly resonated with me, as I believe that our not-so-positive outcomes can provide valuable lessons. It was important to identify areas where we may not want to pursue further.

The day before the HLL network meeting, Kai, Abbey, and I met with Fiona. Although we didn’t establish any immediate collaborations, we decided to focus on sharing our journey and presenting an overview of our session idea, as well as discussing next steps. On the day of the presentation, I felt nervous due to a packed schedule of commitments. Additionally, I encountered a technological hiccup just before the presentation. Despite booking a meeting room at the Doctoral College, I realised that the computer did not support the microphone and camera. As soon as I discovered the issue, I approached my Mandarin PAL co-worker, Jiachen, and asked if she could lend me her laptop. I was relieved that the presentation went well, and we got Megan Robb, lecturer from the Department of Social and Policy Sciences on board! She agreed to deliver a lecture for both older and younger adults.

Age friendly information
Some work in progress presented at the HLL network meeting.

While securing a partner, some questions remained unanswered. Specifically, we needed to determine the topic and objectives of the lecture. On 29 November, the team met again to address these outstanding issues. Some of us suggested exploring Megan’s teaching and research profile to align our work with hers. We also agreed to schedule a meeting with Emily from the VIP operation team to talk over the VIP fund and evaluate the feasibility of our project.

Team meeting
A number of members attended the team meeting in late November. I was having this meeting at the V&A museum as I was on my way home!

After returning home in early December, the team faced challenges in scheduling subsequent meetings due to competing priorities. As such, most members agreed that taking a short break would be beneficial. Fiona was happy for us to come back for a discussion in early January when we had the head space we needed to pin down the topic and the objectives. 

While it is true that we encountered some challenges in our navigation, I remain optimistic about our Age-friendly VIP. In particular, we would like to express our gratitude for those who provided guidance and offered their kind assistance. Despite some changes within our team, we have successfully made progress. Please stay tuned for some exciting news in our upcoming blog post. Speak soon!

Posted in: Department for Health, Extra-curricular activities, Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, International students, Learning & Teaching at Bath, Postgraduate, Vertically Integrated Projects


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