Roar Do Walk a Mile in Renfrewshire

Roar – Connections for Life is supporting the Walk a Mile in My Shoes campaign by engaging our networks and members to walk on the 10th May.

As many of the older adults we support are not able to walk the full mile we have decided to contribute collectively, and that cumulatively the total of steps taken by almost 200 participants will equate to well over a mile.

The focus of the campaign is to challenge mental health stigma – one conversation at a time. This campaign really resonates with Roar’s passionate commitment to reducing loneliness and social isolation in old age. We work to achieve this by enabling people to make positive and fulfilling connections with others. This isn’t possible if people experience discrimination, hostility or cliquishness.

The key to our growing success is the culture we have embedded into everything we do.

A culture where respect, kindness, empathy and encouragement is positively reinforced and where aggressive negativity of any form is not tolerated. This can be challenging but when it works it is so powerfully positive.

I’m not advertising beer but I am enthralled by the new Heineken Advert showing how if you can get people together in the right circumstances – prejudices diminish.

So whether you walk a mile, or just share some smiles with the people you meet today, let’s work together to make our communities kinder places to live.


Picture1 Nicola Hanssen is the General Manager at Roar-Connections for Life. Nicola has the responsibility of leading the organisation’s strategy in partnership with the Board Of Trustees, designing and creating new projects and services. You can contact her at


Celebrating International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day helps us, at Roar, to celebrate the inspiring women who currently attend our clubs and projects. Giving older adults the opportunities to get together and inspire each other is something we love seeing. Feeling energized by International Women’s day, we spoke to some of the many inspiring ladies who make our work that bit more fulfilling.

Baljinder – Come Dine With Me cooking Group

IMG_9960Baljinder, 69, completed a 2 year cooking course at Cardonald college. She has certainly wowed the others at Come Dine With Me with her cooking prowess when she showed them how to make chapatis, vegetable pakora and vegetable curry. 

What keeps you active?

Housework! And Swimming! And exercise!

What keeps you motivated to do these things?

My family.

Who inspires you in your life?

My whole family – they think I’m a good mum and they say “we’ll never find a mother like you!” they all say that. Because I’m always there for them when they need me – always! They always support me. So it’s good to have a family .

Ruth – Ralston’s Health and Wellbeing Group 

Ruth is one of our oldest members at 98 years old, and has attended the Ralston group for roughly 4 years. At 98, she still participates in all the IMG_9948activities within the club and still has the energy to do our OTAGO exercise every week. 

The first question is what keeps you active, what keeps you going?

Well, I would say the first thing you need is a sense of humor, if you’ve got a sense of humor you’ll get through… I know life’s different, I have a faith in God and I’m not holy religious but I have a good faith in God and if I really do feel if I have a problem, I ask him to help me and he always does.

Who inspires you in your life?

I have a wonderful friend called Jan and I call her my Guardian Angel. We’ve been on the orient express to Venice, we’ve been to the Albert Hall to hear my favorite Chinese pianist and I always say she’s my guardian angel so I’m very lucky. And every night at 9 o’clock she phones me… so it’s great to have a guardian angel.

Our women members and volunteers are truly amazing – all of them. So this International Women’s day, we want to thank all of the women involved at Roar for being inspirational, bold and determined.

To learn more about our groups and projects, click here.


Nicola’s Blog: Bucket Lister Boys!

The saying ‘boys will be boys’ means that people should not be surprised when boys or men act in a rough or noisy way because this is part of the male character! That’s exactly why we have a Men’s Group – a place where men can express a side of themselves that many felt they wouldn’t experience again.

The journey to actually getting enough men together to make a group has taken a few years! It seems to be part of the male character to be hard to entice older gents out of their comfort zone? But now they have found their ‘mojo’ and we need a whole new approach to help them have the experiences and adventures they are now seeking.

If you watch STV Glasgow you might have seen footage of the group – not once but twice. It might make great telly to have a blind 91 year old get out for a cycle or get bumped about on a super-fast speedboat but what you don’t get the chance to see is the sheer delight that the men involved are experiencing. I could fill a page with the jokes, quips and mischief that happens – including them eating the chocolates intended as a gift for the captain of the rib!

But to keep your attention I will pick 2 quotes and they are “this is madness – I never would have believed that I could make new friends and have fun at my age” and “I sent the You Tube link to my granddaughter in Canada – I think she thought I just sit on a rocking chair.”speed boat

Lots of groups form and stay together around a single shared interest such as golfers, bowlers, art lovers etc but this group in essence have loss and grief as a shared experience….which isn’t really going to form the basis of an enlivening activity plan!!  In the early days I would pull in speakers on a whole range of topics and what we discovered is that the guys like enthusiasts with enthusiasm – the topic matters less than the content. As the group grows in confidence they have now become more involved in the planning and what we have now decided is that they want to help each other achieve their Bucket Lists and have great fun into the bargain.Untitled design (19)


The ideas span from being in a Battle Re-Enactment to going in a Sea Plane, operating a digger to cleaning a Cart Horse but the only way we can make these wishes a reality is by getting people in our communities to sponsor or enable these things to happen. I am appealing to you men out there to consider what you think you will feel like inside when you get old – and the answer will probably be that you will still feel just like you! That need for adventure, a bit of techy -fixing challenge and most importantly an completely non – PC sense of humour doesn’t actually change, it’s just your opportunities to have those needs fulfilled ( yes, along with other) diminishes!!!

So if you can empathise with these sentiments then please consider inviting the group to your place of work, come and enthuse them about what you do or set up a sponsored experience that will advertise your company – and you can even join in!

Yes – I get teased all the time about my passion for reaching older men. But I loved my granddad and that’s why I just get it!!

Picture1 Nicola Hanssen is the General Manager at Roar-Connections for Life. Nicola has the responsibility of leading the organisation’s strategy in partnership with the Board Of Trustees, designing and creating new projects and services. You can contact her at

Bucket Listers: Our Men’s group have a need for speed

 1RoarLast Friday, Our Men’s Group was invited by STV Glasgow to go on an eagerly awaited trip on a speed boat down the River Clyde.

Following on from John’s visit to Live At Five to speak about his cycle with Colin Calder from Matilda’s Musings, the speed boat expedition was arranged thanks to Euan – one of the lovely presenters at Live At Five.

Euan had hinted at the trip on John’s previous visit to the sofa but it didn’t become a reality until all the men were sat on the speed boat on Friday afternoon.

The group was buzzing with excitement and were not disappointed when the boat went full speed up the blistering cold River Clyde. Thanks to Paul Cameron, our Digital Participation Officer, for braving the bow of the boat to capture the experience:

The outing was a great laugh for the group and for Nicola Hanssen, Roar’s General Manager as well as Paul. It is definitely something we won’t forget!

It’s experiences like this that make our Men’s group special and innovative. We strive to give our members the best possible experiences.

Our Men’s group runs on a Friday every week and has been host to a diverse group of speakers; they also go on outings most recently to Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park to make bat boxes as part of a bat conservation project.

We’re always on the look out for interesting experiences for the Men’s group and would love to hear from you if you are an expert in a particular field or can offer a particular outing.

If you’re interested in our projects, what we do, or even want to volunteer contact us for more information.


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Roar’s Balance Challenge Returns

Roar’s Balance Challenge Returns! #Stop1stFalls

How long can you stand on one leg? With your eyesOne leg wobble closed? Research shows that your ability could provide early warning of later health problems.

Roar’s Balance Challenge social media campaign gained national recognition nearly 2 years ago and this time we’re asking can you still do it?

We were delighted to see people take up the challenge on social media which was very successful! Revisiting the #wobblechallenge two years later, this time our Balance Challenge is all about how you’re doing and is your balance where you want it to be?

 3. One legged wobble media campaign more Maintaining balance contributes to better movement and staying independent, particularly for older adults. It prevents accidents, while allowing people to move faster through possessing control of their weight and body.

Vision directly affects balance together with the proprioceptive systems and inner ear, so closing your eyes while doing this exercise adds a challenge that improves your gait.  The one-legged wobble ultimately tests and conditions you by using a single leg to support the body, which makes balancing using both legs easier.

Have you improved? Try it & make sure you tag us on your Facebook video or Tweet using #Stop1stFalls!

Take a stand! Challenge a friend!




Enthusiasts with Enthusiasm Wanted

A Huge Thanks to Stuart Smith who took time out of his busy life to provide a stimulating and informative session to the Roar’s Men’s group. Stuart told a story of the various places he has lived – including Paisley and peppered his personal and professional journey with a range of local stories that the group could relate to.

One of Stuart’s hobbies is cycling around the Scottish Isles and he engaged the group with Photos, film clips, items he’d collected and stories of the natural world and the people he had bumped into. So how was it for Stuart?

“Well, I was quite nervous as I’m used to speaking to people for work but not about myself or my hobbies but the group seemed so interested and I found it really enjoyable. I think it was good for me to try something new.”

Roar’s Men’s Group is designed to help older men in Renfrewshire keep learning and sharing. They have an extremely broad appreciation for people who are passionate about what they do and/or take pride in their field of knowledge. The group is looking for more contributors who would be willing to come and share their time as well as their stories.

Some of the areas they would be really pleased to find out more about is Civil engineering, CalMac Ferries, Air Traffic Control, Police, RSPB, Ship Building, 602 Squadron, Nautical Knots, Farming….etc.

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The Men’s group has been lucky enough to hear from a variety of speakers on a diverse range of topics. Previous speakers include: Dr Peter Stromberg who came to speak to the group about bees and bee keeping, Colin Calder from Matilda’s Musings who let John have a ride on his tandem, Paul Smith and Vicky Isley from boredomresearch who talked to the men about #PaisleyPearls, and photographer Bill Crookston who spoke about his work.

If you have a passion about something or know someone who does please call Nicola on 0141 889 7481. Travel reimbursed and as much tea and coffee as you can drink.


ROAR presented with Award by Police Scotland Renfrewshire and Inverclyde

Untitled design (4)On 31st January 2017, the Renfrewshire and Inverclyde K division presented Roar’s General Manager, Nicola Hanssen with an award for her partnership with the Police to promote road safety among older adults.

This award highlighted those who participated in joint initiatives with the Police and had been critical in achieving a favourable outcome.

Other recipients for the award, for the same project, were Ms Eileen bell and Ms Margaret Dickson from Safer and Inclusive Communities- Inverclyde council as well as Sgt Mark Miller.

The group pioneered the Rufty club which is inspired by the Tufty Club.The Tufty club was originally created by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents as a way to promote road safety education. Roar’s Rufty is a 63 year old squirrel who takes a bit longer to cross the road. Using Rufty to promote road safety in older age, the partnership had a great outcome.

Overall, the night was a great success and it was very interesting to see the historical police items on display.

To find out more about our campaigns and projects, call us on 0141 889 7481.



Volunteer Board Members wanted!

Roar — Connections for Life is looking for new board members!

Roar is ancompilation image of Roar activities award winning innovative social enterprise which is providing services to hundreds of older people across Renfrewshire.

We run Otago classes, Befriending, “Come dine with me” cooking clubs, Film screenings, Craft sessions, Tablet classes, Men’s groups and lots more …

With everything we do, we need new Board Members to help us develop and grow.

If you have skills in finance, retail or business and want to be part of this award winning charity we would be delighted to arrange an informal introduction to our work.

For more information please visit our website, email or call us on 0141 889 7481



John Chapman was invited onto STV Glasgow‘s Live At Five yesterday to talk about his tandem ride with Colin Calder and ROAR.

The 91 year old had a great time being interviewed by Euan and Hayley on the Live at Five sofa. Our general manager, Nicola Hanssen was also there filling in the presenters on ROAR’s clubs, projects and goals.

IMG_8518However, without Colin Calder from Matilda’s Musings this would not have been possible. Calder took John on a ride nearby to the West End Community Centre, Paisley before coming back to talk to the Men’s Group about his travels.

The presenters were lovely to both Nicola and John; they even hinted at a possible future outing on a speed boat for the Men’s group!

John is a fantastic character who has been with us for nearly 2 years now. He started by attending our Exclusive Club which helps to improve balance and strength.

Our men’s group is certainly buzzing with interest now since the publicity from last week’s event.

If you’re interested in our projects, what we do, or even want to volunteer contact us for more information.