Coffee Morning for the elderly
Working with VSA Aberdeen, we organised a coffee morning for elderly people from their care homes and supported living facilities. Although the attendance wasn’t great on the day; coffees, teas, sandwiches and cakes were enjoyed by those who came. We also managed to undertake a little tour of the control room where we explained the roles and daily duties of the security team to the visitors, making them feel safe when visiting Union Square in the future.
Learning Disability Week 2019
13th – 19th May 2019 was Learning Disability Week delivered by the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability.
This year’s theme was ‘community’ – whoever we are and wherever in Scotland we live, we can all be part of a community. Communities are at their best when everyone is active in their community, connected to people within their community, and feel included in their community.
To encourage local people to become part of our community, we invited local charity Inspire for a site visit. Service users and their carers enjoyed a tour of Union Square exploring what happens behind the scenes. The control room and the service yards were the main stops, however, simply being in areas not commonly accessible by public filled many with excitement. Lots of curious questions were asked and answered making everyone feel safe and well looked after when visiting Union Square in the future. The tour finished in our Shopmobility to further increase awareness of the services they provide. The event was well enjoyed by all service users as well as the centre management team.
Aberdeen Cyrenians Talk
Back in May, Aberdeen Cyrenians visited Union Square to deliver a talk about homelessness and street begging in Aberdeen. Aimed mainly at security team members who often interact with homeless people and street beggars, but open for anyone to join, the Cyrenians explained the current situation of homelessness in Aberdeen and Scotland and introduced a variety of services they provide to people affected by homelessness. They also talked about their Assertive Outreach Project which was set up in Aberdeen in 2017 to help tackle street begging. The group discussion focused on what role can security team members play when engaging with homeless people and street beggars and what services they can point them towards. That initial introduction to Cyrenians can help people get back into work and integrate in the society.
RSPB visited Union Square on Saturday 4th May to educate children and adults about wildlife in the local area and the importance of protecting it.
Aberdeen Multicultural Centre held a press launch for their Mela event here at Union Square. The charity representatives came on the mall accompanied by dancers who performed traditional Indian dance routines with a modern twist.
Voluntary Service Aberdeen (VSA) came to the mall on 12th June to raise awareness about their services and increase their number of volunteers.
Children's Hospice Week 17 – 23 June 2019
The Children's Hospice Week aims to raise funds for children’s hospices and palliative care in the UK. On Saturday 22nd June, we welcomed Charlie House on the mall.
The charity was established in 2011 by a local mum to provide respite care for babies and children with life-limiting and life-shortening conditions and their families. This year Charlie House launched their £8m “Big Build Appeal” with the aim to develop an 8-bedroom facility offering parents and carers the opportunity to recharge their batteries while spending the time with their sick children. The facility will include a sensory room, library, spa pool, craft room, teen den, soft play area and therapy room. There will also be a “Star Room” with adjustable temperatures for families to spend as much time as they wish with their child after they have passed.
Charlie House brought mood boards and a model to the mall showcasing their planned facility, volunteering information and a sensory table for children to touch and play with. The highlights of the event were definitely the 'Critter Keeper' who gained a lot of attention from the public with his beasts (including a beautiful red iguana), and Charlie the Dog who meandered through the mall high-fiving the kids. The charity also managed to raise £291.43 through a bucket collection on the day.
Autistic Pride 2019
Autistic Pride is held worldwide on or around 18th June since 2005. It is organised by and for autistic community to declare: “This is who we are, and there’s nothing wrong with that.” In Aberdeen, Autistic Pride is delivered by One Stop Shop Aberdeen, Triple A and Scottish Woman’s Autism Network (SWAN). On Sunday 23rd June, the three charities brought in an exhibition of art created by autistic people and it was very successful amongst our visitors. From drawings to photographs – even some Minecraft art, there were really interesting pieces to be seen, proving that, contrary to the misconception that autistic people are all genius mathematicians, they can be very creative and artistic too.
Union Square took part in the Alzheimer's Society's Cupcake Day on Thursday, 13th June. Some of us baked, the others faked and altogether we had so many cupcakes left that we had to extend the event for another day! We managed to raise a total of £115 for Alzheimer’s Society.
Ration Challenge 2019
Two members of the Union Square Management Team took part in the Ration Challenge 2019 during Refugee Week (16th - 23rd June). During this week, they ate the same rations as Syrian refugees - just a small amount of rice, flour, lentils, chickpeas, beans, fish and oil. This allowed them to experience just a small part of what it is like to be a refugee and helped them raise awareness of this issue as well as needed funds. All money raised goes towards Concern Worldwide UK who will spend it on food, education and health care for refugees, as well as further help in deprived areas all over the world. The USQ team managed to raise £580.41 to date and are currently awaiting a confirmation of match funding of £442 by Hammerson Plc. More information can be found here: https://my.rationchallenge.org.uk/t/usq
Other charity support
Allowing charities to make the most of our modern office facilities, we provided free meeting room hire to Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Marie Curie and Instant Neighbour in April and May.