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Help map memories, friendships and connections in Southville, Bedminster and Ashton.

Bristol has been chosen as a pilot area to research older peoples' social connections and trial ways of making them stronger, as part of Productive Margins, a joint project between Bristol University and Southville Community Development Association.

We know that older people  (which means those of us who are 50+ in the official definition) enjoy better physical and mental health if they are socially active, but for some older people there might be reasons stopping them from socialising. The aim of this project is to understand those reasons and try and tackle them.

We are a team of community workers and researchers (some of us older, some of us younger) working on this project which is called Productive Margins. We feel it is important to ask you for your input into ideas about reducing isolation for older people. To get that conversation started we are running several events and activities over the next months.

On Monday 22nd and Wednesday 24th June you might see an unusual group of people travelling through BS3 with a bright red board on bright red legs. If so, do take a moment to stop and chat and get involved in this interactive art project. We will be mobile and won’t be taking a set route but plan to stop by Aldi in Southville, Asda in Bedminster and Sainsbury in Ashton.

Older residents who are working as part of our research team will be asking people to recollect memories associated with places in the area, from which a local artist called Laurie Stansfield will create a visual map.

“I’m hoping we can capture the qualities which have made Southville and Bedminster distinctive,” said Deborah Aguirre Jones, the artist who is running the project. “Older people’s memories are interesting and valuable and we hope that the final map will give current residents and future generations an insight into the character of this area.”