Golden Games to feature on silver screen

Aberdeen's award-winning Golden Games will be showcased in two films to be premiered at a city cinema next week – and then screened in front of social work professionals from across Europe next month.

Shetland-based filmmaker Stephen Mercer was commissioned by Aberdeen City Council to create two special videos at the week-long festival of sports activities for older folk this year.

Stephen spent time at many of the 30-plus events across the city in June – and created a half-hour film featuring participants at many of the activities, and a five-minute promotional piece about the Games.

The main film features Dons hero and former captain Russell Anderson, who is now business development executive with the football club's Community Trust, the Chair of the Shadow Integration Joint Board for health and social care Councillor Lesley Dunbar, care home staff, and senior health and social work officials who were involved in organising this year's games. They are shown explaining how the Games were born, how they have grown, and the impact they have had on older people's health.

The films will be premiered at Cineworld at Queen's Links on Monday at 10am in front of an invited audience of some 300 people, including many people who took part this year. They will then be shown at the International Federation of Social Workers European Conference, which is being held in Edinburgh from 06–09 September.

The Golden Games entered its fifth year in 2015, expanded to five days of exciting events. The free festival of sports and activities for the over-65s featured more than 30 different activities this year, at venues spanning the length and breadth of the city, and attracted 425 participants.

Activities included technogym, line dancing, swimming, health walks, table tennis, badminton, pentathlon, swimming, wall climbing, zumba, pickleball, and outdoor and 10-pin bowling.

Councillor Dunbar said: "The Golden Games have gone from strength to strength since they started with just a handful of activities in 2011. Hundreds of people have enjoyed scores of events over the past four years and I am so proud that we now have a permanent film record of folk taking part in the activities.

"It is so exciting to be showcasing the Golden Games in front of an international audience at the European social work conference next month. Local authorities across the UK have looked at what we are doing and now we have the chance to show Aberdeen's positive work on active ageing to people from across the continent."

Russell Anderson added: "Physical activity at all stages of life is hugely important and extremely beneficial. I played professional football for as long as I felt I could and although I'm now retired, I'll be keeping myself active.

"The Golden Games is a fantastic initiative and I sincerely hope that it is still on the go when I'm eligible to participate. Given how successful it is, there's every reason to suspect it will be!"

The Golden Games lifted a top prize in the Association for Public Service Excellence Awards 2013, beating off competition from seven other UK local authorities to win in the Best Health and Wellbeing category.

The initiative is a partnership between Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian, Aberdeen Sports Village, Sport Aberdeen and Aberdeen FC Community Trust. The Games aim to encourage older people to stay active, and meet new people. The programme is suitable for people of all abilities and offers opportunities for people to keep up their involvement in activities all year round.