West Lothian 50+ Network History
In 2019 the West Lothian 50+ Network will celebrate its 25th anniversary.
1993 was designated by the European Parliament as the Year of the Elderly and of Solidarity between Generations. This lead to West Lothian community education workers Jim Dixon and Annette Lambourne being asked to set up a local project with a European dimension and MEP David Martin suggested a visit by a group of people aged over 50 to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The whole experience proved so successful that the 33 West Lothian representatives decided to stay in touch and form a network for older people’s organisations.
Under Jim Dixon’s
Over time members acquired funds from various sources to allow the group to grow, including funding from the National Lottery and Big Lottery. Since then they have enjoyed holidays to places as far-flung as Jerusalem, China and Trinidad and Tobago (and places closer to
To mark the 20th anniversary in 2014, long-standing committee member Mary Ferrie wrote a book detailing the history of the network and a special information day/craft fair was held in the Regal Theatre in Bathgate. A celebratory dinner was also held with 129 people, including members and special guests, at
The organisation now has around 400 members and over 35 special interest groups, who enjoy a wide and varied range of activities including walking, singing, bowling, quilting, genealogy, French, theatre, mahjong, cycling, bridge and pilates.
We used to meet, month about, in the Community Centres of West Lothian, then, on the suggestion of Robbie Robertson, we moved to the new St. Mary’s hall. We had no office until we applied for a lottery grant and established ourselves upstairs in the Regal Cinema. This wasn’t ideal as there were a lot of stairs. We then moved to an office above the Citizen’s Advice Office in Hopetoun Street, but that was short-lived, after which we set up