About the African and Caribbean Elders Scotland (ACES) group

Group of people wearing traditional outfits

African and Caribbean Elders Scotland (ACES) was founded in 2019 and is an organisation for African and Caribbean over-60s living in Scotland. Members from around the country meet regularly online, providing mutual support, companionship, storytelling and oral history. The group have created and co-created events in person, online and hybrid for Doors Open Day and Black History Month.

In 2022, ACES bravely hosted their first International Men’s Day event and produced the first draft of their One Life, Two Cultures book: a collection of African and Caribbean peoples’ experiences who have made a life for themselves in Scotland. The collection is in the group members' own words and their experiences are funny, sad, compelling, and relatable. Documenting these stories helped them to understand the richness and cultural diversity of their communities, while ensuring that these memories are not lost, but passed onto the next generation.

From the topics discussed during the International Men’s Day, their One Life, Two Cultures book, and other activities, ACES was chosen as the winner of the 2022 Celebrating Diversity Award in the Creative Lives Awards. The Awards celebrate the creative groups that enhance people's lives in villages, towns, and cities across the UK and Ireland.

Phoenix Archer, Scotland Community Engagement Officer from Creative Lives, met with Osman Lamin-Sidique, a member of ACES, to find out how the group felt when they found out that they won the award, what have they been up to since the awards ceremony and what makes ACES so special.

How did ACES feel about winning the award and attending the awards ceremony?

"When we found out that we won the award, we were shocked and surprised. I spoke to the other members when they applied, about the application form. It was simple and it was nice to write about our group in such a way that was affirming. We don’t get to do that often. The members that went to the award ceremony enjoyed themselves, the staff were kind and I heard the food was very good."

What creative and supportive activities does ACES provide for its members? Can you give an example?

"One particular thing, that I remember, a colleague of ours lost his son. His son had a mental health condition and was in hospital [..] and is no longer with us, so this colleague of mine was not in a very good state [...] so we volunteered to help him. To support him, to get back into creativity and healthy activities. To help him get back to himself again. An official group to give support like this would be good. So it is good for your mental health and wellbeing to do things like this in the group."

What impact did winning the award have and what are the next steps for the group?

"Since we won the award, we have more pride in all the work we have done, especially with the One Life, Two Cultures book. Now we are doing another online Africa Day event later in May. People see us more, what we do, who we are and we are known by other groups too. We have even more confidence. We would like to do another book, more events for International Men's Day, International Women's Month and Black History Month."

To enter your group or organisation into the Creative Lives Awards just like ACES, there is a quick and easy online form. The closing date for applications is 11.59pm on Monday 13 May 2024. Further information and application form here

Click here to find out more about the impact ACES makes in their community and being part of social change and listen to a video about their work.