How do you Communicate with your Community?

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It is only 2 or 3 decades since communication was done by telephone, mail or face to face and all documents were stored in paper or hard copy files. Today the internet and associated devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, mobile devices, etc, are seen as a necessity rather than a luxury.

Since the baseline year of 2007, the percentage of adults using the internet for personal use in Scotland has increased from 62.7% to 83.4% in 2016. The use of the internet (for personal use) is however strongly linked to age. In 2016, 99.1% of 16-24 year olds used the internet for personal use, compared to 71.6% of 60-74 year olds and approximately a third of people aged 75 and older. Adults with a physical or mental health condition lasting or expected to last more than 12 months are less likely to use the internet for personal use. Almost seven out of ten adults with such a longstanding health condition use the internet for personal use, compared to nine out of ten among the rest of the population. (Source: Scottish Household Survey 2017)

Within the UK of those without internet access, 64% felt they didn’t need the internet as it was regarded as not useful or interesting. A further 20% felt they lacked skills and 12% reported that they had access to the internet elsewhere. (Source:ONS: Internet access – households and individuals: 2017)

There are therefore sections of our population who either do not have or choose not to have digital access. Coupled with the fact that our use of technology is still evolving making it harder for sections of our communities to keep apace with the changes. For example, in social media Facebook, which only emerged 14 years ago is now being abandoned, by young people, for its little sister, Instagram. Reflecting the mobile engagement of the times. Figures from Nielsen Book Research UK survey of 2016 reveal that e-book sales are falling while sales of paper books are growing – and the shift is being driven by younger generations.

The advent of new technologies has changed how we interact, how we communicate and some of our reading habits. Within communities we need to inform and communicate with people both in digital and non-digital formats in order to reach all sectors. What do you find are the best means of communications with your communities? Share your ideas of what works. for you.

Community libraries

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The town of Chapelton recently welcomed its first community library just in time for National Storytelling Week 2018.

The books, which will be located in a quiet corner of the popular Teacake Café, will act as a community library corner, or a book swap, where it is hoped residents of all ages will be able to swap, read and discuss some of their favourite books and stories. So why libraries are so important in today’s digital world?

Many people believe libraries to be a thing of the past due to the digital revolution and the rise of a gadget enamoured society. However,

“The National Literacy Trust says that children who go to a library are twice as likely as those who don’t to read well. It is not just picking up a book. It is the social experience of reading, talking about the books, browsing, comparing what you have read with family and friends. Librarians are gate keepers in that process. They open doors to new worlds, new possibilities. They ask library visitors to evaluate the information on offer. Most importantly, they give access to narratives. Children and adults do not just need information to thrive as thinking beings, but stories. Libraries are the temple of story. They are not in decline because of some natural, historic progression, but because of the monstrous cultural vandalism of savage cost-cutting. We will pay a terrible price for the behaviour of our masters.” (Alan Gibbons)

Libraries are seen by many as a lifeline and a crucial public service, especially if you are elderly, socially isolated, poor, vulnerable, or all of the above.

So why are libraries so important and why must we protect and improve them?

  1. They’re accessible

 The obvious advantage of having a local library is that it is local. Accessibility is crucial if you have mobility problems and/or haven’t got the money for bus fare.

  1. They help to bridge the digital divide

People in rural areas face significant challenges when it comes to IT access, including infrastructure problems and set-up costs. The vast majority of public libraries offer free IT access and basic IT training to the public.

  1. They help to combat social isolation

Libraries are social places where people can chat, read and keep in touch with the outside world. For elderly people who can’t access a static library, mobile and housebound services can fill the gap. Sometimes a friendly smile from a library worker can make all the difference to an isolated and vulnerable persons day or week.

According to C.S. Lewis “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”. So next time you’re in Chapelton pay a visit to the Teacake Café and sample what both have to offer.

Wheelchairs on the beach

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A visit to the beach or wild areas if you are in a wheelchair is generally problematic. However Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Scotland’s National Nature Reserves are providing such an opportunity. Working with Pony Axe S , four, free events including one at St Cyrus Nature Reserve on 26th February 2018 have been arranged in Aberdeenshire. There is no need to transfer to all terrain or beach wheelchairs, no need to leave your wheelchair behind they take people, who use wheelchairs to all the places where wheelchairs can’t take them. The trips with Pony Axe S are free, but booking is essential. To book your place, or to find out more, call Isla on 01224 266514 or e-mail

Aberdeenshire Council have launched a major survey so that they can improve communities and quality of life for disabled people. Your views will help inform future planning. They will be shared with relevant agencies who can take action to improve your community. The survey has been developed by the Physical Disability Strategic Outcome Group (PDSOG). This group includes disabled people, carers and people from Aberdeenshire Council, NHS Grampian (NHSG) and voluntary organisations in Aberdeenshire. This group leads the direction for planning, developing and delivering services for physically disabled people in Aberdeenshire. They are asking disabled people what it is like to live in Aberdeenshire.

So if you have a disability or you know someone who has, complete the survey to ensure that your voice is heard. Click on the link to take part Living with a disability in Aberdeenshire

Printed copies are available by calling the Council on 03456 081206

‘An Apple a day’

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Established as a community volunteer group in late 2013, Brighter Bervie does what it says on the tin – the group brightens up the environment and community spirit in Inverbervie and the surrounding district. The focus of the groups’ activity is around a gardening project, transforming neglected spaces and street corners into attractive locations for the benefit of visitors and residents.

In the autumn of 2017 volunteers from Brighter Bervie, along with Fiona and Kevin from our partners Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), visited Bervie Primary School.

At the school’s morning assembly, in which all the pupils take such an active and enthusiastic part, Fiona engaged with them to share information about the work that SAMH does to help people cope with mental illness. Gardening is one of the therapeutic activities which SAMH promotes.

c4735d90d7c84c65922b23a43640fca4In the afternoon the Outdoor Learning Group came out to the school garden to plant 5 apple trees donated by SAMH. Now a patient 2-year wait is required until they can pick and eat the fruit.

This work is part of the Edibles Trail project which Brighter Bervie is implementing around our Royal Burgh. Brighter Bervie’s volunteers are continuing to plant more fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers along the trail for folk to pick, (cook) and eat free of charge. The intention of the scheme is to connect people with natural healthy food sources as well as encouraging them to walk about and take a deeper interest in this wonderful community that we sometimes take for granted.

Bervie’s Edibles Trail is being developed along with trails in Portlethen and St Cyrus as the first three in South Aberdeenshire under the auspices of Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action (AVA).

Brighter Bervie Facebook

“Are Ewe Okay”

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In 2014 figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that people in the UK are among the most lonely and isolated in Europe. The ONS data compared the UK with the rest of Europe. The UK came second from bottom for not feeling close to people in their local area. Germany came bottom and Cyprus came top. Loneliness and isolation can have a major impact on people’s wellbeing and mental health.

In the latest ONS Survey “Measuring national well-being: Life in the UK, Apr 2017” it shows that whilst many aspects of our lives have improved, areas that have deteriorated over a 3-year basis included the mental well-being of the population.

Isolation & loneliness affects many in our countryside and this was recognised by young people working within the agricultural industry. The Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) began the mental health awareness campaign “Are EWE Okay” in May 2016 during mental health awareness week. They recognised that there was a stigma associated with mental health issues, people working in the agriculture & rural industries are often working on their own so are facing isolation and through the nature of the work people often find it difficult to access services or support. Through the campaign they aimed to challenge the attitudes towards mental wellbeing for the industry’s next generation. In October 2017 their campaign was named as a ‘Farming Hero’ during the British Farming Awards.

Social media is often criticised for a variety of reasons, however in this instance it is being used in a positive way by a recognised body to reach its members – young people, who may otherwise have no one to turn to. The principles of ‘Are Ewe OK’ can so easily be transferred to anyone so perhaps we could all ask ‘Are you ok’?

Put Your Best Foot Forward

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Thinking, talking, and walking are inextricably linked through history. It is only a recent idea that we meet around tables, seated in chairs. We want to help you rediscover and share the value of walking meetings.

Aristotle was said to walk as he taught, founding what we now refer to as Ancient Greece’s Peripatetic School of Philosophy. This name was derived from the colonnade or walkway in the Lyceum in which he taught. The Sophists, philosophers predating Socrates, were wanderers. They travelled place to place on foot delivering talks.

Despite the onslaught of “mobile” technology, people are spending more time sitting at their desk than ever before. The average worker sits about 9.5 hours a day – which is 2 hours more per day than they sleep.

What keeps us tethered to our desks? Our insatiable thirst for increased productivity and efficiency. Ironically, one of the things that makes us most effective is leaving our desks.

It’s well-known that Steve Jobs insisted on walking meetings, and Mark Zuckerberg favors them as well.


Here are 7 reasons you want to consider incorporating moving meetings into your culture:

  • Employee Health.
    Walking meetings allow employees to integrate physical activity throughout their workday, which yields improved health, lower health care costs, and a lower number of sick days.
  • Higher Employee Energy
    Movement yields circulation; circulation yields energy. Rather than reach for a biscuit to get a boost of energy, take a walk outside.
  • Inspiration.
    Nature and changes of scenery trigger new neuro-pathways in our brains which yield new ideas, and new solutions to problems.
  • A Flatter Organization.
  • Technology executive Nilofer Merchant shares in her 3-minute TED Talk that when executives and employees walk side-by-side, the hierarchical boundaries are virtually eliminated.
  • Increased Collaboration.
  • Walking meetings aren’t just for a few people. Larger groups can benefit as well. Unlike traditional meetings in a conference room, where attendees take a seat and often don’t move until the meeting is over, mobile meetings give attendees the option of moving freely from one conversation to another.
  • Stronger Personal Connections.
    Walking meetings take the corporate feeling out of meetings. Employees can accomplish the same goals set for a traditional meeting, but they can relate on a much more personal level.
  • Minimized Differences.
    Walking meetings bring everyone together. As companies continue to employee 5 different generations of workers, and as diversity increases in the workforce, walking meetings break down both conscious and unconscious biases and barriers.So next time you’re scheduling a meeting, why not give a walking meeting a go?

Kincardine & Mearns Community Plan

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Priority 5 Including Everyone in Our Communities – 3rd review







Intended Outcomes:

All local residents feel included and able to participate equally in vibrant and resilient communities and organisations are supported to be inclusive of a wide range of people in their work. Read the rest of this entry »