Kindness, as one aspect of the human condition, is attracting increasing levels of attention from within the policy world. And at first glance, it’s not immediately apparent why. It seems a somewhat alien concept to consider alongside the usual suspects of organisational efficiency, professionalism, regulation and accountability. Carnegie UK have been working with a range of folk interested in embedding kindness within their organisation and in particular with North Ayrshire Council to explore the implications across the entire local authority. Turns out kindness could be a game-changer.
In March 2018, the Carnegie UK Trust brought together a Kindness Innovation Network of people and professionals from across Scotland who had an interest in encouraging kindness in their organisations and communities. At the same time, the Trust began working in partnership with North Ayrshire Council to embed kindness as a value throughout the local authority and region.
The two projects were collaborative and the report reflects a wide range of views and activities from hundreds of people across Scotland. The Practice of Kindness brings together practical examples of things that can be done to create the conditions for kindness. However, it also highlights the barriers to relationships within organisations, and posits kindness as a radical concept that demands challenging the systems and structures – including risk and regulation, professionalism, and performance management – that currently govern our institutions.
To read the full report, visit https://d1ssu070pg2v9i.cloudfront.net/pex/carnegie_uk_trust/2019/06/25090227/Practice-of-Kindness-Report-WEB.pdf
Tourism has long been a cornerstone of the Scottish economy – generating £6bn in the last year. This year’s good weather and low pound are projected to boost that even further. One of the fastest growing sectors in recent years across the industry worldwide has been adventure tourism, and with Scotland’s coastline, mountains and rivers it comes as no surprise that this growth is being mirrored here.
According to HIE’s Adventure Tourism in Scotland Research Report – there were at least 350 Adventure Tourism businesses operating in Scotland in 2015. More than a third of adventure tourism businesses were located in the Highland Council area, followed by 12% in Argyll and Bute and 8% in Perth and Kinross. 84% of businesses described themselves as activity and experience providers, with the remainder identifying as activity centres and attractions.
Cross sector collaboration initiatives can play an important role in developing the adventure tourism
market. Sectors such as retail and transport benefit from the tourism industry through improved infrastructure, increased footfall and repeat custom, while accommodation providers can work in tandem with adventure tourism organisations in the area to create a better-quality tourist offer to entice visitors to the area. Collaboration between social enterprise, private business and the public sector is key to increasing the quality of tourist offer available, however more could be done between social enterprise projects and with the wider tourism industry.
The Tourism Scotland 2020 strategy aims to grow Scotland’s visitor spend by £1bn in real terms, from
£4.5bn in 2011 to £5.5bn by 2020. To achieve this, the strategy has identified three key growth markets to make up the backbone of tourism revenue by 2020;
- Home turf:
£3,127m in 2011
Potential £3,586m–£4,238m in 2020
England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales.
- Near neighbours:
£731m in 2011
Potential £875m–£1,035m in 2020
Scandinavia, Germany, France, Spain, Ireland,
- Distant cousins:
£414m in 2011
Potential £505m–£598m in 2020
USA, Australia, Canada.
Adventure tourism is identified as an area which offers “significant potential for growth” within the strategy. Collaboration between local businesses in rural destinations is key to developing a tourism offer which can engineer economic growth – local assets such as hill walking and cycling can be integrated with culture, local history, food and drink to create immersive tourism packages which better reflect the local area.
Want to find out more, have a look at the Senscot briefing, makes interesting reading; https://senscot.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Adventure-Tourism-Briefing.pdf
Researchers have found that the closer people live to the sea, the healthier they tend to be.
However, it is not just those who live in rural seaside areas that benefit.
The biggest effect is actually felt by people living in coastal cities like Newcastle and Southampton, compared to inland ones like Birmingham and Leeds.
It was not sure how much of the benefit had to do with salty air.
It’s thought that it could be that the sea had a calming influence on people, or that those who lived near it had an added incentive to get out and about.
Information from the 2001 census compared the health of people in England living near the sea and far away, both in rural and urban areas.
In the census respondents were required to rate their health as ‘good’, ‘fairly good’, or ‘not good’. Nationwide, just over two-thirds (69 per cent) rated it as ‘good’.
However, those living within three miles (5km) of the coast were slightly more likely to rate their health highly, compared to those living more than 30 miles (50km) inland.
The effect extended to those living in the band 12 to 30 miles (20-50km) from the sea, although less strongly.
Researchers concluded “You don’t have to have a sea view to benefit.”
The results suggested what was important was how often people got to the coast, and how woven it was into their lives.
The study, published in the journal Health and Place, took account of variations in age and wealth between different areas’ populations.
It showed living by the sea most benefits poorer, city-dwelling people – those who, nationally, suffer the worst health and do the least exercise.
Good news for those of us lucky enough to live by the beautiful Aberdeenshire coastline. But even if you don’t, added incentive to go out and make the most of it!
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.
In 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).
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Local events are a great way to bring communities closer together. Whether you want to raise funds for a worthy cause, bring about positive change in your area, celebrate something special or simply get to know your neighbours, a community event can help rally the masses.
A topical one today is the celebration of Robert Burns, born 25th January 1759, who is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. A Burn’s Night can be formal or informal, but most importantly it is a social event and a way for families, friends and communities to come together to enjoy some traditional fayre in the form of haggis (vegetarian options available), tatties & neeps and to celebrate the ‘bard’. However the most important ingredient is to have fun.
So in homes, village halls, hotels & restaurants all over Scotland people and communities will be coming together and enjoying ‘Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race’.
Living in a consumer society we are well versed in paying money and getting goods and services in return, but does this make us less appreciative of what we receive? Do we notice the skills involved in making something, the time & thought that has gone into its creation or listen for all the instruments that make up a tune. If we had to make something from scratch would it make a difference to how we viewed the things around us?
Have a think about all the things that you consume and love. Is it books, music, food, fashion, growing your own vegetables? Maybe you enjoy home cooked food, watching and listening to someone playing the guitar or singing. Or perhaps you admire someone who knows how to code, or builds shelves or fixes cars, but you’ve never thought you’d be able to do something like that.
Consuming is easy. Getting inspired is easy. Following instructions is easy. But when you go from a consumer to a creator, you may start to think about things you never thought about before. Instead of observing and consuming, pick something and try to become the creator yourself. As well as the satisfaction and pride from making something research has shown that creating or tending things by hand makes us happy and enhances mental health. So as the New Year starts why not plan to make something rather than buy it!
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’?