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’?
Mentally strong kids turn into resilient adults who are equipped to tackle whatever life throws their way. Challenges, hardship, and setbacks are inevitable. Teaching kids to build mental muscle can make them resilient. It’s also the key to helping them reach their greatest potential in life.
Here’s three things you can do to help equip your kids for the future.
- Teach your kids to think realistically
Children need to develop healthy self-talk. Simply thinking positive isn’t the solution, this doesn’t prepare children for real-life challenges. A child who can reframe negative thinking by coming up with a solution is more resilient. For example, instead of saying I’m going to fail that physics test, a resilient child will tell herself I can pass this test by
Teach children to challenge their negative thoughts and prove themselves wrong.studying hard and asking for help.
- Teach your kids to manage their emotions
A national university students found that more than 60 percent of young people don’t feel emotionally prepared for the realities of life. They lack the skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions, like loneliness, sadness, and anxiety.
It’s important to educate kids about their emotions and how those emotions influence them. A child who can say, “I’m feeling anxious and that anxiety makes me want to avoid scary things,” will be better equipped to face his fears. He’ll also have a better understanding of how to cope with his emotions and he’ll have more confidence in his ability to handle discomfort. Validate your children’s emotions and teach them they have choices in how they deal with their feelings.
- Teach your kids to take positive action
Thinking realistically and feeling good are only half the battle. Kids also need to take positive action. Unfortunately, many parents are quick to rescue kids from their struggles. Or they micromanage their daily activities. And consequently, kids don’t learn to make healthy choices on their own.
Proactively teach your kids problem-solving skills. Show them they have the power to make a difference in their lives and in other people’s lives.
Flex your mental muscles, it’s worth it.
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.
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?
Twenty-seven percent of children and 61% of adults in Scotland do not meet recommended levels of physical activity. Physical inactivity is known to increase the risk of developing a number of conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer. Walking and cycling for everyday short journeys is the easiest and cheapest way of building more physical activity into busy lives. It helps to protect against physical ill health and helps to maintain good mental health.
Evidence from engagement highlighted the importance within Kincardine & Mearns that communities have the possibility to travel actively, with walking or cycling the most popular choice for shorter everyday journeys. This is why we chose to focus on active travel routes in Kincardine & Mearns, ensuring cycle and footpaths are developed and improved.
Over the next few weeks we will share with you some of the work that is taking place and how we can learn from what others are doing to make life better for all of us.