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Home to over half of the planet’s population, urban areas are responsible for a significant proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions.
What is green infrastructure and why is it important?
Green infrastructure is defined as a “planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services”. This term incorporates a huge variety of different ecosystems from parks, playing fields and woodlands to community gardens, green roofs and street planters. These spaces facilitate physical activity, relaxation and can be a refuge from the noisy city. Green spaces help to foster biodiversity and provide safe routes for people walking and cycling through the city thus contributing positively to population health. In fact, estimates show that physical inactivity, linked to poor walkability and lack of access to recreational areas, accounts for 3.3% of global deaths.
There is robust evidence to support the claim that green space has a positive impact on people’s wellbeing with features such as parks, rivers and trees creating more liveable and pleasing urban environments. Research has shown that having access to green space can reduce health inequalities, improve well-being and aid in the treatment of mental illness.
Importantly, green spaces also help to regulate the impacts of harmful emissions in the city. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and help to filter out harmful pollution while urban waterways such as lakes, rivers or even fountains moderate temperature and together with vegetation, play a vital role in cooling cities. In some areas, it has been estimated that evapotranspiration (the process of converting water in leaves to water vapor which is then transpired through the trees) can reduce peak summer temperatures by 5°C. Additionally, green spaces provide areas where runoff interception can occur, thus reducing the likelihood of flooding, an issue particularly pertinent to Scotland where winter rainfall is expected to increase between 10-35% in some areas.
Supporting the development of green infrastructure is becoming an even more prominent part of urban policymaking across the world. From street planters to citizen gardening, the following section describes a couple of examples in which local authorities in Scotland are helping to create healthier, greener cities. Read the rest of this entry »
The Scottish Government announced it was bringing forward a new Scottish Child Payment, worth £10 per week per eligible child under six, with the aim of lifting 30,000 children out of poverty by 2023-24. COSLA welcomed the news. In addition, a new Access to Childcare Fund will establish new projects across Scotland to deliver more affordable out-of-school care for low income families over a two-year period starting in April 2020.
Funding has also been confirmed for councils and charities to give children from low income families meals and a place to play during the school holidays. Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) will deliver this ‘Food and Fun’ programme locally working in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, AFC Community Trust, Sport Aberdeen and others. (Source: Scot Gov)
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
Preserving dignity looks like it is being built into the design Scotland’s new social security system. It’s also the phrase that was at the heart of work undertaken by the Poverty Truth Commission and Nourish Scotland on the community provision of food. Consideration of how something might impact on a person’s dignity, could really transform the way we think about the delivery of public services. Here’s a great example of a community project in Aberdeen which tackles food poverty but always with a keen eye on preserving the dignity of those they serve.
A basket full of high-quality food for £2.50 may seem too good to be true – but that’s now the reality for shoppers at Scotland’s first food pantry.
The Woodside Pantry in Aberdeen provides people living in one of the city’s most disadvantaged areas a way to shop for a lot less.
It is an innovative, community-run project. The aim is to combat food poverty, and it has been hailed as a sustainable alternative to food bank use.
“I can get some really good healthy food at a very reasonable price”
For a small weekly charge, members get access to food donated by supermarkets and a local charity. Clare Whyte, one of the workers at the community centre where the pantry is based, told BBC Scotland’s The Nine: “Food banks are not a long-term solution. It’s an emergency food service, really.
“This could be a way to reduce food waste which is massive and a huge issue as we know and also tackle food poverty at the same time.
Food parcels from food banks are often only available to people who have been referred by frontline professionals like GPs or advice agencies. But membership of the Woodside Pantry was initially open to anyone living in the immediate area around the Fersands and Fountain Community Centre, where the project is based. It proved so popular that the catchment area has now been widened and the membership cap extended. Almost half of the people using the service receive benefits or Jobseeker’s Allowance. A quarter of the users are single parents. There are now 83 households with membership to the pantry, and more than 200 local residents – including children – are directly benefitting.
“I can get some very good, healthy food at a very reasonable price,” said Margaret Aisbitt, who was one of the first to sign up. Read the rest of this entry »
Legislation has been officially lodged at the Scottish Parliament to ensure free access to sanitary products for all women. Labour MSP Monica Lennon said her member’s bill aimed to make Scotland a “world leader” in tackling period poverty. It would make it a statutory requirement for schools, colleges and universities to provide such items. The Scottish government has pledged £4m to boost provision in public buildings.
Here in K & M, we were fortunate to have Christine McLean along to a Welfare & Wellbeing Network meeting from CFine to discuss her work on period poverty. In a nutshell, ‘Period poverty’ refers to having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. Something that many of us are lucky enough to probably take for granted.
The Scottish Government asked CFINE to operate and coordinate a pilot scheme for six months in 2017-18 through which sanitary products were made available free to all those on low incomes who need them, including any gender categories in need.
Access to Sanitary Products pilot operated in Aberdeen’s regeneration areas through partner organisations. A wide range of community and voluntary organisations supported the pilot, along with the local authority and educational institutions including; schools, colleges and universities.
It has ended in a huge success with over 1,000 people signing up to receive sanitary products. As a result of the success, The Scottish Government has allocated funding to roll-out the distribution of free sanitary products to those in need widely across Scotland, including Aberdeen via the FareShare network.
So, how does this impact in K & M?
What Christine hopes to do is to extend this service into Aberdeenshire. To enable this to happen, a hub for delivery of bulk pallets of the sanitary products needs to be identified which could serve a wider area. For example, in K & M there would be one main hub which would then distribute more widely over the area. Further distribution could be by groups picking up products for a specific settlement and then delivering to all outlets, or encouraging others to collect them. A record is kept of numbers of products distributed to provide tangible evidence of the need for this service and service continuance.
Think you can help out? Get in touch and we will pass on your ideas.
Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with Dementia? Do you support someone who is currently living with Dementia? If so then we need to hear from you!
The Aberdeenshire Health & Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) is currently in the early stages of developing an Aberdeenshire wide Dementia Strategy and is looking to hear from people affected by Dementia.
To support people with lived experience to tell us about their Dementia journey, we have developed a series of ‘Village Storytelling’ events. Developed in partnership with The Village Storytelling Centre and delivered by colleagues across the health and social care partnership and third sector, sessions will allow those taking part tell their story in a safe and supported environment.
Chair of the Integration Joint Board (IJB) Rhona Atkinson, said, “This strategy will set out how the Partnership supports those living with Dementia and their families over the next 5 years. It is such an important area for us, so it is vital that we understand what support people need, when they need it, what is working well and not so well, now.
“The team working on the strategy have set out a great way to support those who are already living with dementia to participate through the Storytelling sessions and I would urge anyone who is able to come along and join in”
Vice Chair of the IJB, Cllr Anne Stirling, said, “We need to hear from everyone, people with a diagnosis, Unpaid Carers, Volunteers, Third Sector Organisations, family members, professionals; everyone! Whether you do this through the storytelling sessions or through the online survey the team will support you to participate in a way that works for you”
Dementia Storytelling session (Peterhead) – 3rd July 2019, tickets can be booked via – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dementia-storytelling-session-peterhead-tickets-63109065915
Dementia Storytelling session (Inverurie) – 4th July 2019, – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dementia-storytelling-session-inverurie-tickets-63107832225
Dementia Storytelling session (Stonehaven) – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dementia-storytelling-session-stonehaven-tickets-63109373836
In addition to the public events any groups or care settings who would wish to hold their own storytelling session are invited to request one via email@example.com
The feedback gathered from the ‘Village Storytelling’ sessions and the survey will be used to develop and inform a draft strategy which will be widely consulted on prior to being finally agreed by the IJB.
Good news for those communities with a hankering to visit another community where something of particular interest to them is happening, the Community Learning Exchange is once again open for business. These small awards that pay for travel and subsistence and a host fee, have proved very popular and effective – low on cost, high on impact. What is certainly true is that there is very little that is truly new under the sun and there’s no point in reinventing the wheel. There’s also much to be gained from learning from your peers.
The Community Learning Exchange is a fantastic opportunity for communities to learn through the exchange of ideas and the sharing of common solutions. When community groups make visits to other communities, the most valuable part is often meeting new people with similar interests and gaining new insights and perspectives on shared challenges. Visiting groups come away armed with new ideas and approaches, and host organisations have the opportunity to explain their project to a new and interested audience, often seeing their own projects afresh through new eyes.
What will the exchange fund?
The Exchange will fund up to 100% of the costs of a visit by members of one community to another community project up to a limit of £750, including a host fee. In exceptional circumstances (where travel distances are greater or certain aspects of the visit are particularly expensive) this limit can be increased. Similarly, visits out with Scotland, but within the UK, will be considered where a similar project does not exist in Scotland.
The Exchange will also fund follow up support between organisations. This might be as a result of a learning visit when it is recognised that more specific and on-going help, support, or advice is required. This can be through face-to-face meetings, by phone, e-mail, or skype. Funding for this kind of additional support will need to be negotiated separately.
How to apply
The Exchange operates primarily through the networks that comprise the Scottish Community Alliance. The exception to this rule are Scotland’s community councils. Since the demise of the Association of Scottish Community Councils, there has been no umbrella body for community councils.
Applications to the Exchange are processed through one or other of the networks’ designated members of staff. The exception to this rule are community councils who should apply directly to the Exchange Coordinators. Applications can be made at any time for visits throughout 2019 and up until March 2020. Funding is limited, and once it has been committed no further applications will be accepted.
Please remember, applications must be endorsed by a network that is a member of SCA unless your organisation is a community council.