Community Health

Get Active Outdoors

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Parks, gardens, greenspaces, woodlands and local paths are ideal settings for a spot of green exercise. Perhaps you like to relax by taking a gentle stroll or by tidying up the garden. Maybe cycling to work starts the day on a high note or you look forward to evenings playing sport in the park.

Whatever pace you set yourself, being in the outdoors and getting active is great for your physical and mental health and well-being.

It’s recommended that adults do at least five 30-minute sessions of moderate exercise per week. For children, it’s at least 1 hour every day. Getting active outdoors could be an easy way for you to meet your target.

Learn about green exercise and its benefits.

Step to it

Parks and woods are a brilliant backdrop for your walk, cycle or jog. Soak up the surroundings and say hello to your neighbours as you get your daily dose of green exercise. You can probably reach your favourite local greenspace via a traffic-free route – so you can leave the car at home.

Active travel is another option if you struggle to set aside a specific time for outdoor exercise. Just choose to walk or cycle whenever you have to go somewhere and you’ll soon start to clock up the miles.

Discover your local path network today.

“You don’t have to have a sea view”

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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!

Jewel In The Crown

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In 1930s Britain, lidos and open air pools were incredibly popular. Following a poll of Stonehaven householders in 1933, the Pool was built the following year at a cost of £9,529 and opened on 4th June 1934. Stonehaven Pool was built to competition standards, which at that time were for races of 110 yards and multiples of that, so Stonehaven Pool was, and is, 55 yards long – just a touch over 50m and 20 yards – just over 18m – wide. It was emptied and refilled every few days – at that time, filling took only 2¾ hours. Even considering operating costs and loan charges, the first season brought a large profit. Customer feedback was not all positive and so, for season 1935, not only was the sea water circulated, filtered and disinfected, it was also heated!

During the Second World War, the Pool provided recreation – and showers – for locally-based troops. Following the war, it quickly retained its former glory, and became a major attraction for visitors from a wide area including Aberdeen. Despite changing holiday habits in the 1960s and 70s, and the Pool requiring considerable work, attendances were still healthy, with 65,000 passing through the turnstiles in 1975, although that was a season of many lost days due to technical problems.

For a few seasons, the Pool was actually filled with fresh water because of problems with the sea inlet; however seawater – one of the Pool’s main attractions – was in use again for 1982, and has been used ever since. The 1980s and 90s saw a decline in numbers, seasons were cut to 8 weeks, and by the mid-1990s the Pool was threatened with closure. This prompted the founding of a community group, The Friends of Stonehaven Open Air Pool, initially to lobby for its retention. The Friends of Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool is now a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) and works in close partnership with Aberdeenshire Council. While the Council operates the Pool to the highest standards, the Friends maintain, enhance and promote the Pool.

Today the Pool is the focal point of Stonehaven’s summer and is an asset not only for the town and Aberdeenshire but also for Scotland. Only one other open air pool of the era still operates in Scotland, largely serving a local population, while the Stonehaven Pool is acknowledged as a 4-star Visitor Attraction and brings visitors from far and wide.

 

http://www.stonehavenopenairpool.co.uk/history.html

Carers Week 11th – 17th June 2018

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Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

Quarriers – Aberdeenshire Carer Support Service are hosting a series of promotional events during Carers Week, in partnership with Aberdeenshire Library and Information Service (ALIS).  Libraries will display the winning entries from the recent adult carer poetry and photography competitions and Quarriers staff will be going on tour with the central and south mobile library buses to reach out to hidden carers in rural areas.  A presentation booklet of the winning entries and details on where unpaid carers can get support will be available for the public to take away.  If you would like to find out the routes on their tour please visit:

Mobile Library Central – www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/media/22122/m1-central-mar-jun-2018.pdf

Mobile Library South – www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/media/22123/m4-south-mar-jun-2018.pdf

Can the urban forest promote mental wellbeing?

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Urban trees mitigate many negative environmental impacts such as the heat island effect, flooding and air pollution, thus having many indirect health and well being benefits. However, a growing body of research tells us that urban trees or nature may have an effect on our health and mental well being too.

The research undertaken suggests that experiencing and viewing nature initiates the physiological and psychological responses that underpin recovery from stress. There was a strong belief from the participants in both the
power of the surrounding environment and trees and nature to have beneficial effects on mental well being. Only 6.5% of all participants disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement ‘Trees and nature make me calm and relaxed’. Additionally, it was found that nearby residential trees may provide beneficial in improving mental well being for more disadvantaged socio-economic groups.  All food for thought in the development of housing in the future, not only stressing the importance of affordability, but also interaction with its natural surroundings.

Thank you for your support to end child poverty

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If you haven’t already seen them, have a look at these animations. Talented students from the London College of Communication interpreted children’s experiences of poverty and made some very powerful short films. They show clearly why we’re needed, and why your support is so important.

Child Poverty Action Group

Youth Loneliness

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You’re not supposed to feel lonely while you’re young, but the truth is it’s a bigger concern among young people than any other age group.

In recent years youth loneliness and isolation has been increasingly identified as a matter of significant public concern. Research identifies that one in three young people suffer from loneliness (Red Cross, Co-op, Kantar, 2016) and 65% of 16-25 years old reporting feeling loneliness at times and 32% feeling lonely “often” or “all the time” (Majoribanks and Bradley, 2017).

“Loneliness is a recognised problem among the elderly – there are day centres and charities to help them,” says Sam Challis, an information manager at the mental health charity Mind, “but when young people reach 21 they’re too old for youth services.”

But what can young people do to combat loneliness? 

While meditation techniques such as mindfulness and apps such as Headspace are trendy solutions frequently recommended for a range of mental health problems, they’re not necessarily helpful for loneliness, as they actively encourage us to dwell alone on our thoughts. You’re be better off addressing the underlying causes of being lonely first – what’s stopping you going out and seeing people?

Social media can be helpful. Helplines can also reduce loneliness, at least in the short term. One in four men who call the Samaritans mention loneliness or isolation, and Get Connected is a free confidential helpline for young people, where they can seek help with emotional and mental health issues often linked to loneliness. There are also support services on websites such as Mind’s that can remind you you’re not alone. Speak to your employer, value the interactions you have in the workplace. Counselling can be helpful. The BACP website allows you to search for counsellors in your area. “A problem aired is a problem shared and sometimes you need to talk to someone impartial and independent of your friends and family.

If recent research is to be believed, loneliness is killing the elderly and, with an ageing population, we should aim to reduce our isolation before it is too late. “Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting lonelier,” says Ruth Sutherland, the chief executive of Relate, in a new report. “But much of this rests on laying the foundations to good-quality relationships earlier in life.”