health improvement

Kincardine & Mearns Mental Health & Wellbeing E Bulletin #1May

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A chance to share what we know about mental health & wellbeing in K & M.

Welcome to the first K & M Mental Health & Wellbeing E Bulletin. In partnership with our colleagues in Public Health we want to share with you each month information, education & links affecting everyone’s mental health and wellbeing. We hope you enjoy and feed back any suggestions or information of your own you would like to share.

 

Not in the same boat, but we are in the same ocean!

You might have heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. For some, lockdown is a chore to be endured.  For others, this is a time of desperate financial & family crisis.

For some that live alone, they’re facing endless loneliness. While for others, it is peace, rest & time with family. 

Everyone faces the current Covid-19 pandemic in their own way.

Interested, click below to access the full bulletin. Please note,

Kincardine and Deeside Befriending is closely following advice provided by the NHS and the UK government regarding the Coronavirus outbreak.

From Monday 16 March, all face to face befriending visits will temporarily stop until further notice.

The health and wellbeing of befrienders and befriendees continues to remain the priority throughout this unprecedented situation.

They continue to follow government guidelines closely and will advise when visits can re-commence. We appreciate this is a difficult time and we thank everyone for their co-operation and understanding. The information in the bulletin relates to non-Covid operations.

https://mailchi.mp/7fa5dd0258da/k-m-mental-health-wellbeing-e-bulletin-4179885

Kincardine and Mearns COVID-19 E-Bulletin Edition #6

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This bulletin continues to focus on what is currently happening or in place locally as a result of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

This includes sections which will signpost you to official guidance, changes in service provision, local health and wellbeing providers, community resilience, support and advice.
*Please check each section for new and updated information*

Guidance

Links to national and local guidance

*NEW* NHS Grampian Covid-19 Website
A new website has beeen created for healthcare staff and the general public to stay informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This is not a replacement of NHS Inform (detailed further below) – please still use it for any health advice or information.  Instead it aims to let people know what we are doing in Grampian during the pandemic.  The site is being regularly updated and we would welcome feedback on the content – details of how to provide this are on the site.  https://covid19.nhsgrampian.org/
*NEW* Cyber Resilience Guidance
The Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience Unit is producing a regular ‘Cyber Resilience Notice’ for business organisations, public sector organisations, charities and the general public.  As a result of the significant rise in Covid-19 related scams, over the next few months important information will be shared from trusted sources.
The information notices are posted on this webpage.  The most recent notice is from 23rd April and includes information on how to spot suspicious emails (phishing), and up-to-date information on scams.

Other Scams Information
Trading Standards Scotland “Scam Share” looks at some of the most recent scams which have been reported by consumers across Scotland, including those related to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Cyber criminals are taking advantage of people’s uncertainty around developments relating to the pandemic. There are weekly e-bulletins that you can subscribe to.

Social Distancing for Volunteers
Volunteers who are delivering essential items (food, medicines etc) to vulnerable people who are self-isolating need to keep in mind the need for social distancing.  Every effort should be made whilst shopping or picking up medicines to keep as far as possible 2 metres (about 6 feet) away from other people.  Further social distancing guidance for volunteers is available here.
Guidance for Home Learning
The Scottish Government has published “Supporting Pupils, Parents and Teachers – learning during term 4” to provide support as the school closures continue.
Scottish Domestic Abuse Campaign
A national campaign to highlight support from those suffering from domestic abuse has been relaunched and runs to 17th May.  Visit Safer.Scot to find out the support available to those who may not be safe at home during the lockdown / social distancing period.
Supporting Migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds
This document from COSLA provides guidance for local decision-making on supporting people (particularly migrant workers) with no recourse to public funds during the Covid-19 period.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance

As we all deal with a number of questions around Coronavirus (COVID-19), we felt it would be useful to provide you with links where guidance can be sought.  The role of the Council in this event is one of signposting to appropriate advice. Please signpost anyone with concerns to the latest national guidance below.

Scottish Government Guidance
The Scottish Government’s website has published a page with what you need to know about the Coronavirus in Scotland. This includes advice for access rights, health, travel, service provision as well as the Scottish Government’s action plan and what they are doing.  Information on funding to be provided by the Scottish Government was also published.

NHS Inform 
The NHS Inform page on Coronavirus contains frequently asked questions and advice including diagnosing symptoms, what to do if you think you have symptoms, whether people you live with need to take any action and anything else you can do to prepare. There is also a helpline and further information links including guides in British Sign Language and easy-read advice.

Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub

A new website and phoneline have been launched, providing people across Grampian with information on how to access social, practical and emotional support on Coronavirus (COVID-19).  The website can be found at www.GCAH.org.uk, and provides links to services and information across three local authorities.  The phoneline number is 0808 196 3384 (8am-8pm 7 days a week).
Aberdeenshire Council Guidance
Aberdeenshire Council have published information regarding the Coronavirus outbreak including advice, guidance and links. This includes up to date information on health/hygiene, travel, events, community groups, businesses, sports/leisure facilities, registrars and council offices.
There are also separate pages dedicated to:
• Schools and learning
• Waste and recycling
• Registrars service
Support for businesses
Please also find guidance on Covid-19 in other languages – Romanian, Lithuanian, Polish, Latvian and the English version.
Guidance for People with Dementia and Carers
The Dementia Advisor for South and Central Aberdeenshire can offer support and advice locally – contact 07769 366 175 or MCorbett@alzscot.org.  At present, one to one video calls are being offered as well as the usual phone calls.  The Alzheimer Scotland website https://www.alzscot.org/ has some very good information on it about dealing with things during the Coronavirus lock down such as carer stress, activities and preparing to go into hospital and these particular items can be found on this page https://www.alzscot.org/information-during-coronavirus.
*UPDATED* Please Dispose of Waste Responsibly

Aberdeenshire Council
With recycling centres and seasonal garden waste collection points suspended due to Coronavirus (Covid-19), Aberdeenshire Council is asking residents to follow Government guidance and manage their waste responsibly during this difficult time.

Residents should not be tempted to burn their waste or resort to fly-tipping.  For further background, guidance and key tips for maximising space in your bins, please read the council’s website article.

Zero Waste Scotland
Information is also available on the Zero Waste Scotland website.

Service Changes

The following is a non-exhaustive list of major changes in service. Please follow the links and stay up to date with information from official sources.

*UPDATED* Business Delivery Register
Please see below a link to a site that has been created to allow all businesses to add their details of deliveries or shop openings within Aberdeenshire. Please click the link and add your business if appropriate. http://deliverrural.org.uk/add-business-form/

Please be advised that businesses information cannot be loaded onto the website unless they complete the registration form.  The link for doing that is near the bottom of the page – clicking here should take your direct to the correct for easiness.

*NEW* Tenancy Services
The council’s tenancy services are communicating by telephone or email with our tenants as the office is closed. We have called all tenants who are aged 70 and over in our area. The tenants are coping really well and were generally very happy to receive the call. We are now calling single occupants aged between 16 to 69. There over 1000 of these and some tenants need help and guidance of where to get what they need. We have been giving them the Assistance Hub number.

Rent arrears colleagues have been helping tenants with Universal Credit claims and advice.  A current issue is that there is nowhere in Newtonhill to top up meter keys. Options have been suggested and are being looked into.

Local Businesses – Delivery Services
Please find information on local businesses offering delivery services at this time. (This word document will download)
NHS Grampian – Operation Rainbow
NHS Grampian have developed a short film from NHS Grampian shows Nick Fluck, Medical Director and Caroline Hiscox, Nurse Director talking about Operation Rainbow. Operation Rainbow is our plan for COVID-19. It covers every part of the health service and every aspect of care. It is very detailed because the situation we are experiencing is new and we have had to change and adapt very quickly. This video explains how these changes will affect you – and how you can help us.

If you have any questions, please email gram-uhb.publichealth@nhs.net
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZK_19Uyupg&feature=youtu.be

NHS Grampian – Essential visits onlyThe rules for visiting patients in NHS hospitals have changed during the coronavirus outbreak.  To protect patients and staff, and prevent the spread of coronavirus, hospital visiting will be restricted to essential visits only.  You can find specific health advice on coronavirus here.

Short Survey – Police Scotland
Police Scotland are conducting a survey which aims to capture people’s feeling of safety and any concerns they have which can be addressed operationally and through information campaigns. The survey will also capture feedback from those who have been in contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete can be accessed via the link below.
https://consult.scotland.police.uk/surveys/your-police-2020-2021
Post Office: Ask-a-friend cash access scheme extended
Anyone who cannot leave home may be able to ask a trusted friend or volunteer to withdraw cash at any Post Office using a single-use voucher.The Post Office scheme is being extended and offered to all banks, building societies and credit unions. For more information please visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52229698
Aberdeenshire Educational Psychology
Please view the new Aberdeenshire Educational Psychology website, which provides advice and resources for supporting children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Grampian Credit Union – for members
We are open each weekday Monday to Friday, from 10.00am to 2.00pm until further notice.
We continue to be available for our members living or working throughout Aberdeenshire to access their savings or lending.

Contact us by phone, email, website or post to our office in Aberdeen as follows:
Office:   250 Union Street, Aberdeen AB10 1TN
Phone:   01224 561506 (can leave message)
Email:     admin@grampiancreditunion.co.uk
Website: www.grampiancreditunion.co.uk

We are here to assist our Aberdeenshire members – check our website for latest service information.

Live Life Aberdeenshire – Facilities, Activities and Payments
LLA sports and cultural facilities have suspended services and closed facilities to the public as of 19th March. Closures include swimming pools, libraries, museums and aquariums; and the Active Schools programme, Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and all activities and events are suspended or cancelled until further notice. LLA will be suspending all Direct Debits for Active Aberdeenshire members. No payments will be taken in April and May. Please bear with staff as they continue to work behind the scenes, answer customer enquiries as quickly as possible and in some cases assigned to support other critical Council services.
AHSCP – Learning Disability & Older Adults Day Services Suspended
Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership has taken the difficult decision to suspend Learning Disability and Older Adults Day Services and Respite Services for the foreseeable future. Social Work Teams will be in contact with service users and their families as soon as they possibly can to provide support, information and advice.
Community Resilience
Residents are working together to support our communities in this time of need with help like mutual aid groups or volunteer transport/deliveries.

If you are on Facebook, the pages below are a good way to stay informed about what is happening in your community as well as to keep in touch with neighbours and fellow residents, especially if you are isolated.

Community Pages and Mutual Aid/New Groups in K&M
Please be aware that these are informal groups/pages which are moderated by local residents and can be to promote communities, highlight information or to keep in touch with other residents. This list is not exhaustive. Please get in touch to let us know if you wish your group to be included in future editions.

Catterline & Kinneff – https://www.facebook.com/groups/488545805366051/
Newtonhill –
https://www.facebook.com/Newtonhill-Areas-Covid-19-Community-Help-106127777685822/?hc_location=group
Portlethen Coronavirus Community Care –https://www.facebook.com/groups/220991955621863/?hc_location=group
What’s On Bervie – https://www.facebook.com/Inverbervie/
Covid 19 – Helping Stonehaven https://www.facebook.com/groups/2520646894864553/
Stonehaven Lions – https://www.facebook.com/StonehavenLionsClub/
Stonehaven Round Table – https://www.facebook.com/StonehavenRT/
What’s on Johnshaven – https://www.facebook.com/johnshaveninfo/
Durris & Drumoak Community Group –
https://www.facebook.com/drumoakdurriscommunitydeesideddcg/
Auchenblae Support Group – Covid-19 –
https://www.facebook.com/groups/218557055882413/?ref=group_header

Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub – Volunteers
Please be aware that if you’d like to offer to volunteer, you need to register on hub. The website can be found at www.GCAH.org.uk, and the phoneline number is 0808 196 3384 (8am-8pm 7 days a week).
Mearns & Coastal Healthy Living Network Update
Following government guidelines, we have cancelled all groups and events. We will still be offering the following services:
• Transport service for healthcare appointments.
• Home delivery shopping service, to include prescriptions and Post Office pickups.
• Telephone contact service.
• Garden maintenance.

For more information about any of these services please call the office on 01561 378130. We will continue to monitor the situation and advise of any changes. We provide volunteer-led services to improve the health and wellbeing of older people; these include help with shopping, transport and gardening. ​Please contact us if you can help with volunteering for any of the above services.

Community Councils
There are also 12 Community Councils which cover the Kincardine and Mearns area of Aberdeenshire. You can find contact details for each Community Council here.
Support
Groups and organisations are continuing to operate throughout the pandemic, offering critical support and services.
*NEW* British Sign Language (BSL) Support
contactSCOTLAND-BSL is a Scottish Government service that connects deaf BSL users throughout Scotland through an online BSL interpreting video relay service (VRS) with all of Scotland’s public authorities and voluntary organisations (Third Sector) and now beyond.
*NEW* Support for hearing-impaired and speech-impaired
Relay UK brings relay services for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and speech-impaired people right up to date with the latest app technology.  You don’t need any special kit – just download the app from the App Store or Google Play onto your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Young Scot
The weeks and months ahead will be incredibly challenging. Here at Young Scot, we are refocusing our core services and continuing to provide young people with the information and services they need during these unsettling times.
To our partners, please get in touch if we can support you.
Scarf
Scarf offers free and impartial advice services to help households manage and reduce their fuel bills. Advice includes:
– Access to grants and schemes and information for households most at risk
– Advice on how to keep your energy bills under control
– Understanding of your fuel bills and energy use
– Help to top up your meter
– Information/referrals to other projects offering support and advice

Call freephone 0808 808 2282 to speak to a local advisor. For more information visit https://www.scarf.org.uk/householder/.

My Life Dynamic
My Life Dynamic are continuing to offer services remotely via telephone sessions or video calls. Anyone in Aberdeenshire who is aged between 16 and 65 can self-refer by contacting us on 0300 1234 677 or by emailing enquiries@mylifedynamic.org.uk. More information on the services we provide can be found at [www.mylifedynamic.org.uk.%20]www.mylifedynamic.org.uk.
We have had to postpone our Living Life to the Full groups and workshops but will reschedule these when it is safe to do so.
Pillar Kincardine
Pillar Kincardine is offering a mental health telephone helpline from Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.  Call them on 01569 767222 for emotional support, signposting and practical advice.
Kincardineshire Development Partnership (KDP)
KDP is the local Rural Partnership for K&M. Whilst unable to offer face to face meetings at the moment they are continuing to offer the same help and support to community groups and organisations. Recognising the amazing support being offered by communities at this time, they have produced an interactive map of Community Support.
Links to all six Rural Partnerships in Aberdeenshire, including KDP, can be found here.
The Samaritans
The Samaritans website outlines good practical coping strategies and what to do if you are worried about a friend or relatives emotional wellbeing.  Their free helpline is available on 116 123.
Mental Health Aberdeen
As a result of the current lock down people may feel that their mental health is being affected. Also, those with existing mental health issues may find this stressful situation is making them worse. For anyone experiencing distress of any kind Mental Health Aberdeen have launched a new helpline. Call 01224 573892. Every helpline ‘open session’ will be staffed by an Information Officer who can give practical advice and also signpost callers to additional services. The opening hours will be as follows:

Monday  10am – 1pm  2pm- 5pm  6pm – 8pm
Tuesday  10am – 1pm  2pm- 5pm  Closed
Wednesday  10am – 1pm  2pm- 5pm  6pm – 8pm
Thursday  10am – 1pm  2pm- 5pm  Closed
Friday  10am – 1pm  Closed  Closed
Aberdeenshire Alcohol & Drugs Partnership
Aberdeenshire ADP’s recovery cafes and community groups/activities are suspended for the time being. ADP are developing alternative opportunities for peer connections and support via telephone and online. Please view these links to the ADP Central Forum facebook page which details:
Phone and Online Recovery Resources
Online Recovery Group Activities Timetable
If you would like to become part of a phone and virtual peer recovery community network or if you would like to volunteer to contact and support folk, please read this post or email Susan Weetman at centralabdn.forum@hotmail.com
Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action
While AVA wont be able to do face to face meetings or drop-in surgeries until further notice, their Development Officers are still working and offering the same range of services. You can contact your Development Officer by phone, email or even through skype, FaceTime or Zoom. AVA is funded to support community and voluntary organisations, including groups that have formed very recently because of COVID-19. AVA can help your group to establish itself, search for funding and promote its services: For more information please visit https://www.avashire.org.uk/new-groups.html and for information on funding for your group, please visit  https://www.avashire.org.uk/funding.html.  You can also continue to contact AVA by phone on 03718 110008 (Mon-Thur, 1000-1400hrs) or email them at [enquiries@avashire.org.uk]enquiries@avashire.org.uk. Please also view AVA’s April Newsletter.
Scottish Community Development Centre
Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) is working closely with government and the NHS nationally in offering assistance to community organisations and local partnerships to make what contributions they can to the current situation. This includes the following online resources:

Aberdeenshire Employment Support Team
The Employment Support Team have suspended their job clubs and face to face services until further notice. Key workers are still available to offer 1 to 1 support via phone, email or skype. Please get in touch through their page or by emailing. The team will arrange for a key worker to get in touch for you.
Scottish Rural Action
Scottish Rural Action have added a new page to their website that will collate sources of information and advice in one place. This can be found at the top of their home page. Their website will be updated regularly as new information, advice and sources of funding are published.

Scottish Rural Action is compiling examples of how different communities are dealing with the challenges presented by Covid-19. If you would like to share examples of what your community is doing, please send information or direct links to information on your website. You can send these by email to SRA on info@sra.scot.

Invest Aberdeen
Invest Aberdeen have uploaded a great informational page for what we currently know for businesses at this difficult time. A snapshot of details of Government and other Agency support, business rate flexibility, insurance, funding and specific relaxations for pubs and restaurants. You’ll appreciate that things are changing fast and we don’t know all of the answers yet but we’ll do our best to keep you informed.
Funding
Please find information on sources of funding below.
*NEW* Comprehensive List of Funding Sources
AVA has recently developed a file of Covid-19 funding information that can be downloaded and shared. It will be updated on a weekly basis and will show funds that are open at the time of publishing. You can download the file by clicking here.

The funding information previously listed here is contained within the above list.

*NEW* Hardship Fund for Self-Employed
A new Scottish Government grant hardship fund is now open for applications from individuals who recently became self-employed.  The £34 million fund launched today with Aberdeenshire being allocated around £1.8 million.  Eligible applicants can apply for a £2,000 grant.  Please find more information here.
Advice
New advice is being published regularly to help everyone ranging from benefits advice, scam awareness, helping stay connected and more.
Clear Your Head
These are worrying and uncertain times. The coronavirus outbreak has changed daily life for us all in Scotland and has had a real impact on how many of us are feeling. It’s ok to not feel yourself right now, and Healthier Scotland have some great tips to help get you through it – view the information here.
SCVO
Click on the logo below to find useful links from the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.
Emergency Numbers for Gas, Electricity and Water
Gas
National Gas Emergency Tel 0800 111999
Electricity
North of Scotland – Scottish & Southern Energy Networks Tel 0800 300999
National Power Cut Number Tel 105
Water
Scottish Water 0800 0778778
Scottish Enterprise – Advice for Businesses
Scottish Enterprise have opened a helpline for businesses concerned about Coronavirus on 0300 303 0660 (Mon-Fri, 8:30 to 17:30). They have also pulled information together for businesses on their Find Business Support website available here.
FAQs
*UPDATED 30-04* We have received various queries through colleagues and have developed a Frequently Asked Questions document to assist you with these.  These FAQs will change to reflect national and local guidance.
Portlethen Covid-19 Group Video Clip

Please find below a link to a video clip describing how the group came about and the community effort involved.  Inspirational stuff from a Community Group offering help to those vulnerable during this scary time of Coronavirus.

YouTube Video Clip (3 mins)

‘Respitality’

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Do you know a local business that could offer services to carers?

Aberdeenshire Council’s and Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s approach to supporting carers is being boosted by local hospitality providers.

A pilot ‘Respitality’ project which began in central Aberdeenshire towards the end of last year sees local businesses asked if they would like to support the wellbeing of both young people and adults who have a caring role by offering short breaks, spa treatments, leisure passes, dining experiences and a range of other offerings either free of charge or at a discounted rate.

Similar projects elsewhere in Scotland have proven to be very successful and a new respitality project worker commissioned by the Council and employed by leading social care charity Quarriers been charged with making links with local businesses keen to participate.

Having secured four three-month gym memberships as the first donation for the project, respitality support worker Ann Brodie explained: “I recently approached Energie Fitness in Inverurie to see if they would like to be the first gifter for the project. They were really open to the idea of respitality and how a donation from their business could help to improve a carer’s health and wellbeing. Their gym promotes a friendly, warm atmosphere and their knowledgeable staff support people to achieve their personal goals so it’s just a perfect fit. They’re delighted to be giving back to the community at the same time as promoting health and fitness and I hope it will encourage other businesses to consider taking part too.”

The Scottish Government recognises the need for all those who have a caring role to benefit from regular opportunities for respite to support their own wellbeing, and in turn the wellbeing of those they are caring for. As such, national targets have been set for increasing the number of opportunities available in different local areas, and additional funding has been provided.

Quarriers are already commissioned by the Council to provide support services to carers, and this has brought about an expansion of their existing contract. While this project will see them being able to look into respite options, their family wellbeing workers can also assess carers’ needs and provide information, advice and signposting; offer 1:1 and group support for carers; deliver training on topics such as moving and handling or epilepsy awareness; and run events. They can also help with accessing self-directed support budgets so carers get what they need to make caring easier.

Chair of the Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee, Cllr Gillian Owen commented: “We recognise that any carer needs breathing space and our approach is about enabling that, particularly when we’re talking about young carers’ who also have their education and personal and social development to think about. Support comes in many forms and we hope that this respitality project will inspire local businesses to lend a hand in offering some much needed VIP treatment.”

Vice Chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “Changing the perception of what it means to be a carer is also very important to us. Not all carers are looking after those with a physical disability, for example, and their circumstances are very wide ranging. Quarriers focus on understanding your caring role and then working with you to find out how we can support you to continue that important role.”

Aberdeenshire Council has responsibility for providing social care services to young people (up to 18 years of age) while Aberdeenshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership coordinates provision for adults.

A Young Carer Strategy was introduced by the Council in 2018 in line with the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 and set out a number of ambitious plans to make a difference, including the Respitality project. A Young Carers Statement is now provided to all young carers who request one detailing any need for additional support in helping to ensure their wellbeing.

The overall number of young carers receiving support in Aberdeenshire has increased since the strategy was implemented, and Quarriers are typically supporting around 200 young people at any one time. As part of the wider strategy, council officers have also been involving young carers directly in developing a suite of information to support others in similar circumstances.

Adult carers are supported with an Adult Carers Support Plan. For further information and advice, any carer (regardless of their age) can contact Quarriers. They are commissioned to deliver support in this area and will begin by asking if you wish to register with the service.

Visit: https://quarriers.org.uk/how-we-help/north-east-services/

Read the rest of this entry »

“Gie it a Go”

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Give the gift of health, wellbeing and fun this Christmas – “Gie it a Go” package offers range of sports and cultural activities

A fantastic suite of offers encouraging people in Aberdeenshire to “Gie it a Go” has been launched in time for Christmas.

Know someone who would like to learn to swim, but doesn’t know where to start? Or perhaps try indoor rock climbing for the first time in a safe environment?

Maybe the special someone in your life would prefer the chance to research their family history, learn about 3D printing or try spin or bootcamp exercise classes?

These experiences and a large range of other sporting and cultural activities can be packaged together for one great price with “Gie it a Go”.

As the name suggests, it’s designed to let people try a wide range of activities in local communities provided by Live Life Aberdeenshire.

Maybe you want to try the experiences yourself – you don’t have to let someone else have all the fun! For £20 you or the person you gift to can pick three activities from a menu which is growing all the time.

Other activities include the chance for four people to record their favourite karaoke track in one of our recording studios or an introduction to cross country skiing.

You could even choose a drawing/painting taster session or get an in-depth tour of Macduff Marine Aquarium.

Gift cards can be printed off to be included in a Christmas card or stocking and redeemed online.

For those who may not feel confident trying some of the activities, the great thing is that they will usually be joining others in the same situation as them.

To explore the activities on offer and buy in time for Christmas in our easy-to-use online portal, see: http://bit.ly/GieItAGo

Green Infrastructure

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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 importance of dignity

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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 »

How have you experienced Dementia support across Aberdeenshire?

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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”

 

 Public events;

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 integration@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

Online survey;

https://aberdeenshirehscp.limequery.org/489997?lang=en

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.