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Kincardine & Mearns Mental Health & Wellbeing E Bulletin #3 July 2020

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A chance to share what we know about mental health & wellbeing
in K & M.
Welcome to the third K & M Mental Health & Wellbeing E Bulletin. This month a closer look at the support for teens, students and school leavers.

Of those aged 16 to 29 who say their well-being has been affected by Covid – 19, 76% said that they were bored. Overall, this age group was less likely to be worried about coronavirus generally (17%) than the over – 60’s. Yet they are conversely more likely to report feeling anxious (72%) than the over – 60’s (54%).

 

Click on the link to have a look at the whole bulletin. There’s lots of information about the support out there for teens, students and school leavers. We hope you enjoy!

https://mailchi.mp/2dbf1b20993a/k-m-mental-health-wellbeing-e-bulletin-4214074

 

Connecting Communities

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Aberdeenshire Council is working with Connecting Scotland to identify demand for laptops and tablets to people who do not have access to a computer or tablet at home or do not have digital access. Priority will be given to those:​
– on low incomes and  where affordability of devices or connectivity is a barrier​
– who are at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic as they are in the shielded or vulnerable groupings
Aberdeenshire is taking part in this national pilot and have around 100 devices with broadband access included in the first instance. At this stage we do not know the level of demand which is why we are asking people to register their interest initially.
Please find below a link to a form regarding access to digital equipment in Aberdeenshire. Partners can request access to equipment for learners/individuals you are working with who meet the criteria ( or pass the link to individuals to self-complete)

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=BpPZ_i1NCUSVndDttzBKC8JahRHqKHZGjXn4edBCNQ5UMTVDRktBNlRRS0M1NTJNNDNSQUtMUzRCSi4u

Virtual Wellbeing Festival 2020 in support of Mental Health Week: 18-24 May

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Why kindness?

One thing that we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times.

The added benefit of helping others is that it is good for our own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress and improve your emotional wellbeing
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

To help raise awareness that it is mental health week we encourage all those reading this to reflect on any acts of kindness whether receiving, giving or observing and use the Mental Health Foundation hash tags and post photo’s or a short post to let the country know what is happening in Aberdeenshire to promote mental wellbeing.

#KindnessMatters
#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

Kincardine and Mearns COVID-19 E-Bulletin Edition #7

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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*

Hot Topic!

VE Day 8th May
As we near the 75th anniversary of VE Day, any plans to commemorate the occasion should do so in ways that adhere to these ongoing and necessary restrictions. Whilst the Scottish Government appreciates the good will of those seeking to care for our nation’s War memorials, monuments should not be subjected to any upkeep or maintenance work at present. Anyone visiting a war memorial or cemetery near their home as part of a leisure walk should ensure social distancing is maintained.

For more information please view https://www.gov.scot/news/ve-day-75th-anniversary-1/

Coming Soon!
We will soon be sending out a monthly e-bulletin monthly looking at mental health and wellbeing in K & M

Guidance

Links to national and local guidance

*UPDATED* Please Dispose of Waste Responsibly!
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.
*IMPORTANT* Guidance on travelling and use of second homes
Travelling to and staying at holiday homes is not an exception from the Health Protection Regulation and is an offence.  Incidents should be reported to 101 and the police will take the appropriate action (likely to be a warning/advice).
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/
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.

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.

*NEW* Live Life Aberdeenshire – share your cycling experiences
You may be aware that with the current situation Live Life Aberdeenshire have set up aLive Life @ Home page, which is a one-stop shop of virtual creativity and activity offering a range of engaging, entertaining and informative activities and resources.One of the ideas for the @home webpage is to do a promotional video around the positive aspects of cycling – and safety awareness. They’d love to try and get a short (2-3secs) clip of the surrounding sites when people are out on a bike, which they can edit to create a cycle round Aberdeenshire. It would be great if we could get some recognisable background, but not essential.

Please stick to Government guidance for exercise and of course – don’t forget to wear a helmet!! Please contact Fraser.Govan@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

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.
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 about Operation Rainbow. This is NHSG’s plan for COVID-19. It covers every part of the health service and every aspect of care and the changes required. The video explains how these changes will affect you – and how you can help.
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.
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.

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
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* Parentzone
For parents who are finding themselves immersed in home schooling and the online world ‘Parentzone’ is a trusted platform to help them navigate sometimes challenging waters in this digital age.
*NEW* Families Outside
Families Outside support families with a loved one in prison; anxiety and hardship can be at increased levels at this time.  They continue to support in the most effective ways possible whilst following national guidance. This means no face to face support at present, but instead contact via phone, email, text, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype, Facebook, and Twitter.
As follows:
·         Helpline 0800 254 0088
·         Webchat www.familiesoutside.org.uk
·         Text FAMOUT to 60777
·         Email support@familiesoutside.org.uk
·         Regional Teams are also providing support, albeit remotely. Please note operating times are Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.If you or someone you are working with needs support, please contact us.
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 adviceCall freephone 0808 808 2282 to speak to a local advisor. For more information visit https://www.scarf.org.uk/householder/.
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.
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.
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.
Funding
Please find information on sources of funding below.
*UPDATED* 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.The funding information previously listed here is contained within the above list. Please also view the funding page on the Our Aberdeenshire website for more sources of information.
*NEW* Community Resilience Fund – updated guidance
Applications are still welcomed from community groups as some funding is still available.  Please view the updated criteria and guidance here.
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.
*NEW* Business Gateway Update
Businesses and organisations may be facing real hardship owing to the effects of the pandemic. Business Gateway is a Local Authority service offering free and impartial advice to help businesses at this difficult time. The team of advisers can listen to individual circumstances, helping businesses to make the best choices and access the right support.Business Gateway can be contacted at https://www.bgateway.com/local-offices/aberdeenshire/local-support , email aberdeenshire@bgateway.com or phone 01224 289725.
*NEW* K&M Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
Please see information from the Kincardine & Mearns CAB -We understand that many in our communities are facing situations that are completely unexpected and out with their control. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau is here to help. You may not have needed to use our service before but we are here for everyone in our community.  We can offer you a phone appointment and can give advice on:* Employment
* Benefits and the new Corona Support Schemes
* Housing
* Money issues including debt
* Consumer

Please contact 0800 028 1032

*NEW* Support for Employers and for Job-Seekers
JobCentre Plus have information on their website providing support for Employers at this time.  For JobSeekers, it may be helpful to search the opportunities posted on the DWP Find A Job search*NEW* Social Security Scotland Update
Social Security Scotland have produced an update for April 2020 offering advice on benefits payments and grants.
*NEW* Webinar on Online Safety
Lead Scotland are hosting classes online to help people use the internet confidently during Covid-19.  Dates are as follows:  May 12th, May 27th and June 2nd.  Please find more information from Lead Scotland
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.
Scottish Government Call for Views / Ideas on Transitioning from Lockdown

Please find the current “Covid-19 Framework for Decision-Making” document, and the opportunity to add to and comment on views / ideas for transitioning out of lockdown – here
Closing date is 11th May 2020

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

Pissoirs and PB

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The phrase participatory budgeting (PB) is widely recognised but perhaps not fully understood – at least not in the way that it’s being practised elsewhere in the world. PB Scotland is hosting a major conference later this month at which some of the US and Canadian experience of PB will be shared. In many other countries, PB is completely normal and has been mainstreamed for years. For instance, Paris commits 5% of its capital spend (£89m) to a participatory process. That’s the equivalent of 45 euros for every citizen – no wonder Parisians engage in such numbers.

By The Guardian

Arnaud Carnet was crossing Paris on his bicycle one day when something strange caught his eye: a dilapidated old urinal stationed at the foot of the high walls of the last operational prison in the city.

This graffitied, ripe-smelling structure was far from a standard street pissoir. Carnet discovered that it was in fact the last remaining 19th-century vespasienne urinal in the city. He decided he needed to save it.

“It no longer conforms to the comfort standards of today,” he says of the urinal (an understatement). “But it’s a piece of heritage and it’s in a terrible state in the middle of the boulevard – it’s not possible to just leave it like that.”

In January, Carnet submitted a proposal to restore the vespasienne to Paris’s participatory budget scheme, which allows residents to vote on how they want the city to spend €100m (£89m) – 5% of its capital budget.

The urinal is “part of the great Parisian history of public sanitation,” he says, though he admits he’s never used it himself. “The participatory budget is an opportunity to give it a second youth.”

Carnet’s project was one of 430 that went to public vote between 6 September and 22 September this year. Sadly for him, the vespasienne was not one of the 11 major projects and 183 smaller propositions that earned enough votes to become reality. Instead, Parisians chose projects that ranged from better recycling facilities to upgraded cycling infrastructure to programmes to help women who are experiencing homelessness. Read the rest of this entry »

Mapping the issues

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In many respects a community share issue is an old idea in 21st century wrapping – the idea of raising funds by public subscription has been around for years. Most war memorials, for instance, that were erected after the First World War were funded in this way. But community shares are more than a simple donation. They offer someone a chance to ‘invest’ in a local project and sometimes even make a little return on that investment. The number of share issues has been slowly growing and recently they have been mapped. Interesting to see the range and geographic spread.

To see a Map of Community Share Issues that has been compiled by Community Shares Scotland

 

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is turning 30 this November!

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The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland (CYPCS) are encouraging us to celebrate rights by telling 7-word stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To celebrate CYPCS want everyone to talk about why children’s rights matter, in a way that means people of all ages can take part. So they’re asking you to send 7 word stories about the human rights of children and young people. #7WordStory #CRC30

Further information here.

Island co-ops stay strong

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In this post digital age it’s difficult to lose any data thanks to the powerful algorithms that sit behind today’s search engines. But paper records are harder to track down and the history of social enterprise in Scotland becomes much more anecdotal the further back in time you travel. Some skilled work by the archivists at GCU is gradually piecing together the story of who did what, when, and where in order to lay the foundations for today’s social enterprises. Community cooperatives on Scotland’s islands were the early pioneers. In some ways, nothing much has changed.

Scotland’s islands have the highest proportion of co-operatives of any part of the UK thanks to a long tradition of self-reliance, a survey has found.

The study by Co-operatives UK, the sector’s development body, said its survey of co-ops by local authority area found the Western Isles and Orkney topped the table with 8.16 and 5.91 co-ops respectively per 10,000 people. Shetland came in third, with 5.63. Eden in Cumbria came in joint fourth, with 4.55, followed by nearby Allerdale with 3.6.

The Scottish sector’s businesses are generally small, often community shops which provide the only stores in scarcely populated island communities. There are also credit unions, community energy companies and fishing co-ops.

The findings have been published as part of Co-operatives UK’s annual economic survey. It put its total turnover UK-wide at £37.7bn for 2018-19, a little over 1% higher than last year’s figure of £37.6bn and 2.75% higher than the £36.3bn in 2016-17.

The study confirmed that the John Lewis Partnership, the employee-owned group which includes Waitrose food stores, was the UK’s largest co-op with a turnover of £10.3bn; the Co-op itself narrowly behind on £10.2bn. Arla, the Denmark-based diary co-op, came third with a turnover of £2.6bn.

Excluding turnover, the data shows a slight decline in the sector’s size overall. The UK had 7,215 co-ops employing more than 233,000 people in the last financial year, compared with 7,226 employing nearly 235,000 a year earlier.

The report highlighted the Papay Community Co-operative, which runs the only shop and hostel on Papa Westray. The Orkney island has a resident population of about 85 people but is popular with island-hoppers on holiday. The business is close to Papa Westray’s airport, famous as a departure point for the world’s shortest scheduled service, a two-minute, 1.7-mile (2.8km) flight to nearby Westray.

Tim Dodman, the co-op’s secretary, said the business had an annual turnover of about £250,000 and employed four people, with some part-time help during busy periods. It also runs the school bus and local tours.

It was founded in 1980 after the only shop closed and no one could be found to run a new one single-handed. “The co-op ethos is very important,” Dodman said. “This is a small island and pretty remote. It’s much better to work cooperatively than have one individual in control of a lifeline service.”

By Sev Carrell, The Guardian

 

The growth of the pop-up park

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A team of researchers in Australia are urging urban planners to embrace temporary green spaces

Had you been taking a stroll around downtown San Francisco in late September 2005 you might have noticed something unusual – an ordinary parking space turned into a tiny park featuring a tree, a patch of grass and a bench. This miniature patch of greenery was the brainchild of three urban designers and led to an unexpected global movement known as PARK(ing) Day. Held on the third Friday of September every year, PARK(ing) Day has seen thousands of otherwise grey spaces temporarily transformed, from a spot on London’s South Bank to a sidewalk in Alaska.

The PARK(ing) Day movement captured imaginations, but it’s not the only one of its kind. Pop-up parks (PUPs) are a growing phenomenon, one that a group of urban researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology is taking seriously. They argue that PUPs (which they define simply as ‘temporary green spaces’) have the capacity to benefit both biodiversity and the people who live in cities. The group cites several studies that have demonstrated the importance of nature for human wellbeing, including a paper in the Annual of Public Health which concluded that: ‘Taken together, the research reviewed does indicate that contact with nature can promote health. The evidence for some benefits, such as short-term restorative effects, is already quite strong.’

A’Beckett Urban Square PUP on the City Campus of RMIT University in Melbourne, AustraliaA’Beckett Urban Square PUP on the City Campus of RMIT University in Melbourne [Image: J Gollings]

‘There’s a lot of underutilised space in cities, and it’s going to be increasingly key to bring nature back into cities and have it close to offices,’ says Luis Mata, lead author of the study. ‘Some PUPs might only last for a couple of hours, whereas others last for years and may even become a path to something permanent. Depending on their deign and their spatial and temporal scales some will provide more benefits for people, some for biodiversity and some for both.’

The study points to a number of PUPs already in motion. In particular, San Francisco’s ‘Pavement to Parks’ program – an initiative that seeks to transform underutilised street spaces into public plazas known as ‘parklets’. It also refers to the UK’s Design Council and its ‘Knee High Design Challenge’ funding scheme which saw a PUP project trialled in Lambeth and Southwark. The transformed spaces were designed to encourage play and were filled with games for young children.

the “Grasslands” PUP at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne“Grasslands” PUP at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne [Image: M Stanton]

To address the lack of research into such spaces, the researchers want to see future sites become ‘socioecological laboratories’ in which urban planners conduct experiments to inform future design. Leading the way, Mata and his colleagues carried out their own analysis on a PUP in their home-town of Melbourne. They found that the six-week project called ‘Grasslands’, installed at the State Library of Victoria, saw insect pollinator abundance increase by around 160 per cent while the PUP was present.

The human impact of these spaces is harder to evaluate precisely. Nevertheless, the researchers contend that in dense urban environments with plenty of small, underutilised spaces, PUPs can help people spend time in nature, as well as foster community and in particular, creativity. ‘Creative thinking is sometimes lacking in academia,’ says Mata. ‘This new movement of people with artistic minds thinking of putting nature into cities is really excellent and is something that PUPs are uniquely placed to take advantage of.’

Read the rest of this entry »