The word ‘idiot’ derives from the ancient Greek for a private citizen who professes no interest in being involved in politics. In the birthplace of democracy, it was simply an article of faith that every citizen would become actively engaged in the political decisions of their towns, cities and nation state. Democracy, as the ancient Greeks conceived it, was a civic duty and any citizen could be called upon to serve. No hustings, no elections, and no political parties. Just the random selection of individual citizens who would willingly step forward when their names were drawn by lot. Known as sortition, this form of democracy would be anathema to our modern-day career politicians. Yet it is a particular form of sortition – the citizens’ assembly – to which many countries around the world are now turning to help resolve some of their most intractable problems. And as we settle down to watch the next instalment of modern-day British democracy of Brexit, many now argue that a randomly selected assembly of citizens, expertly guided and supported, might just offer a sensible way forward. We’d surely be idiots not to try.
Look back next week, to find out a bit more about the participative democracy happening in Aberdeenshire now.
Hands up if you made a New Year resolution to get fitter, or meet new people in 2019?
Most of us reflect at this time of year and these are certainly achievable and popular resolutions. Walking with friends is an easy and accessible opportunity. Good news is that there is a growing network of walking groups for all abilities across Kincardine and Mearns.
The following are useful organisations and contacts;
1 Paths for All
Paths for All’s vision is for a happier, healthier Scotland where physical activity improves quality of life and wellbeing for all.
Our aim is to significantly increase the number of people who choose to walk in Scotland – whether that’s leisure walking or active-choice walking to work, school or shops. We work to create more opportunities and better environments not just for walking, but also for cycling and other activities, to help make Scotland a more active, more prosperous, greener country.
We promote everyday walking for everyone in Scotland.
We have a very clear focus: we want to get Scotland walking: everyone, everyday, everywhere. We are talking about regular, easy, local walking. Walking that can be part of daily routines and family life. Walking to be enjoyed in groups or alone, at work or at home. Walking that takes place in city streets, community parks, local woodlands or coastal paths. This is walking that’s relevant and accessible to us all: This is everyday walking.
We work to improve physical, mental and social health
We believe that everyday walking can be the key to improving the health and wellbeing of the Scottish people. By encouraging and supporting more people to take their first small step towards enjoying physical activity, we want to help fight some of Scotland’s most pressing health issues: obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression and dementia. Creating more opportunities for walking helps to reduce loneliness and social isolation and creates health equalities for all. Everyday walking can help tackle all this and more: It can be life changing.
We work to improve the environment for people to be active.
We know people walking more is good for Scotland; delivering real benefits for health, transport, environment and the economy. So we do everything in our power to provide more opportunities and better spaces for walking and other activities. We are helping to improve and expand the network of multi-use paths for people living in and visiting Scotland to enjoy. We fund, train and support champions for local path groups. We work with all our partners to put everyday walking on the map. For further information please contact;
Paths for All
2 Walking to Health in Kincardine and Mearns
For more information on local everyday walks in Kincardine and Mearns and across Aberdeenshire, please contact Kirsty Muirden, details below.
For general information on everyday walks, including information for Health & Social Care Professionals, and an online map of health walks across Scotland, please visit Paths for All’s website – www.pathsforall.org.uk
Walking to Health Coordinator
E: firstname.lastname@example.org or T: 07973 945467, or visit our Facebook page
3 Grampian 50 + Network
Set up over twenty years ago, the Grampian 50+ Network’s original objective was to create opportunities for older people to lead more active, stimulating and rewarding lives-and it has certainly succeeded in this. Today, more than sixty Groups are affiliated to it, spread throughout Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray, with a membership of over a thousand and is open to all 50+ Groups and Organizations in the North East on payment of a small fee.
Run by a committee of Volunteers, the Network is a registered Scottish Charity which promotes: –
good links between groups, sharing ideas and experiences for the benefit of its members
The aims of the Network are:
- develops educational and recreational opportunities
- organises themed events
- provides training
- supports special projects
For further information on the Grampian 50+ Network please contact;
New Website to provide support to anyone affected by alcohol and drugs in Aberdeenshire www.aberdeenshirealcoholdrugs.support
Aberdeenshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP) have a new website to help support anyone affected by alcohol and drugs in Aberdeenshire. The online resource www.aberdeenshirealcoholdrugs.support aims to provide information and signposting to a range of support services and organisations across Aberdeenshire and nationally.
The website was developed in response to feedback that there was a lack of information in an easily accessible format on what drug and alcohol support was available and how to access help when it was needed. The ADP have worked with service users, family members and people in recovery to make sure that the information on the website is useful, easy to understand and access.
The resource aims to help people using any drug including alcohol, whether worried about their own drug or alcohol use, a friend’s use or family member’s use. www.aberdeenshirealcoholdrugs.support provides a one-stop shop for information on support, treatment and recovery. Within each section, people can find out more about a particular area of support and advice and then clearly see which organisations provide this support and their contact details.
The Aberdeenshire Alcohol Drugs Support website will always have the most up to date information on the Substance Use Service Gateway in Aberdeenshire. . The Gateway is part of the NHS and Council Substance Use Service team and provides confidential, non-judgmental assistance towards the right treatment, support or information. The GET HELP button either the Alcohol or Drugs section of the website displays phone and email details as well as arrangements for drop in facilities around Aberdeenshire.
Professionals and agencies can help any of their clients to engage with the Alcohol or Drug Use Service by calling 01224 558844 or email to email@example.com (North Aberdeenshire) firstname.lastname@example.org (South and Central Aberdeenshire)
Sci-Gateway and Track Care can also still be used for referrals from NHS.
Print materials, posters and cards, promoting the website and access to the Aberdeenshire Alcohol and Drug Service will be delivered to agencies soon. The ADP would be grateful if these could be displayed widely and offered to people who might need help with their alcohol or drug use in Aberdeenshire. To get a supply or resupply contact email@example.com
The ADP have identified a wide range of information that they think is useful to people and communities however they welcome approaches from services, groups, community members with information to add or changes to make. Please use the website to share your own news. Send news items and suggested changes to the adp email above.
Parks, gardens, greenspaces, woodlands and local paths are ideal settings for a spot of green exercise. Perhaps you like to relax by taking a gentle stroll or by tidying up the garden. Maybe cycling to work starts the day on a high note or you look forward to evenings playing sport in the park.
Whatever pace you set yourself, being in the outdoors and getting active is great for your physical and mental health and well-being.
It’s recommended that adults do at least five 30-minute sessions of moderate exercise per week. For children, it’s at least 1 hour every day. Getting active outdoors could be an easy way for you to meet your target.
Learn about green exercise and its benefits.
Step to it
Parks and woods are a brilliant backdrop for your walk, cycle or jog. Soak up the surroundings and say hello to your neighbours as you get your daily dose of green exercise. You can probably reach your favourite local greenspace via a traffic-free route – so you can leave the car at home.
Active travel is another option if you struggle to set aside a specific time for outdoor exercise. Just choose to walk or cycle whenever you have to go somewhere and you’ll soon start to clock up the miles.
Discover your local path network today.
If you haven’t already seen them, have a look at these animations. Talented students from the London College of Communication interpreted children’s experiences of poverty and made some very powerful short films. They show clearly why we’re needed, and why your support is so important.
Child Poverty Action Group
You’re not supposed to feel lonely while you’re young, but the truth is it’s a bigger concern among young people than any other age group.
In recent years youth loneliness and isolation has been increasingly identified as a matter of significant public concern. Research identifies that one in three young people suffer from loneliness (Red Cross, Co-op, Kantar, 2016) and 65% of 16-25 years old reporting feeling loneliness at times and 32% feeling lonely “often” or “all the time” (Majoribanks and Bradley, 2017).
“Loneliness is a recognised problem among the elderly – there are day centres and charities to help them,” says Sam Challis, an information manager at the mental health charity Mind, “but when young people reach 21 they’re too old for youth services.”
But what can young people do to combat loneliness?
While meditation techniques such as mindfulness and apps such as Headspace are trendy solutions frequently recommended for a range of mental health problems, they’re not necessarily helpful for loneliness, as they actively encourage us to dwell alone on our thoughts. You’re be better off addressing the underlying causes of being lonely first – what’s stopping you going out and seeing people?
Social media can be helpful. Helplines can also reduce loneliness, at least in the short term. One in four men who call the Samaritans mention loneliness or isolation, and Get Connected is a free confidential helpline for young people, where they can seek help with emotional and mental health issues often linked to loneliness. There are also support services on websites such as Mind’s that can remind you you’re not alone. Speak to your employer, value the interactions you have in the workplace. Counselling can be helpful. The BACP website allows you to search for counsellors in your area. “A problem aired is a problem shared and sometimes you need to talk to someone impartial and independent of your friends and family.
If recent research is to be believed, loneliness is killing the elderly and, with an ageing population, we should aim to reduce our isolation before it is too late. “Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting lonelier,” says Ruth Sutherland, the chief executive of Relate, in a new report. “But much of this rests on laying the foundations to good-quality relationships earlier in life.”