A profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world. People are now recognising that ‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.
March 20 has been established as the annual International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.
In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognised happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples”.
In 2012 the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on 20 March. It was celebrated for the first time in 2013.
In 2017, the Smurfs joined the UN in celebrating the International Day of Happiness as well as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – #SmallSmurfsBigGoals
The details of 2018 celebrations have not yet been announced, but whatever you have planned for the day, be happy!
The town of Chapelton recently welcomed its first community library just in time for National Storytelling Week 2018.
The books, which will be located in a quiet corner of the popular Teacake Café, will act as a community library corner, or a book swap, where it is hoped residents of all ages will be able to swap, read and discuss some of their favourite books and stories. So why libraries are so important in today’s digital world?
Many people believe libraries to be a thing of the past due to the digital revolution and the rise of a gadget enamoured society. However,
“The National Literacy Trust says that children who go to a library are twice as likely as those who don’t to read well. It is not just picking up a book. It is the social experience of reading, talking about the books, browsing, comparing what you have read with family and friends. Librarians are gate keepers in that process. They open doors to new worlds, new possibilities. They ask library visitors to evaluate the information on offer. Most importantly, they give access to narratives. Children and adults do not just need information to thrive as thinking beings, but stories. Libraries are the temple of story. They are not in decline because of some natural, historic progression, but because of the monstrous cultural vandalism of savage cost-cutting. We will pay a terrible price for the behaviour of our masters.” (Alan Gibbons)
Libraries are seen by many as a lifeline and a crucial public service, especially if you are elderly, socially isolated, poor, vulnerable, or all of the above.
So why are libraries so important and why must we protect and improve them?
- They’re accessible
The obvious advantage of having a local library is that it is local. Accessibility is crucial if you have mobility problems and/or haven’t got the money for bus fare.
- They help to bridge the digital divide
People in rural areas face significant challenges when it comes to IT access, including infrastructure problems and set-up costs. The vast majority of public libraries offer free IT access and basic IT training to the public.
- They help to combat social isolation
Libraries are social places where people can chat, read and keep in touch with the outside world. For elderly people who can’t access a static library, mobile and housebound services can fill the gap. Sometimes a friendly smile from a library worker can make all the difference to an isolated and vulnerable persons day or week.
According to C.S. Lewis “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”. So next time you’re in Chapelton pay a visit to the Teacake Café and sample what both have to offer.
It’s never too late to rectify those ill-fated New Year’s Eve resolutions in which you swore to lead a healthier life. But if traditional spas leave you cold and meditation bores you, don’t worry, there are plenty of other options out there.
- Prison pampering, Thailand
While a visit to a Thai correctional institution may scream holiday hell rather than whisper wellness, in Chiang Mai a trip to prison is an unorthodox experience.
Inmates at the women’s correctional institution are given holistic training that will aid job prospects once released. They pamper visitors using the skill learned. It not only soothes aches and pains, but any tips earned are kept for prisoners on their release.
- Wine Spa Japan
At the end of a hard week, for many people one of the best ways to relax and unwind is with a glass or two of red wine.
But why not go one step further than drinking the stuff, and book a trip to the Yunesson Spa Resort in Japan?
It’s a self-described ‘spa theme park’ where you can legitimately bathe in hot tubs filled with Merlot or Bordeaux.
- Laughter Yoga
Invented by Indian doctor Madan Kataria in the mid-Nineties, laughter yoga now has thousands of devotees. Many sessions, are free for anybody to join, providing newcomers don’t mind an early start. Propelled by the philosophy that laughter gives humans huge spiritual and medical benefits, its main objective couldn’t be simpler – to set you’re giggling, howling, chortling and smirking instincts free.
- Buried Alive; a shamanic death & rebirth
With hopes of experiencing a closer connection with Mother Nature, pilgrims journey to the northwest coast of the US to take part in a shamen led burial ceremony.
Free spirited individuals are taken into the wilderness and covered fully with earth. After re-emerging individuals are said to feel a deeper connection and knowledge of spirit and creation.
- Cryotherapy, Slovakia
Nothing shouts health kick like freezing bits off in temperatures of -120c. Sportsmen and women have been using cryotheraphy to aid recovery for decades but now the public can don gloves, a face mask and step into a giant fridge.
Benefits are said to include the natural productions of enzymes and hormones as endorphins, adrenaline and testosterone are released. It’s the coolest wellness trend in town.
Newtonhill, Muchalls & Cammachmore Community Council have been busy developing the North Kincardine Treasure map.
Its aim to encourage people to explore North Kincardineshire supports the work we have been doing to enhance and increase activity in the local area. A copy of the map has been delivered to all dwellings in Council Ward 17, highlighting five key trails with points of interest along the way. An interactive website provides additional information and routes and will develop into a valuable archive of the area.
The ‘Treasure Map’ project was linked to an Integrated Travel Town Project and a Community Sports Hub (CSH) ‘healthy weight project’. It encourages local residents to get out and about and tells them more about their local area. This is community and Council working together to create something special for the whole community!”
Want to know more? Visit http://www.discovernorthkincardine.org.uk/index.html
Your Voice Your Choice Kincardine & Mearns is nearing the end of this year’s application phase!
Do you have an idea for a project which will help make a positive difference to health, wellbeing or community links for Inverbervie, Gourdon, Benholm, Johnshaven or St Cyrus?
If so, you could apply for up to £10,000 from a total available fund of £30,000. There is still time to submit an application for this year’s funding before the deadline of Friday 26th May.
Application forms are available from:
Aberdeenshire Council, Viewmount, Stonehaven
KDP Office, 42-46 Barclay St, Stonehaven
What’s On Bervie Shop, 75 King St, Inverbervie
You can also download the form from the website: www.ouraberdeenshire.org.uk/Application-Form-South-Mearns-2017
What is this?
This is an exciting initiative where decisions on which projects get funding are made not by politicians or officers but by the people who will benefit the most – the people who live in the Coastal Strip villages of Inverbervie, Gourdon, Benholm, Johnshaven and St Cyrus. ‘Participatory Budgeting’ as this process is known is all about removing barriers and getting communities directly involved in local decision-making – putting the power in the hands of the local community.
Who can apply?
Anyone who has an idea that will benefit people living in the eligible Coastal Strip villages above. This can be any community group (including informal groups), voluntary or non-profit organisations.
Where can I get further information?
If you would like some advice or support with making an application, please get in touch – we have a team of advisors who would be delighted to help.
Tel: Aberdeenshire Council Community Planning (01569) 768327
The “Our Mearns” initiative was established last year in response to information and knowledge gathered by the Kincardineshire Development Partnership. KDP had identified many community projects and initiatives across the Mearns at various stages of development and saw the value of bringing these initiatives together to facilitate the collaboration of these groups and projects to contribute to a bigger picture. In addition, as an area affected by the current economic climate there is a need to raise the profile of this part of Aberdeenshire and capitalise on its other assets. A successful event was held on 19th November 2016 to launch the Our Mearns Tourism Association, whose aim is to create an Arts, Cultural and Heritage Tourism Destination of the Mearns. The event opened Membership of the Association inviting groups, individuals and business to become part of the movement. Membership at this exciting stage is free and expressions of interest in joining the committee to take the strategic plan forward are also being considered. For more information please contact Jacky Niven at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Scottish Community Development Centre have launched a short video titled ‘What is community capacity building’ which partners and communities may find useful. To view the video please visit: http://www.scdc.org.uk/news/article/video-what-community-capacity-building/