Welcome to the second of Kincardine and Mearns local community plan priorities.
Communities, both place-based and people sharing a common identity or affinity, have a vital contribution to make to health and wellbeing. Community life, social connections, supportive relationships and having a voice in local decisions are all factors that underpin good health, however, inequalities persist and too many people experience the effects of social exclusion or lack social support. Participatory approaches directly address the marginalisation and powerlessness caused by entrenched health inequalities.
The assets within communities, such as the skills and knowledge, social networks, local groups and community organisations, are building blocks for good health. Many people in Kincardine & Mearns already contribute to community life through volunteering, community leadership and activism. Community empowerment occurs when people work together to shape the decisions that influence their lives and health and begin to create a more equitable society. This is not about a DIY approach to health; there are important roles for NHS, local government and their partners in creating safe and supportive places, fostering resilience and enabling individuals and communities to take more control of their health and lives.
Over the next few weeks we will share with you some stories about wellbeing and what it means to a variety of people. Look out for our first blog next week.We hope you enjoy
The famous Dutch obsession with bicycles is clearly paying off – a recent study has shown.
While there have been a plethora of studies demonstrating the health benefits of cycling as a means to reduce the risk of sedentary lifestyle diseases and all-cause mortality, the study “Dutch Cycling: Quantifying the Health and Related Economic Benefits” – is the first to actually quantify the health benefits and related economic benefits at a population level in the Netherlands. Currently, about 27% of all trips in the Netherlands are made by bicycle and the weekly time spent cycling is about 74 minutes per week for Dutch adults of 20 to 90 years of age. Even more noteworthy and remarkable, over half of the total life expectancy increase calculated in this study is being achieved by cycling among adults aged 65 and older.
The study clearly shows that Dutch investments in bicycle-promoting policies, such as improved bicycle infrastructure and facilities, are likely to yield a high cost-benefit ratio in the long term. Health benefits translate into economic benefits of over 5% of Dutch GDP. To calculate the economic health benefits of cycling, HEAT (Health Economic Assessment Tool) uses a standard value of a statistical life (VSL) to monetize the number of deaths per year prevented by cycling. With a Dutch VSL of € 2.8 million per prevented death, investment in cycling is an extremely wise economic investment. The €0.5 billion per year spent by the Dutch government on road and parking infrastructure for cycling is estimated to yield total economic health benefits of € 19 billion per year!
Investments in high quality cycling policies and infrastructure produce great benefit over the long term. Cycling for transport delivers wealth and health, quality of life, for people and for cities.
If you were told by a Dr – take this magic pill daily and you will reduce numerous health risks, be fit and healthy……would you take it? Unfortunately the wonder pill doesn’t exist, however in its place we are going to prescribe everyone regular physical activity/exercise and put you on the path to the same results. A little motivation can go a long way.
Walking: the most accessible and easiest way for most to incorporate exercise into our lifestyles. It’s free, gentle &low-impact that requires no special training or equipment. Almost everyone can do it, anywhere and at any time. You could join a health walk, become a rambler or just walk to the shops. Check out the Aberdeenshire Council Ranger Service to find out about the rich natural heritage surrounding us.
If walking isn’t your thing, how about cycling? You could go for the standard cycle or try out an electric bike. Electric bikes (e-bikes) work much the same as ordinary bicycles except they have an electric motor which works when you pedal to give a bit of a boost, making going uphill a lot easier! You don’t need a special license to ride one (as long as you are over the age of 14) and the bikes can be used on cycle paths the same as ordinary bicycles.
Talking of cycle paths, Aberdeenshire Council transport strategy team have just finished new local ‘Walking & Cycling maps’ for several Aberdeenshire towns which are to be launched soon. We are also hearing whispers of ‘Treasure Trails’ which sounds interesting, and as far as we are concerned – anything that encourages us to get out and about is a winner in our eyes. Want to know more? Visit http://getabout.org.uk/ for more information.
Tell us what would make you more active in your community. Is there a path near you which could be a great walking route, perhaps you would like to be able to commute to work by bike? We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org
SAMH HearMe World Café .Would you like to be involved in shaping the future of mental health services? We would like to bring together people with lived experience to express their views on how mental health services should evolve throughout South Aberdeenshire. We also want to hear from those who currently work in mental health services. Join us at our next HearMe World Café Conversation and help to influence positive change. The event is on Tuesday 22nd August 2017 from 11am-2pm in the Blue Room, Stonehaven Community Centre. Please note the change from the earlier date of 26 July. Attendance is free and a light lunch will be provided. Email email@example.com to book your place.
SAMH are holding an event in Stonehaven on Wednesday 26 July from 1100 – 1400. The event is aimed at professionals supporting clients with mental health needs, and clients, and is relevant to adult services only (16 – 65 years). Participants should be willing to take part in discussions and share their lived experiences of mental health services. If you would like to attend, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know if you will be taking along any clients on the day.
Dementia Friendly Communities in Kincardine & Mearns are working to raise awareness of the early stages of dementia and to reduce the stigma attached, enabling people with dementia to continue to remain active participants in their communities for as long as possible, live well and not be isolated from their communities. All it takes is learning a little about dementia and doing small things which can make a big difference. The Project Officer, Karen Wood, is available to come to speak (free) to all community groups in the K&M area. For more information please email email@example.com, or phone/text 07585 242428.