Local project leads way on understanding adoption issues in schools

A pioneering project run here in East Lothian is helping to inform a national campaign on raising awareness around attachment issues for adopted and looked after children.

Iain Gray MSP met with representatives of Adoption UK at Holyrood to learn more about the Attachment Ambassadors’ Project which the charity has been running in the North Berwick schools cluster.

The project aims to raise awareness of attachment issues and early trauma which can put children at a significant disadvantage in schools unless handled with sensitivity, understanding and appropriate responses to challenging behaviour.

The project ran a series of workshops and training events for teachers, other school staff and parents, covering issues such as child development, inclusion and peer support. An in-service day conference on attachment, relationships and resilience was also attended by 130 teachers.

Six teachers, one in each cluster school, subsequently became Attachment Ambassadors, attending training provided by Adoption UK and receiving ongoing support in the form of group and 1 to 1 meetings.

Following the success of the project in the North Berwick cluster, the charity is planning to roll out the same project structure in schools in the Haddington and Lammermuir partnership area.

At the same time as this local project was being delivered, Adoption UK has been developing its Equal Chance campaign to make every school attachment-aware and raise awareness of the systemic changes needed to give adopted children the same chances as their peers.

The campaign launches on 27th June and Iain Gray MSP will host a reception at the Scottish Parliament on 4th September to highlight the campaign and its objectives to MSPs and the Scottish Government.

Iain Gray MSP said “I was pleased to meet with representatives of Adoption UK and find out more about its Attachment Ambassadors’ Project. The project has clearly been a big success in the North Berwick cluster, with teachers, other staff, parents and pupils themselves all benefiting from the training and support it has provided.

“We know that looked after and adopted children can face particular challenges at school, so it’s really positive to see East Lothian playing an important part in helping to increase understanding of children’s experience of attachment issues and how schools can better support them.

“The experience in schools in the North Berwick cluster shows that the project is not only beneficial for adopted children but that all children can benefit from increased awareness and understanding of attachment issues, relationships and resilience, as well as behaviour management approaches.

“I am sure that the Haddington cluster project will go on to be a similar success, and look forward to helping promote the charity’s Equal Chance campaign at their parliamentary reception later in the year.”

Fiona Aitken, Adoption UK’s Director, Scotland, said: “We are grateful to have received funding to continue our work in schools in East Lothian – our continued presence in the area allows us to offer ongoing support to teachers and schools who have implemented our Attachment Ambassador programme.  

“This programme, led by our education project manager and adoptive parent Kathy Allan, offers an opportunity for all children to benefit from school staff team’s increased knowledge and awareness of trauma and attachment issues.

“Our Equal Chance campaign is designed to offer adopted children the same chance as their peers in school, through programmes such as ours and encouragement of others to ensure their needs are better met and understood in their educational placement. Adopted and care experienced children are at a disadvantage due to their early experiences – we want to change their experiences of school to support them to achieve their potential.  

“We are delighted to be highlighting this campaign at our parliamentary event on 4th September, and very pleased to have the support of Mr Gray in the campaign and through the sponsorship of this event.

Helping It Happen Awards 2018

People across Scotland are being urged to highlight the work done by local estates and land-based businesses to help their surrounding communities flourish, as nominations for the Helping It Happen Awards 2018 get underway.

Following a successful inaugural year in 2017, Scottish Land & Estates has declared the Helping It Happen Awards 2018 open for business. The national Awards, which aim to recognise the role of estates, farms and rural businesses in enabling and supporting success in rural areas, will once again be sponsored by The MacRobert Trust, with entries being considered in the following nine categories:

  • Rural Business Award
  • Tourism Award
  • Rural Housing Award
  • Education Award
  • MacRobert Trust Award for Working with Communities
  • Conservation Award
  • The Iver Salvesen Green Business Award
  • Innovation in Farming Award
  • Enhancing Our Environment Award

To nominate, people are being asked to share how their local estate, farm or rural business has made a positive contribution to their area. Entries can be submitted here before the closing date of 13 July 2018.

Entries for the Helping it Happen Awards 2018 will be reviewed by an independent judging panel with three finalists selected in each category. The winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony which will take place at The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh on 3 October 2018.

NFU Mutual’s Inspirational Young Person Award 2018

Entries and nominations are being sought for a new award that recognises the incredible talent and dedication being shown by Scotland’s young people within the food and drink sector.

This brand-new award is designed to bring out the inspirational stories of young people aged between 16 and 26 who own, work or study within businesses in the food and drink sector, and are driving success within the Scottish food and drink industry.

The winners of the ‘NFU Mutual and Scotland Food & Drink Inspirational Young Person Award 2018’ will be announced during Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight in September 2018 as part of the Year of Young People celebrations. The award aims to highlight not only the enormous contribution that young people make to Scotland’s food and drink businesses, but also the importance of the sector to the wider economy.

 

Enter here: http://fooddrinkfort.scot/get-involved/nfu-mutuals-inspirational-young-person-award-2018/ 

ScotRail Alliance to confirm improvements in East Lothian

The ScotRail Alliance will confirm how they are improving rail services for customers in East Lothian at a public meeting on Thursday evening (03 May).

The most recent figures show the level of service on the North Berwick route has improved in recent months, with 94.1 per cent of ScotRail trains meeting their target arrival time, having stopped at all scheduled stations. This is up by 10 per cent from the most challenging period last year.

And, over the past twelve weeks, just one in almost 3,000 services to run on the route missed a stop in order to prevent disruption spreading across the network.

More carriages are also heading to services in East Lothian: a number of trains on the route already have six carriages, following a trial early last year that has since been made permanent. By the end of the year, the majority of peak-time trains between North Berwick and Edinburgh are expected to have six carriages.

Once the new Hitachi Class 385 trains enter service, these will be introduced on the Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High route, followed by the North Berwick route.

This announcement comes ahead of a public meeting on rail services in East Lothian which will take place in Prestonpans Town Hall, on Thursday 3 May at 7pm where leaders from the ScotRail Alliance will meet customers, as well as Martin Whitfield MP and Iain Gray MSP.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail’s Head of Customer Operations, who will be at the meeting said:

“Along with ScotRail Alliance colleagues, I’m looking forward to meeting with our customers in Prestonpans, answering their questions about the service we provide and the improvements we will be making.

“We know that East Lothian is an exceptionally popular place to live, and there’s an ever-growing demand for our services to and from Edinburgh.

“With that in mind, we are doing all we can to ensure everyone has a comfortable journey. By the end of this year, even more of our customers will be able to benefit from longer trains with more seats and better services.”

April Canteen Street Food Festival @ Archerfield

WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS SATURDAY?
How about having an AMAZING day of street food, music & fun at Archerfield Walled Garden?!

No booking required – £1 Adults, kids go free (dogs welcome)

April Trader Line-Up :

Chick & Pea (Middle Eastern)
Taste Like Crepe (Sweet Crepes)
Spice Pots (Indian)
Mac Shack (Mac n Cheese)
Sugar Daddys (Gluten Free Cakes)
Big Blu (Pizza)
Harajuku Kitchen (Japanese)
Mimis Bakehouse (Gourmet Toasties)
Fat Hippo (Burgers)
Hooked Street Food (Seafood)
Fizz Bar (Prosecco Bar)
Herringbone (Cocktails & Mocktails)
Archerfield Courtyard Bar (Craft Beers & Wines)

MP visits local advocacy service

Martin Whitfield MP has visited Musselburgh-based CAPS Independent Advocacy, which provides individual and collective advocacy for local people who use or have used mental health services.

During the visit, Mr Whitfield found out more about the organisation’s current activity and the support it provides for local people. He also discussed the way his office works together with members of the CAPS team.

Speaking about the vital importance of the CAPS service, Martin Whitfield MP said:

This was my first visit to CAPS Independent Advocacy. It was useful to put faces to names and learn more about the vital work the team does with people who use or have used mental health service and need some extra help and support.

The assistance they provide enables their service users to set their own agenda and have a stronger say on decisions which affect them. This support is of particular importance currently with the introduction of Universal Credit affecting the lives of so many vulnerable people locally.

I know from the regular interaction my office has with members of the CAPS team just how effective they are and what a huge difference they make to the lives of people across East Lothian.”

More information about the work of CAPS Independent Advocacy can be found at http://capsadvocacy.org/

Parliamentarians to hold public meeting on local rail concerns

Iain Gray MSP and Martin Whitfield MP are holding a public meeting to provide a further opportunity for rail users to highlight ongoing problems with the service on the North Berwick Line.

The local parliamentarians have decided to hold the meeting following continued widespread frustration and complaints about the issues that have dogged the line, such as serious overcrowding, frequent delays and cancellations, and problems with ticketing, including broken ticket machines.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 3rd May at Prestonpans Town Hall starting at 7pm. The ScotRail Alliance has been invited to send a representative to help answer questions from those who attend the meeting.

Iain Gray MSP said:

I have spent years campaigning for the kind of safe, regular and reliable rail services that people in East Lothian need. Sadly, despite various promises and warm words from successive SNP Government Rail Ministers and ScotRail bosses, little progress has been made.

Indeed, I continue to receive a regular flow of complaints from local rail users about their poor experience on the North Berwick Line. Frequent overcrowding, sometimes to the point where passengers have felt unsafe, delays and cancellations cause huge frustration to those using the line.

This is unacceptable and must change. Martin and I intend to use this public meeting to reiterate the strength of feeling on the issue and relaunch our local #RailChange campaign for improvements in local services.”

Martin Whitfield MP said:

Last year I helped to organise Prestonpans’ community council’s public meeting on local rail services. That event was well attended and provided an opportunity for local rail users to make their feelings known and quiz ScotRail about the numerous problems they were experiencing.

Some commitments were made at that meeting around delivering improvements on the North Berwick Line. However, I think it’s clear to anyone who uses services on the line that very little has changed over the last 12 months.

This ongoing misery for commuters in East Lothian is simply not good enough. We need to see real action from all partners to remedy the problems and deliver a reliable service for local rail users. This meeting will provide another opportunity to push for that change.”

NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR 2018 ‘HELPING IT HAPPEN’ RURAL AWARDS

People across East Lothian are being urged to highlight the work done by local estates and land-based businesses to help their surrounding communities flourish, as nominations for the Helping It Happen Awards 2018 get underway.

Following a successful inaugural year in 2017, Scottish Land & Estates has declared the Helping It Happen Awards 2018 open for business. The national awards, which aim to recognise the role of estates, farms and rural businesses in enabling and supporting success in rural areas, will once again be sponsored by The MacRobert Trust, with entries being considered in the following nine categories:

  • Rural Business Award
  • Tourism Award
  • Rural Housing Award
  • Education Award
  • MacRobert Trust Award for Working with Communities
  • Conservation Award
  • The Iver Salvesen Green Business Award
  • Innovation in Farming Award
  • Enhancing Our Environment Award

    To nominate, people are being asked to share how their local estate, farm or rural business has made a positive contribution to their area.  Entries can be submitted via the Helping It Happen website – www.helpingithappen.co.uk – before the closing date of 13 July 2018.

    To celebrate the launch of the 2018 awards, David Johnstone, Chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, visited Luss Estates at Loch Lomond.  Together with Drimnin Estate, Luss Estates were joint-winners of the Rural Business category at the 2017 Helping It Happen Awards.

    David Johnstone said:

    “We want to highlight and celebrate the significant positive contribution land-based businesses make in rural areas throughout Scotland – in particular, the ways in which they add value to the local economy and the environment for the wider benefit of the community.  We were incredibly pleased with the success of the augural awards in 2017 and are building on this in 2018 through the creation of additional categories to celebrate innovation in farming and environmental enhancement.

    “We urge people up and down the country to submit their entries for this year’s awards – the quality of entries last year was exceptional, and we are looking forward to receiving this year’s crop of stories. I am sure the judges will have a tough task in narrowing down the shortlist once entries close in July this year.”

    Simon Miller, Luss Estates Chief Executive Officer said:

    “Our main task is to preserve and enhance the area for future generations. Crucial steps in order to achieve this are to provide economic and employment opportunities and create new family housing. This is at the forefront of what we do, by investing in and developing our own enterprises, and encouraging others to invest in the local area and live here.”

    Entries for the Helping it Happen Awards 2018 will be reviewed by an independent judging panel with three finalists selected in each category.  The winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony which will take place at The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh on 3 October 2018.

(Not so) Random Acts of Kindness in East Lothian (and beyond)

Love the idea of carrying out Random Acts of Kindness but stuck for ideas?  An A-Z of Guerrilla Kindness might look something like this:

Action for Happiness@actionhappiness helps people take practical action for a happier and more caring world. And guess what? Being kind makes you happy.

Bus Shelters – Bus shelters are the perfect places for random acts of kindness.  East Lothian has its own tweeting bus shelter @PPansBusShelter where it is rumoured you may catch a glimpse of tiny people waiting for the 124.   With a rather larger budget that the Prestonpans prankster, Pepsi created an amazing augmented reality stunt at a bus shelter:

Next time you’re going for a bus, why not leave a pair of gloves, a joke or a book…or a chair? The Guerrilla Upholsterer a.k.a. @mick_sheridan leaves beautifully restored chairs in bus shelters.

Change the World for a Fiver –  Change the World for a Fiver is a book, priced at a £5, which is packed full of ideas on how to change the world for a better place.  Buy two and give one to someone.  Better still buy your copies from Hive, the network of independent bookshops.

Deeds – You’ve heard the expression, Actions speak louder than words.  It’s true.  Social Media makes it easy for us to say kind stuff, retweet kind stuff and like kind stuff but don’t forget to DO the kind stuff. (Having a Digital Detox every so often is really good for you and frees up some time too).

Effect – The side effects of kindness include happiness and healthiness.  Read more here.  The Science of Kindness – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4ALRY5LyBM

Flashmobs – A flashmob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression.  Who can remember the Puffin Flashmob outside the National Gallery?  Take a look at this Mannequin Mob…would something similar work in East Lothian?

Guerrilla Gardening@guerillagarden Guerilla Gardening is the act of cultivating a neglected area.  This could include setting up a community garden growing vegetables or planting up a neglected roadside verge with brightly coloured flowers.  A side shoot is Incredible Edibles which includes projects in Dunbar.

HugsFree hugs is a social movement involving individuals who offer hugs to strangers in public places.  You might not be entirely comfortable making physical contact with a stranger, but would this ball pit experiment work here?  

Improv Everywhere@ImprovEvery is a New York City-based prank collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places.  Check ’em out they’re freaking hilarious.

Jokes –  Jokes, pranks, silliness, high jinx and tomfoolery – when good-humoured, and made with the intention to make the ‘victim’ laugh as much as the prankster – can really lift a person’s spirits. Take a look at these daft ‘memorial’ bench plaques.  rogerCuthill Park in Prestonpans played a trick on locals when it announced the installation of a plaque to commemorate ‘physicist’ Avril Fish.  Yes, it was an April Fool’s joke.

KidsFree cakes for kids is a community service to families who find it difficult to provide a birthday cake for their child.

Little Free LibraryLittle Free Libraries build and install Little Free Libraries across the UK with the aim of increasing access to books for children, young people and their families.   Find them on Twitter @LtlFreeLibrary. If you like this idea you will love the Athelstaneford Book Nook.  On a similar vein is Bookcrossing.  the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.  Why not leave a note inside a library book for a stranger to find.

Microfinance@Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Learn more about how it works. Sign up here.

Nice Graffiti – No, we don’t mean illicit artworks in that beautiful French city (if that’s what you want, look here) we mean, uplifting non-destructive, temporary kind using chalk (see here)  or moss (see here)

Moss-Graffiti-–-How-to-Do-It12One Action@takeoneaction is Scotland’s global action cinema project linking audiences, movies, campaigners and communities.  See the change you want to be in the world!

Pay it Forward – if you’re lucky enough to be the recipient of kindness or good fortune, pay it forward.  The vision for Pay it Forward UK is to assist people to have the opportunity to give to others – particularly those less fortunate than themselves.  One good deed might not seem like much, but if everyone did something good for someone else, then the cycle of generosity and kindness can help us to become better people. @PayitForwardDay is on April 28th this year.  East Lothian charity, Walk With Scott Foundation has raised over £215,000 and supported 31 charities over the past 5 years.

QR codes – Environmentalists have used QR codes to great effect to sticker products and give consumers information that companies prefer to keep quiet.  As well as being used by activists, an enterprising person has linked QR codes with kindness and sell kindness ‘tokens’ with a QR code on that ‘tracks’ the journey of the token.

Random Acts of Kindness – – Kindness Day is held on 13th November every year. It is a day to celebrate and promote kindness in all its forms from giving out chocolate at train stations to flash mobs. In February this year, a mystery Samaritan left cash to pay for a parking fine while the car owner was in Edinburgh’s Sick Kids. The recipient was so moved by this act of kindness that has paid the favour forward with a fundraising drive for the hospital.  That’s how kindness works, like a ripple in a pond. Still stuck for ideas? Look here >> https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas

Subtervising & Stickering –   are ‘improving’ certain prominent adverts in their own sassy way.  Although technically illegal, a similar guerrilla stickering campaign on the LondonReduction_of_expanded_play_opportunities Underground has brightened up many a commuter’s morning.  Make Magazine produced a series of stickers which could be stuck on some products in toy stores to highlight how playtime is becoming an endangered activity.

#ThisIsThoughtful@Thtfl is a magazine, studio & creative community on a design-driven mission.  Read about their Penny for your Thoughts project here.  #ThisIsThoughtful is a little experiment…

Walk Raleigh Mount_Urbanism -It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that big cities and towns and unfriendly, uncaring places and wee villages have a wonderful sense of community.  A group of North Carolina residents mounted walkable direction signs around their town. What changes would you make to your town to make East Lothian a wee bit more pleasant for residents and visitors?  Public bike pumps? Vegetable vending machines?  Check out some of the improvements that three designers made in Paris. If you want proof that cities can be caring places, read these examples.  Better still, be the example.

Voice-activated – You know how it is, you have a new label maker, you’re feeling a bit mischievous and next thing you know, there are confused shoppers trying to operate a ‘voice activated’ trolley.  No? Just me then.  Also works well on doors and hand dryers.  Have fun.

Weird and Wonderful – Using materials found in the local environment and some basic artist supplies such as clay and paint, Mark Buckman crafted unique quirky pieces and placed them back on the Littlehampton beach where he had found them for beach visitors to discover.  Perhaps you’ll find something at Dunbar’s Stone Stacking Championships in April 2018….

X – X is for Crossing -Would Remi Gaillard’s famous prank work in East Lothian?  And where should we carry it out?

Yarnbombing and craftivism – Crafty members of @musselburgh2016 decorated the Honest Toun with all sorts of creations to foster interest in the Riding of the Marches – and kept on going.  You can see their  work on Twitter.

Zzzzz – that’s it.

Be kind to everyone you meet, not because of who they are but because of who you are!