Our Outdoors – Your Views Wanted

CHANGES Community Health Project has been contacted by the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy
(SCPHRP) at the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the UK Medical Research Council
(MRC).

They are looking for people to participant in their research project. The project team are passionate about working with the public to improve health and wellbeing.

What is the ‘Our Outdoors’ Project?

‘Our Outdoors’ is a citizen science project which has the long-term aim to understand the impact urban and rural outdoor spaces have on health and wellbeing.  The project will also explore whether
spaces impact people’s health and wellbeing differently and if so, why?

Why is this information being collected and what will it be used for?

People are becoming increasingly aware of the link between the places we live and spend time in and our health. However, it is unclear which spaces positively or negatively affect health and wellbeing and what populations benefit from these spaces and why.  CHANGES want to work with the public to develop a questionnaire and collect data to understand how different outdoor spaces impact on health and wellbeing.

The information that is collected can be used by local community groups, researchers and policymakers to understand the positive and negative effects of local spaces on health and wellbeing. The
information may be used to develop better shared outdoor spaces.

What will the workshop involve?

During the first phase of the project, the project team are looking for people to help develop a questionnaire to collect data on shared outdoor spaces.

The project team are working with CHANGES to run a half day workshop where you will take part in fun and creative small group activities to explore:

  • How outdoor spaces make you feel when you are in them (both positively and negatively).
  • If some elements of a spaces affect you more than others.
  • Whether you are interested in becoming a citizen scientist in this project and what you would need (resources, training, support, incentives) to do so.

The workshop is about hearing your and others’ ideas and experiences. You can participate as little or as much as you would like and the project team will be there to help you with whatever you need.

All participants who take part in the workshop will be given a £15 shopping voucher as a thank you.

Drinks and food will be provided throughout the day and if you bring receipts we can reimburse your travel.

Information Session

If you would like to attend a short information session about this piece of work please come along on
Wednesday 14th February 2018, 4 pm – 4.30 pm
Annexe Lounge, Fisherrow Centre, South Street, Musselburgh, EH21 6AT
Please telephone Heather on 0131 653 1080 or email healthyliving@changeschp.org.uk if you would like to attend.

If you can’t attend the information session but would like to find out about the workshop, please also get in touch.

It’s going to be a braw January!

Happy New Year from Loopy Towers!

We’ve finally packed away the Christmas tree, eaten the last mince pie and already broken a few resolutions.

2017 – the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology – flew by, and seems to have re-generated into the Year of Young People quicker than Peter Capaldi turned into Jodie Whittaker.

On 30th December, 17, 000 torchbearers processed from Edinburgh city centre to Holyrood Park to spell out “#BRAW” herald the forthcoming #YOYP2018

In these still short, dark, dreich days of January, it can be hard to imagine anything being braw but there’s much to look forward to…

Routine

If you don’t like change, you’ll appreciate the return to normal opening hours, TV schedules, refuse collection and regular public transport timetables.

Keep Calm and Coory Doon

The cold weather is an excellent excuse for wearing big jumpers, watching old movies, curling up with a good book and getting snuggly on the sofa.  If you’re looking for that ‘hygge’ feeling beyond your own home, we hear that Zanzibar in North Berwick has very good hot chocolate while the Tyninghame Smithy is the cosiest place in East Lothian and The Bothy at East Saltoun even supplies blankets!

Recycling old Christmas cards

Cards with glitter and/or foil can’t be recycled so why not send the front half of these to Women in Prison, Elmfield House, 5 Stockwell Mews, London SW9 9GX.  Next December, female prisoners will be able to make cards for their children and families.

Sales

The only thing better than bagging a bargain in the January sales is bagging a local bargain so support local independent business such as Secret Boutique (formerly The Merry-Go-Round) in Gullane.

Prefer online shopping? Both Ardmoor country clothing and The Nordic Edit Scandinavian interiors are run by East Lothian based folk.

Dunbar-based cruised holiday business gocruiseandstay.com has a Buy One, Get One Half price deal on cruises booked between now and 5th March.

Unusual visitors

No, we’re not talking about the human variety, frankly, we’ve had enough of them over the festive period.  Keep an eye out for snow buntings and waxwings and follow @birdinglothian for sightings.

The Sky at Night

January’s clear skies are great for stargazing and on the 31st you will be able to see the second full supermoon of the month.

Thank You Cards

Everyone loves receiving ‘real’ mail don’t they? This year, ditch the texts and emails and help bring back the lost art of handwritten thank you notes.  If nothing else, it will be good practice for National Handwriting Day on 23rd January.

Do Good, Give Blood

According to Action For Happiness, our generosity is hard-wired to the reward mechanisms in our brains. When we give our time, energy and kindness to others it not only helps them, it’s also great for our wellbeing too.

They have produced a Happy New Year Calendar of suggested actions to help you be happier yourself – and bring more happiness to others too.

If you are able, why not make one of your actions to donate blood?  SNBTS aims to retain 6 days of stocks at any time in order to meet the requirements of patients in Scotland.  On 3rd January, levels of A- blood type were considerably below that.

During January, you can give blood at donor sessions in Longniddry (11th), Tranent (14th) and Haddington (17th) – see more details here.

#YOYP2018 takeover over of @LothianLoop

We’re looking for young people with an East Lothian connection to take turns tweeting from @lothianloop.

We’re working out the mechanics of this and, like a new Doctor Who, we don’t know what it doing to be like but we’re sure it’ll be braw…

In the meantime, if you wish to register your interest or have any ideas please get in touch.

Vote for the Pans Labyrinth!

The Friends of Cuthill Park are asking people to vote for their project to receive funding from the Aviva Community Fund.  (Voting begins Friday 21st October)

This grant will enable the charity to work with international labyrinth artist Jim Buchanan in holding several events in Cuthill Park to design a labyrinth linked to the salt-panning heritage of Prestonpans, and have it installed at the top of our beautiful, sloping park where it will have breathtaking views over the Firth of Forth and bring the benefit of mindful, peaceful, reflective labyrinth walking to our whole community.


The group will involve the community in workshops to develop a unique design for the Prestonpans labyrinth under the guidance of experienced labyrinth artist Jim Buchanan. This is an exciting and unusual opportunity for the community to be part of the development of something beautiful, enduring and positive, which they can take pride in for years to come. Several temporary labyrinths will be mown into the grass in the park, a final design will be chosen and installed using hard wearing, low maintenance materials.

The labyrinth will address the Area Partnership’s priority to improve wellbeing by providing a permanent space for people to go to experience meditative, peaceful pondering. This reduces a person’s stress levels & helps them to develop resilience.

A permanent labyrinth will also provide a focal point for mindfulness events for the community and the varied groups who come to Cuthill Park, from the local Home Educating families, to the nursery, Afterschool Club, DadsWork, and the local schools.  Many families bring their children to play in the park, and grandparents, parents and children alike can enjoy walking a labyrinth. Likewise there are hundreds of local dog owners who visit the park regularly and who will have the opportunity to include a peaceful, meditative experience in their daily walk.

There is a great deal of community support for this project. The results of our 2014 community consultation, showed that a maze was the most requested item from all the online surveys, while it came second to a trampoline in all the surveys handed out to youth groups and schools. Sheila Laing, head teacher of one of the three local primary schools, wrote the following:

‘As Headteacher of Prestonpans Infant School, I wholeheartedly support the creation of a labyrinth in Cuthill Park, Prestonpans. My pupils have benefited in the past from the visit of a temporary labyrinth. It is a great way to help children to learn mindfulness and the importance of reflection and stillness. We already teach this in school as a means of improving children’s mental health and wellbeing. Having a labyrinth permanently in Cuthill Park will give our children a place they can retreat to ponder, be still and exercise mindfulness throughout their lives. It would promote mental and spiritual wellbeing in Prestonpans for all ages, which is one of the priorities of the Preston/Seton/Gosford Area Partnership.’

The nursery and the AfterSchool club both take care of raised beds in the community garden, and feel the addition of a labyrinth to the park will bring another facet to their experience there. DadsWork (a charity supporting fathers) use the park regularly and will benefit from the labyrinth.

Di Williams MBE, the UK Master Teacher for Labyrinth Facilitator Training, advised on the best location for the labyrinth, expressing delight over the effect the stunning view will have on those walking the labyrinth.

As shown by the many projects we have successfully completed in the park, we are experienced at working in partnership with other organisations and have the necessary experience, enthusiasm and resilience to see this project to completion. We find great fulfilment in providing our community with a rich and diverse range of opportunities and experiences when they visit our much-loved park.

Friends’ Secretary, Carole Sneddon said: Please help us bring peace and balance into the lives of our community members – vote for us so we can provide this healing space for all who need it, as they walk the labyrinth and experience the ‘landscape of their soul.’

Vote here: https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/16-2735

One year of free school meals

Pupils, families and schools continuing to benefit.

Primary schools across Scotland will continue serving up free school meals for all Primary 1-3 pupils in 2016, after a successful first year of implementation.

The Scottish Government is providing an additional £53.9 million to enable local councils to continue to deliver this commitment.

Following its launch by the First Minster in January 2015, the number of pupils registered for a free school meal has more than doubled to over 259,000, which includes an estimated 135,000 pupils in P1-3.

An official survey earlier this year found that approximately 80 per cent of P1-3 pupils took a free meal, potentially saving the families of every eligible child £380 a year.

Visiting Musselburgh Burgh Primary School in East Lothian today, Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, said:

“I am very proud that free school meals are now an established part of the school day for our youngest primary school pupils. School lunches are hugely important in supporting a pupil’s ability to learn.

“In the 12 months since we took this action, there has been a very positive take up across Scotland and we will continue to work with education authorities, schools and teachers to ensure continued promotion of their uptake. In every community across Scotland, schools, families and pupils are reaping the benefits.

“The introduction of free school meals is just one aspect of this Government’s work to tackle the scourge of child poverty in Scotland. Tackling inequalities is at the heart of our Programme for Government and as well as free school meals, we are investing £296 million over three years to protect people from UK Government’s welfare cuts and austerity agenda which are increasing the numbers of children living in poverty.

“Our action is helping to ensure that every child in Scotland gets the best possible start in life.”

John Dickie, Director of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said:

“The introduction of universal free school meals in P1-3 has been a hugely welcome support for hard pressed families across Scotland.

“It has removed any hassle and stigma associated with means-testing children in the early years of primary and led to increased take up of healthy lunches amongst the most disadvantaged pupils, even where they were already entitled to a free meal.

“It has also ensured children in low income working families benefit from a healthy meal during the school day. As well as providing vital immediate relief to family finances, free healthy school lunches will have a long term impact on children’s education and health.”

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, East Lothian Council Education and Children’s Wellbeing spokesperson, said:

“Initially the uptake of free school meals from P1 to P3 was low and we’ve been working closely with the pupils, catering and school staff to promote and increase the uptake.

“The introduction of taster sessions during Health Week and the inclusion of healthy eating linked into the curriculum really helped.

“This fits in very well with the East Lothian Council’s commitment to our Active Schools programme, which encourages pupils to adopt active and healthy lifestyles.”

Suicide Awareness Events in East Lothian

On 10th September, people from around the world will mark World Suicide Prevention Day, an event that promotes suicide awareness and efforts to prevent suicide.

2014_wspd_banner_englishIn 2011, 22 people took their own lives in East Lothian – the highest since 1991. This figure decreased the following year to 18 and fell further last year to 13*.

In East Lothian, a week long series of events is being organised by Christine Chambers, the Choose Life Co-ordinator for the county, in conjunction with CHANGES and Stepping Out.

This includes a daily broadcast on Radio Saltire which Brian Glass, CHANGES Choose Life Training Co-ordinator, explains: “Each day from Monday 8th until Friday 12th September, between 12 and 1pm, there will be input from those who have experienced suicidal thoughts – or a carer or a representative from a supporting organisation – presenting different perspectives on suicide prevention and raising awareness of the resources available throughout East Lothian.

If you can read between the lines, you can save lives. That’s the message that Brian hopes to get across at Thursday’s SafeTALK event at Musselburgh East Community Learning Centre. “We are running a three-hour training course which gives the attendess the skills to recognise when someone may have thoughts of suicide, and to connect that person to someone with suicide intervention skills.” Anyone wishing to book the course should email brian@changeschp.org.uk.

For those bereaved by suicide, there will be a special time for reflection in St Andrew’s Church, in Musselburgh. To find out more, call Christine 01620 820176.

A LONG WAY DOWNThe week culminates with a free screening of Pascal Chaumeil’s black comedy ‘A Long Way Down’ at the Masonic Hall in North Berwick, at 7p.m. on Friday 12th with an optional post-film discussion and drinks. For further information contact Nicky Fox (Stepping Out) Nicky.fox@btinternet.com Phone: 07966 535 514

To learn more about how Scotland aims to reduce suicide, or, if you are worried about yourself or someone else visit chooselife.net

(*figures from http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/theme/vital-events/deaths/suicides/tables-and-chart.html)