Mapping Bishopbriggs

Last week, we spent quite a lot of time in Bishopbriggs – or ‘bishy’ and ‘the briggs’ as many people commented! Over the course of both events, we spoke to approximately 55 people from a wide range of backgrounds.

What was clear from talking to people, is that Bishopbriggs is an asset rich community with a wide range of resources and assets. Lots of people from surrounding communities visit Bishopbriggs to use their community facilities and resources – more so, than other areas we’ve visited to date.

Community Assets

We managed to capture a lot of information from both sessions in Bishopbriggs. Some of the assets that people said were most useful for their well-being included:

  • Hunters Hill village – a little village with a wide variety of shops including an art gallery, pet shop, cafe, and “it’s a really nice community area, whee people can go to meet each other”
  • Fort Theatre – a community theatre company offering creative classes, drama groups, film clubs and charity fundraisers.
  • The view from the canal across to the fields – described as “one of the best views in East Dunbartonshire, really beautiful and tranquil”
  • Bishopbriggs Cycle Co-op – offers cycle lessons, cycle events, cycle maintenance workshops and much more. “they taught my children how to ride without stabilisers”
  • Monteith Park – residents noted that there is a big hill at Monteith Park which is a great play area and “a great sledging hill when it snows!”
  • The Hub at the Evangelical Church – has a wide range of activities from youth groups, toddlers groups and a cafe which is really popular at lunchtime. Described as “a great cafe, with meringues to die for!”
  • Bishopbriggs School of Music – great social events and lessons for children and adults. “There is a fab ceilidh band that runs from the school”
  • Curves gym – friendly gym “as well as access to equipment and classes, they also do a walking group for older ladies.”
  • Bishopbriggs Memorial Hall – one of the few community halls which runs a range of activities from a swimming club to a dog training club. Local residents can also book the hall for parties and functions.
  • Delhi Darbar – a great place to meet and eat which is really relaxing and social. Renowned locally for having great, good quality tasty meals.
  • Transport – Bishopbriggs is one of the few areas visited in the duration of this project that has not highlighted public transport as a significant issue. Many people commented that the train line was one of the best local assets, particularly as many people living in the area commute for work.

Opportunities

There were a number of areas highlighted as potential development areas in Bishopbriggs. Many of these were pointed out at both the workshop and the drop-in session:

  • there are lots of grandparetns in Bishopbriggs that do childcare for their families, there is potential to devleop a group for these people who may not feel as comfortable going to the same groups as younger people
  • there is a lot of congestion in Bishopbriggs. Opening up cycle routes that would connect both sides of Bishopbriggs would be a great opportunity
  • there was a lot of talk about the new hypermarket which is proposed for the community. It would be fair to say that discussions around this provoked mixed feelings in residents – many people highlighting that there should be space planned within the development for community activities.
  • some residents highlighted that it would be great if some of the green space could be opened up to create a community garden/ allotment.

We were also lucky to have Catherine Exposito along for these workshops. Catherine is working to understand local resources and groups that might be useful for people with long-term conditions. We are keen that the data we collate can be used as far and as wide as possible, so it was fab to have Catherine along to share her experience and to involve her in the work that we are doing. More to come about Catherine’s project soon.

Thanks again to Bishopbriggs Community Church for their hospitality – including encouraging people to come along to the session. We had a lovely morning and hope to be back again soon.

Personal asset mapping – feedback session 3

On 6th September, practitioners got the opportunity to view the early prototype of an electronic version of a personal asset map programme. There was much interest with many questions asked and also useful feedback and ideas on how it can be improved (the prototype is available on an earlier blog post). Those who are interested have the opportunity to give more feedback on the later stages of development of this tool alongside any people who use services who also wish to be involved.

The next session allowed practitioners time to discuss and reflect in small groups their experience of introducing personal asset mapping to people using mental health services. From this discussion it was apparent that a variety of approaches have been used to introduce and revisit a personal asset map, that some barriers have occurred and that there have been a wide range of experiences for both practitioners and people using support. Practitioners found it useful to share experiences and to talk through the different issues that they have been facing.
Time was then spent reviewing the use of the reflective diaries. There was some discussion on the WEMWEB tool and how it fits into the overall evaluation process. As we might have anticipated, the group seemed pleased that the project deadline has been extended to the 9th October to afford the practitioners more time for these tasks to be completed!
Sessions facilitated by Paul Hart, Jenni Inglis, Gayle Rice and Fran McBride

Mapping Torrance

Our world tour of East Dunbartonshire continues on schedule with a visit to the Torrance Caldwell Halls where we were assisted and supported by the Caldwell Hall Champions Cathy and Rona.  The Caldwell halls are a charitable organisation run by the local community that aims to promote a sense of community connectedness.

However, despite torrential rain, 5 people attended and helped us create an asset map of the Torrance area. Although the event had relatively low numbers it provided an opportunity for participants to learn what assets they have at their disposal and how they feel about their local community.

One of the key features described by local people (similar to Twechar) was their access to green and open space – particularly the River Kelvin and the Forth and Clyde canal walkways “this has enabled a lot of community groups to become established such as the Ramblers association, fishing and cycle clubs which all enjoy the natural assets available”.

Many people recounted stories of how they used to play with their friends beside the disused Tower Bridge “it was the best swing ever!” indicating how much these elements of the local landscape means to people, but also highlighting features of the landscape that have the potential to be developed and used differently.

We heard how a lot of new “assets” have recently been developed to improve the local area including:

  • Book exchange (“increase local knowledge and history”)
  • Bardowie Loch (“lots of chances to get wet!”)
  • Greenspace group (“Improving the environment for the kids to use to get them out and about”)
  • Local Historian (“it encourages an interest in local history and a sense of achievement of the past”)
  • Balmore Church (“good church support”)
  • Torrance Community Centre (“keeps up the community spirit”)
  • Local pubs (“people come to talk about different things and just get together”)

We had a great opportunity to talk at great depth with Cathie and Rona who know the area like the back of their hands! We were able to hear about what Torrance is like now, but more importantly, we were also able to hear about their future vision of how Torrance could be, and how it its currently a great asset to those who live there.

Some quotes from the day:
“Great place but could be better if we had improved transport”
”lots of walks and open spaces”
“The local pub grub is great”

It was really interesting to hear how people began to think a little bit differently about the different assets that were described. For example, many people hadn’t originally seen some of the local businesses as an asset, but were then able to consider the different contributions that each of them made to the feel of the area. Most importantly, people began to think of Torrence itself as an asset – which was lovely to hear!

Map of Kirkintilloch

Interactive assets map

The project created an online visualised interactive map which details the assets of the community through the eyes of the people who have experience of, and who live within, the community.

www.iriss.org.uk/kirkintilloch

The people involved in the project categorised assets using their own language. The following categories were identified:

  • Food
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Organisation
  • Outdoor space
  • Physical exercise
  • Religion/spiritual
  • Shopping
  • Social Space
  • Volunteering

Rather than being static moments in time it is important that the map changes to reflect the group of people who are using it. This map can be explored, added to and rearranged by people in the community. In addition, the assets defined by the people involved in the project have been tagged according to categories that they came up with and are therefore more meaningful to them.

The interface allows individuals to add assets as they go, comment on other assets (through a moderator) and also upload pictures (especially useful when people are new to an area). We have also linked the map so that there is a mobile application, which is freely downloadable to all smart phones. This means that people can view and add to the map when they are out and about in the community.

The map itself will continue to be a work in progress, with more and more people adding to it and changing the shape of what it looks like.  By doing this, we can gather insights into how things are changing over time and hopefully keep the energy and enthusiasm of the project alive.

Beyond developing a map, the process was designed to promote connections or relationships between individuals, between individuals and organisations and between organisations. Commonly people (practitioners and people who use services) talked about being inspired to try out new things and of being inspired by listening and working together with others.

Making a community map

So, we’ve been a bit quiet on here over the past few weeks, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve not been busy.

We’ve been working on mapping out all of the different assets identified in the workshops and collating them together in one place.

We’re using the data collected to turn this:

into this

Not only that, we are thinking about how these different assets should be grouped together so that they are easier for people to find, as well as considering different ways that we might want to present them.

More examples to come soon.

We’ve been really lucky in that Peter from ALISS has been present at all of the workshops. He’s working on a different project that helps people access local information about self management. He is doing this by creating an ‘engine’ which helpfully gathers and organizes information in a coherent way and then points people back to the original source of information. This usefully reduces the amount of time and energy that we need to use to populate maps like these. Have a look at their blog post about putting kirkintilloch on the map for more information.

Workshop 2: 25th July

Our second workshop took place on the 25th July –  a bright and sunny Monday – in Kirkintilloch Health and Care Centre.

It was great to see so many people at the workshop – some familiar faces, and lots of new ones too. In the end, we had 22 people coming along to share their experiences and ideas (this was a split of 13 people who use services and 10 people who support those who use services) which was a fabulous turnout – even if it was a bit of a tight squeeze!

What we did

This week, we worked on tasks that encouraged people to share their experiences and that enabled us to gather ideas about how people could be better supported to use community supports and assets.

We started by getting to know each other. There were lots of new faces in the group and it was good to find out a bit about where everyone was from and what their interests were.

We then split into two groups and worked on answering the question: ‘if someone new to the area was to ask you advice for keeping well, what 5 things would you tell them?’

One group looked at this in quite a general way and were able to give lots of practical advice that included:

  • taking things a step at a time. the group agreed that it can be sometimes difficult to think about doing simple things, like taking a shower. The advice was to take it step by step and think about smaller aspects of the activity – like taking the first step out of bed, opening the door etc.
  • trying to keep active – going for walks and knowing good places to get out and about can be really helpful
  • knowing that you’re ‘not the only one’ can help, and knowing that everyone needs support sometimes
  • keeping focused on one task or goal for each day – and getting it done – can feel like a great achievement
  • reminding yourself of all of the things that you’ve achieved that day and focusing on those things rather than what you haven’t achieved can boost feeling well
The other group came up with suggestions like:
  • knowing where to start – having someone or something to point you in the (next) best direction on your journey is very beneficial (signposts to what is available)
  • having someone to talk to – ‘i use them as a sounding board, a mirror. I like to have the same people to contact to go back to time and again’ (people you can rely on)
  • find a place to go and chill out – where you can get peace and quiet (this group were able to identify lots of places on the map that would be useful for this)
  • do the little things that matter e.g. one person was very keen to keep their house tidy and as long as that was done she felt a sense of achievement. Find out what your ‘thing’ is.
  • having chance meetings – you might think that you want to be alone, but you might actually enjoy bumping into people. There are lots of cafes in Kirkintilloch that make wee 5 min chats with people easy – you can just pass pleasantries and you don’t have to plan the meeting (so you don’t need to cancel if you’re having a bad day).
We talked about how we could share this information with people and how we could make something physical that would convey some of these ideas. The groups came up with a few ideas that people seemed really keen on:
  • prompt cards: small cards (that you can keep in your wallet) with words and phrases by people with lived experience of mental ill health for those currently experiencing it
  • paper maps of the area that identify key services

We then went on to build on top of the maps that we’d produced in the first workshop.

The groups were keen to add additional services outside of Kirkintilloch – stretching out to Bishopbriggs, Milngavie, and Bearsden. Many people highlighted the poor transport links between these different towns and how this can make access to services incredibly difficult.

Other assets that had not been previously identified included:

  • public partnership forum – have your voice heard
  • local carers centres
  • aromatherapy (through EDAMH) – helps relaxation
  • contact point – at the park centre, useful resource
  • different walking routes
  • the Kirkintilloch players (theatre company)
  • community addictions team
  • EDICT – painting is  brilliant!
  • Carer’s Link – a rich source of support
  • Denise’s cafe – friendly staff and good for bumping into people
  • Kirkintilloch Herald
  • The badminton group
(we’ll have a few examples of maps available in a future post – very soon)

The groups also highlighted areas for improvement, including things that were missing within the community.

One of the groups talked in depth about assessment of need and the type and amount of information that is held about people using mental health services. Many people were aware of WRAP (Wellness and Recovery Action Planning) but not many had completed one. The group were quite clear that making a plan, and being assessed should not be a tick-box exercise and that it should be based on the individual and should be made to suit individual needs. The group also talked about how making advance statements was a useful thing to do, but not many had completed these either.

Many people highlighted the lack of social day activities within the area. People referred to the old Clubhouse and were clear that some of the functions that it had provided were really useful (see previous post). A few people talked about how there were many open spaces available and that an affordable cinema could be a good place to go and meet people, and that they could be used for big events like ‘ mental health awareness week’ or ‘gala day’ etc.

Community assets: think of a heavenly experience…

We asked the groups to work on creating a storyboard of the different areas that could improve and how the experience could be better – we did this from two different perspectives

  • Heaven: no barriers or hurdles/success and
  • Hell: barriers, hurdles and complications

People tended to draw on their own experiences of services or to focus on the different types of social activities that they perceived are missing within the community. The ideas focused on:

  • Being listened to more: people being allowed more time to talk and explain themselves, and to be seen as an individual.
  • Communication between the supporting services (health and community care professionals) and carers
  • Having a place to go where people understand you – where you can choose to talk about issues, or not – depending on how you are feeling
  • A drop in centre that is inclusive, allowing people access to a range of different services – like a hub

What should we do with all this information?

A key aspect of the project is to ensure that what we are learning is shared with others and is used to help improve existing service delivery. In addition, we want to ensure that the learning is used by people who use services – so that they can better see what is available and better direct their own support.

We were keen to ask the groups their views on how the outputs of the project should be shared.

Almost all of the participants thought that it would be crucial to share the project findings amongst the mental health service providers in the area. This was part of a broader discussion that highlighted that more could be done to ensure these agencies communicate better with one another – especially linking health, social work and voluntary agencies together.

Key, was also ensuring that the information was easy to access and always kept up to date – there has been some trouble with this in the past.  In addition, people were keen that as well as online based information, that there be a physical counterpart that people can keep with them to refer to.

Reflections…

We learned a lot from the last workshop and made sure that there were plenty of breaks – to keep ourselves refreshed and alert, as well as making sure there were lots of different ways for people to have their say. Ways to provide feedback ranged from speaking out into the group, posting thoughts and comments in the post box anonymously, as well as being provided with email, phone and contact information for people who prefer to reflect on their experience and to share afterwards.

The evaluation sheets were overwhelmingly positive from the day. Everyone who provided a completed sheet mentioned how much they had enjoyed the session with the following comments being made:

‘very interesting and thought provoking look at services and what helps people stay well’

‘the ‘holistic approach’ to what you were doing was really good – not just focused on services, but taking the whole aspect of folks lives into account’

‘enjoyed the contact with people with similar lived life experiences’

‘enjoyed the information sharing and mapping all the positives in the east dun area’

‘I’ve left feeling like I could do some research into what’s available and what would benefit my situation’

 ‘I felt really good getting feedback from the group and meeting other service users’

The next session will focus on different ways to share and portray the information that has been accumulated over the past few sessions. We expect to gather insights into the sorts of things that people think should be mapped for our online visualisation. In addition, we’ll be helping individuals to think about how they could use assets outlined in the community map to help promote their personal well-being.

I’m also learning lots about how the asset mapping process can be a useful tool for engagement with people – particularly how it can provide an opportunity for people to take a step back, think about what works well and why (and what does not) and consider how we can work with each other differently to change for the better.

This seems to be one of the things that people seem to be valuing most about being involved in the project. It seems to be getting more and more difficult for people to take the space and time to listen to one another and really hear what is being said – both practitioners and people who use services have commented on the value of hearing peoples stories and coming together to think about how things might change.

And there is more to come!

As always, any comments are very welcome.